Elizabeth Ziemba, President of Medical Tourism Training, Inc
looks at the role of the mystery shopper in medical tourism, and how a Customer
Service Audit can show you what you’re doing right….and what you’re doing
Customer service is an integral part of
delivering high quality, professional services.
Do you know what your current and prospective clients think of your medical
tourism business – your services, prices, and employees?
Secret shopping, mystery shopping or, more
accurately, a Customer Service Audit, is an effective tool to assess and
improve the customer service experience in medical tourism. By seeing and
experiencing your business through the eyes of your clients, Customer Service
Audits are highly effective ways to impact the bottom line. The results of a Customer Service Audit can
be used to improve the performance of weak employees, reward the outstanding
work of others, and point out gaps in business systems that need to be repaired,
all to increase revenue.
Why a medical tourism business should engage in a Customer
Medical tourism businesses make substantial
investments to attract clients including web sites, brochures, conferences,
advertising, direct marketing, and more.
With all that money spent to attract customers, you need to know answers
to many questions such as, “Are we offering the services that our patients
want?” “Are we easy to do business
with?” Equally important is, “Are customers being treated well so that they
will buy our services, come back again, and refer other people?” If the answer to these questions is “yes”,
then you have valuable information that can be used as a benchmark for future
performance. If the answer is “no”, then
you can identify and correct problems before negative patient experiences do
serious harm to your business.
An American Express Global Business
Customer Service Survey found that” 78% of customers have opted to cancel a
transaction or did not complete and intended purchase because of a poor
customer service experience.” (Source) Poor customer service carries a large price
tag for companies of every size.
What is the cost to your international
patient business of even one lost client?
For a dentist or clinic, it may be a few hundred to several thousand
dollars. For a hospital, the average amount spent by an
international patient may be thousands or even tens of thousands of
dollars. In this competitive
environment, your business needs every advantage to succeed. You have invested a substantial amount to bring
clients to your organization, now invest a little more to make sure you are
converting leads into clients. The
relatively modest amount invested in a Customer Service Audit pays for itself
simply by saving one client.
Trained auditors investigate and evaluate according to
client’s specific needs
A Customer Service Audit - or Mystery
Shopping as it is more commonly known - is a research tool where a marketing consultant
is retained to evaluate one or more aspects of a company’s services. In the medical tourism sector, the scope of
the audit might include the telephone switchboard, reception area and
international patient department all the way through to the delivery of
services. It may also include marketing
materials and the web site. Here is how
the secret shopping experience typically works.
The decision to conduct a Customer Service
Audit is made by a member of senior management and the parameters of the
service are set in consultation with the independent consultant hired to
provide the audit. The specific needs of
the client are identified, a program is customized, and a price quote agreed
upon. While employees are told that an
audit will be conducted at some point in time, the specific dates and time are
kept confidential to ensure that the test of the system is not influenced by
employees “being on their best behavior”.
Trained auditors acting as interested prospects
are given instructions and procedures to follow to obtain the necessary
information. The auditors keep detailed
information about all aspects of their interactions with the business being evaluated. The results of the audit are submitted to the
market research company to review and analyze the information. The information is then shared with the
client along with actionable feedback and recommendations to improve the
The results of the audit are also shared
with the employees, preferably in a team meeting, and presented in a positive
light. The recommendations are designed
to improve services as well as job satisfaction. Avoiding a “Got You!” approach is essential
so that employees do not feel like they were being spied on.
Modifications to the system are
implemented, training is conducted to improve skills, and another evaluation is
done after a reasonable period of time to ensure that the service has
improved. If so, then periodic
evaluations can be conducted to be certain that the high quality of service has
not deteriorated or new problems arisen.
If customer service has not improved, another intervention may be
required. And remember to reward your
top employees to keep them happy and motivated.
Employees are expected to perform their job
duties including customer service functions at a certain level. Given the opportunity and training, many
employees will raise the level of their performance. Some may not.
Just remember that employees who are performing below par have an impact
on the bottom line – your business is paying someone who is not getting the job
done for your organization and may be costing you customers. A Customer Service Audit can help identify
the weakest links and strongest performers.
Improve customer service, increase revenues
A thoughtfully constructed Customer Service
Audit conducted by a professional, experienced independent consultant can help
you grow your medical tourism business. Poor
customer service and gaps in the service delivery system push away the clients
you are working hard to attract. Whether
your business is a JCI accredited hospital, dental or medical office,
facilitator or other service-related business, you cannot afford to be ignorant
of the experiences of prospective clients.
Secret shopping can be an effective tool to drive revenue in the right
Elizabeth Ziemba is President of Medical Tourism Training, Inc.,
an independent company offering online, web-hosted, and onsite training to
deliver the knowledge and business skills medical tourism professionals need to
succeed. Medical Tourism Training, Inc.
is partnering with Stackpole & Associates, a market research and marketing
company, to offer a full array of secret shopping services. Since 1991, Stackpole & Associates has
provided secret shopping services to a wide array of health care and senior
living services in the US and internationally, helping clients to improve the
delivery of services to increase revenues.
Together, we make an excellent team to meet the needs of your
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