Transparency is an often-used term by business executives, sometimes noting it as one of the organization’s values – being open with information within the business. But when transparency means having your performance publicized for all the world to see, it can drive a wide range of emotions.
Hospitals are dealing with this new level of transparency, according to Janette Jones of The Jackson Group – a healthcare research provider and consultancy. The Federal Government’s mandated performance measurement process called HCAHPS not only has led hospitals to survey patients with specific/consistent questions about their experience, but it has also touched on two key components of a business, its customer’s opinion and the impact of those opinions on its financial success.
According to Ms. Jones, the customer satisfaction ratings (along with multiple quality indicators) are currently being posted online for consumers to see. These patients and family members will increasingly “Look at the overall ratings and the nursing/doctor information. They’ll see how hospitals have scored, and do a comparison – ‘What is this hospital’s overall rating v. that hospital’s rating?’, and for the informed consumer, all those domains will be important if they have a choice – particularly if they are going to have surgery,” said Ms. Jones.
So when these hospitals think about how their performance – as perceived by the customer – is being measured and posted for all to see, it can create anxiety and fear – but also opportunity.
Imagine that you outperform your competitors. Having those customer satisfaction metrics posted online is free marketing. It’s an objective, customer-based opportunity for you to differentiate yourself from competitors.
Whether you’re a hospital or not, you can learn from the HCAHPS measurement and reporting process. Remember, this is essentially word-of-mouth on a government website.
So think about your current experience through the customer’s eyes. Think about who you hire and how you train them to make the impression on the customers who are evaluating you and sharing their feelings with friends. Think about what drives their satisfaction and loyalty and what you need to do to capitalize on it. And think about your competitors – find out where are they better and worse so you can improve and differentiate.
Use this HCAHPS example as a challenge that spurs your organization to become better than you are today.
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