In previous blogs, we’ve discussed the importance of customer service in the home health industry. While we acknowledge that customer service is important for any business, the field of home health is a particularly personal one where customer service plays an even greater “make or break” role. As such, we’d like to share some tips with employers on how to effectively spot-check the customer service your staff is providing in a home health/house call setting.
Stage a call. Whether you rope in a friend or have a manager who’s a great actor, place a call to your office from a blocked number and play pretend! Maybe the caller is a new patient who’s hard of hearing, an aggressive patient demanding a prescription for pain medication, or an impatient nurse who wants to speak directly to a physician NOW. Whatever the scenario you choose, make sure it’s one of those “tough calls” that make it hard to keep composure. We all know our staff encounter them from time to time and it’s good to see how they react under pressure.
Stage another call. You want to make sure your staff are polite and efficient in general. Make a call to ensure they’re answering the phone as directed, they know how to route calls to the right party, they handle sales reps appropriately, etc. You don’t always need your QA calls to be stressful - it’s important to provide great service in any situation!
Give a pop quiz. A less “big brother-ish” way to test your staff is through random pop quizzes. When there’s a lull in the phones or you run into someone by the water cooler, ask them to recite the script they use when answering the phones or who they’d forward the call to if a potential provider looking for a job was on the line.
Make a round of outbound survey calls. Since you know your patients aren’t likely to take the time to call you with their feedback, go ahead and call them! Some won’t participate, but many will be happy to give you a minute or two to answer a few basic questions. Either target a specific patient group (maybe you’ve just had a building leave your services and you want to know why) or simply pick a random sampling of 25 patients, prepare the 3-5 questions that are most important to you, and dial away.
Above all else, we stress the importance of being proactive. Just because you aren’t receiving complaints from your patients or referral sources doesn’t mean your customer service isn’t lacking. In this case, no news isn’t necessarily good news!
If you do decide to periodically make staged calls to your office, there are pros and cons when it comes to alerting your staff to this activity. On one hand, the knowledge they are being secretly spot-checked may keep them on their customer service toes around the clock. On the other hand, they may be able to figure out which calls are staged and simply up their game at that time. It all comes down to your comfort level and your relationship with your staff.
It might seem a little like spying, and your staff will be less than thrilled when/if they find out, but it’s a great way to protect your business and to give your employees the motivation they need on the days they’re feeling less than “on”.
Thanks for reading,