During the pandemic, many health services had to be moved online due to the risk of spreading the virus. Telemedicine has provided a way to protect vulnerable patients from Covid while still offering high-quality medical consultations, but this method has faced some criticism.
For example, some patients find it harder to connect with healthcare professionals and build a sense of trust through a screen, and others find it difficult to navigate telemedicine websites and apps. There’s also the issue of making sure that patients have access to high-quality information and resources through their telemedicine services.
This is why customer service is incredibly important for any telemedicine provider. Because you won’t get to meet patients in person, you really need to make an extra effort to make the whole process easier for them. Luckily, being separated by a screen doesn’t have to mean a difficult relationship.
These tips can help your customers to feel comfortable and at ease the next time they need your services, so take a look and think about whether there are things you could do to improve your current practices.
Payment processing for telemedicine provided by NorthAmericanBancard is widely available and makes it easy for customers to get the care they need. Key features you need to look for include: security, speed, and flexibility. Everyone deserves to have their data protected and to be able to pay with a method that suits them the most.
You could even go one step further and offer payment plans for patients that require long-term treatments. Some practices offer interest-free payment plans, while others charge a small fee or percentage. It’s up to you to decide what works best for your business model.
Offer out of hours support
Not everyone can get in touch during working hours with their questions, so it’s a good idea to be flexible with your customer service hours. This doesn’t mean offering care 24/7, but extending your phone lines to six or seven in the evening can be a huge help. Alternatively, you could have an online chat service to make it even easier for customers who don’t like talking on the phone to get their questions answered.
Have lots of resources
One of the perks of being an online healthcare provider is how easy it is to hand out resources with just a single click. Try to make sure your website has lots of informative blogs and that you have pdfs about different treatments ready to e-mail to customers. A wealth of information can help patients to feel at ease, especially as they don’t have a real person right in front of them to bring a sense of comfort.
Some of your customers may be feeling anxious or have money troubles, so it’s important to always do your best to be accommodating where you can. It can be tempting to get frustrated with customers who are going around in circles, but healthcare requires more compassion than other industries. Make sure all your customer service representatives are well-trained and understand how to handle situations correctly.
Not all of your customers are going to have the same abilities to use your website. Try to think about the visually impaired when choosing fonts and don’t forget to include subtitles on any videos for those who can’t hear very well.
It’s a good idea to offer users the power to customize font sizes and colors as well, particularly when there are long paragraphs of text. Some websites even have a text-to-speech function that will read out whole articles to help users understand them.
Provide an easy-to-use app
A great way to make telemedicine even more accessible is to provide an app for patients to download. On this app, patients could easily request appointments and ask quick questions about minor issues.
This may be an easier way to interact with telemedicine for patients who aren’t as tech-savvy, but if they still have issues with navigating the app, you could include in-app tutorials or spend some time explaining this technology during a video session.
Allow patients to access their health records
By allowing patients to access their records via their telemedicine app, you’ll help them to understand their health more deeply and empower them to make important decisions about their lifestyles and healthcare options going forward.
It’s also much easier for doctors to discuss health with someone who is fully aware of their current conditions. By enabling your patients to access their health records on their telemedicine app, you can be sure that they understand their limitations and risks and will therefore be more likely to avoid harmful behavior in the future.
Offer your undivided attention
For some patients, and especially older people, interacting with a health professional online rather than in person can feel a bit cold and unnatural. This can make it harder for them to open up and speak freely about their issues. Additionally, the sense of disconnection caused by facing a screen means that it may be harder to maintain focus.
However, if you want to foster good relationships with your customers, your staff should always be fully engaged in conversations and show a helpful and encouraging attitude. This will put patients at ease and help them to access the services and treatments they need.
Ultimately, customer service can be much more difficult when you can’t interact in person, but there are many ways to reduce this issue and make patients feel comfortable and looked after. By offering easier payments, out of hours support, useful resources, and accessible apps and web pages, you can better support your customers and give them the help they need. This will boost your reputation as a high-quality and caring telemedicine provider.
After the pandemic, it looks like telemedicine will continue to be very popular for treating non-urgent medical concerns. Thanks to the ease of sharing important documents and asking quick questions online, telemedicine can offer a much-needed service to many customers.