Every patient encounter with healthcare organizations is filled with moments of truth. Those moments when he or she is deciding if you are what you say you are. And each of those moments presents an opportunity to build patient trust.
As we compile our mystery shopping reports for clients, it is fascinating to observe and describe just how these trust experiences unfold. I could write volumes on the subject. For the sake of efficiency, I’ll condense a few observations down to this: every moment of truth is an opportunity to create a moment of trust. Those moments of trust will happen when everything about that touch point says, “We’ve got this.” In other words, you’ve got to exude confidence that everything is under control and operating smoothly, calmly, and efficiently.
I’ve had so many experiences by phone and in person where I’ve lost trust. One of the most memorable experiences was when I was scheduled for surgery. No one called to tell me the time of the surgery. The night before I was to be admitted, it took me seven calls, including cold transfers and dropped calls, before I was told to arrive at 5:45 AM. Everything about that experience eroded my trust and angered me. It alarmed me, both as a patient and as a professional committed to improving the patient experience.
It was 9 PM before I had the information I needed. I lost confidence in the team. I had to chase down the information that should have been presented to me. If they couldn’t handle this essential communication with me, could I trust them to cut me open? I was honestly ready to cancel my surgery.
If I could rewind the experience and place it in the hands of caring, conscientious individuals with bulletproof processes, I would have gotten a call the day before the surgery as promised in my pre op packet. A friendly, confident individual would make the call. The caller would let me know they are prepared and ready to take good care of me.
Every Little Moment
Everything about the patient experience must help build patient trust. Every person with patient contact must understand how to represent the organization in a positive light. This includes when they don’t have all the answers. My whole impression would be different if the first person I contacted by phone would have said, “Let me call you right back with that information.” Then if they own the situation until an answer is found and given to me.
Help every person on your team to understand how every action and every word is an opportunity to build trust. If they’re not building trust, they may be eroding it.