8 Tips for Effective Customer Service Training in Healthcare
Imagine walking into a health care clinic thinking you will be conducting your training in a conference room, only to discover the area designated for the training is the OR waiting room – complete with hospital beds. As a customer service training consultant, you’re undoubtedly aware of the unique difficulties that come with training in healthcare. Most offices are understaffed and overworked. Many clinics don’t have a dedicated space conducive to holding a training workshop. Participants go in and out of the training because they are constantly being called out by a coworker to deal with a patient issue. Training in healthcare is not for the faint of heart.
TIP 1: Check out the training area ahead of time
While the hospital staff may think there’s no problem conducting training with a quarter of the participants reclining on a hospital bed, any professional trainer can give you 20 reasons why this is a nightmare scenario. Have a frank conversation with your client well ahead of the planned training about the need to have a professional setting for the training.
TIP 2: Offer multiple sessions
Conduct the training in various sessions. Invariably, a clinic wants everyone to attend the training workshop at the same time. While there are many benefits to group training in healthcare, the disadvantages often outweigh the benefits. For example, in the training conducted in the pre-op surgery area, the people responsible for answering the phones were also in the room for the entire workshop. So the trainer had to contend and compete with the front desk answering phones while they were trying to engage their participants. With multiple sessions, it would be possible to conduct the training in a smaller area – away from phones and beds.
TIP 3: Focus On The Importance of Empathy
While many people think of empathy as an inherent trait, recent research indicates that people can definitely learn empathy. One of the key components is the ability to listen. Not just what the patient is saying but what they aren’t saying. Active listening is a critical skill in any customer service role, but it’s vital in healthcare. Patients often have complex medical histories, and your trainees must be able to listen carefully and ask the right questions to get a complete picture of their needs. Encourage your trainees to practice active listening skills, such as paraphrasing, summarizing, and asking open-ended questions.
TIP 4: Use real-life scenarios
In healthcare, there are plenty of real-life scenarios to draw from. Use examples from your trainees’ own experiences to help them understand how to apply customer service skills in a healthcare setting. For example, have them role-play a situation where a patient is upset about a long wait time, or a family member is worried about a loved one’s condition.
TIP 5: Teach problem-solving skills
Whether it’s a hospital, a clinic, or a long-term care facility, unexpected problems can arise at any moment. That’s why your trainees must know how to think on their feet and develop creative solutions to complex problems. Please encourage them to brainstorm solutions and to be willing to go above and beyond to ensure a positive outcome for the patient.
TIP 6: Emphasize the importance of confidentiality
It goes without saying that confidentiality is paramount. Patients trust healthcare providers with their most personal and private information, and it’s crucial that your trainees understand the gravity of this responsibility. Make sure they understand HIPAA regulations and the consequences of breaching patient confidentiality.
TIP 7: Provide ongoing training and support
Customer service training shouldn’t be a one-time event. To ensure that your trainees continue to excel in their roles, provide ongoing training and support. Offer regular check-ins, refresher courses, and opportunities for feedback and coaching.
TIP 8: Lead By Example
And last but not least, the most important tip for effective customer service training in healthcare – lead by example. As the training consultant, it’s up to you to model the behavior and attitudes you want your trainees to adopt. So be sure to demonstrate empathy, active listening, and problem-solving skills in your interactions with trainees.
In conclusion, delivering effective customer service training in healthcare environments presents its unique set of challenges. However, by being proactive, adaptable, and empathetic, you can successfully navigate these obstacles and provide valuable skills to healthcare professionals. By checking out the training area beforehand, offering multiple sessions, focusing on empathy, using real-life scenarios, teaching problem-solving skills, emphasizing confidentiality, providing ongoing support, and leading by example, you can create a meaningful and impactful training experience. Ultimately, this will empower healthcare workers to provide exceptional customer service, leading to improved patient satisfaction and a stronger, more compassionate healthcare system.