What is Service Recovery in Healthcare?
January 11, 2016
This blog post continues our series of patient experience best practices. Every week we will share information that demonstrates our expansive understanding of the challenges faced by healthcare organizations and the solutions we have identified for improving the patient experience and patient and business outcomes.
Service recovery is the process of making things right after something has gone wrong with the healthcare experience. It’s doing all that we can—in a sincere way that satisfies the customer—when service has failed. Why do it? We practice service recovery because it is a good, fundamental business practice that can turn a negative situation into a positive statement about our organization. In addition, it helps curb bad public relations, as dissatisfied customers have a tendency to tell others about their negative experience.
Did you know that service recovery, when done right, is also a loyalty creator? When our customers’ concerns or complaints are handled quickly and to the customer’s satisfaction, they are more likely to recommend our organization to a friend. This recommendation is an indicator of their loyalty to us. Research shows that a “recovered” customer is actually more satisfied than one who did not experience any problems at all.
In the service industry, occasional mistakes are inevitable. Even the perception of a mistake is enough to cause customer dissatisfaction. If a patient believes that an employee’s actions have created a negative situation—whether the employee is truly at fault or not—then that staff person needs to do service recovery. If your organization wants to turn potentially negative word-of-mouth advertising into glowing praise, it needs a working service recovery plan with which every employee in the organization is familiar.
What is the Value of Service Recovery?
- It empowers employees to take quick and decisive action when something has gone wrong.
- It turns potentially disastrous Moments that Matter (any instance when a customer comes into contact with the organization and an impression is formed) into positive experiences.
- It creates a learning culture, wherein identifying/resolving complaints is a positive strategy and a springboard for performance improvement.
- It can be used to identify and correct problems before a customer encounters them and to upgrade service before a patient is discharged.
- It is a vital communication tool for listening and learning, then changing course.
- It curbs bad public relations: dissatisfied customers/patients have a tendency to tell others about their bad experience.
- Response to concern/complaints is highly correlated to a customer’s likelihood of recommending the hospital to a friend; a customer’s recommendation is the most important indicator of loyalty to the organization.
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