Set your criteria for customer service
Have patient access employees sign agreement
All patient access employees in Mercy Hospital Springfield (MO)’s main admitting area are required to sign a Customer Service Interaction Plan. [The plan used by the department is incliuded with the online issue. For assistance, contact customer service at email@example.com or (800) 688-2421.]
"This document becomes a part of their file," says patient access manager Rebecca Holman, CHAM. "It states that they will provide the best customer service that they can."
The agreement states that the employee will meet and/or exceed the expectations of the patient or their family; immediately acknowledge the patient by smiling and using the AIDET model (Acknowledge, Introduce, Duration, Explain, Thank); give the patient their full attention; and ask how they can better serve them.
"We keep this in this in the forefront," says Holman. "If a coworker seems to be lacking, we do a coaching session and have them sign a new agreement, reaffirming their commitment."
Patient access leaders at Lexington, KY-based UK Healthcare set clear expectations to let employees know what level of customer service is expected. These four criteria are used:
• Greeting and identification.
"We want to ensure the patient access staff properly identify themselves and the appropriate clinic of which they are scheduling," says patient access manager Jennifer D. Martin.
Patient access staff are expected to speak at an appropriate tempo and volume, use clear and articulate speech, and sound attentive, confident, and knowledgeable. "Lastly, we want to see if the agent gave any unsolicited advice or information," she says.
Patient access works closely with the clinical management teams to ensure both areas are following the scheduling protocols. "Thus, we would not want to schedule or provide advice outside of these scheduling guidelines," Martin explains. "Further, we do not provide medical advice or treatment recommendations."
• Customer service and wrap-up.
Managers want to see that patient access staff listened to caller’s needs without interrupting, conveyed information clearly, confirmed the patient’s needs, and ended the call by saying, "Thank you" or "You’re welcome."
"We want to ensure that during the call interaction, the patient access staff allows the customer to set the pace of the call," says Martin.