In business, time is definitely money. And, the health and wellness industry is no exception. How you handle customer calls and the timely manner in which you respond to new inquiries could mean the difference between growing your client list or struggling to keep it from shrinking. With technology revolutionizing the customer experience, even when choosing a healthcare provider, customers have grown to expect real-time and immediate assistance. According to a Google Insight study, 61% of customers call a business when they’re ready to make a purchase. The Harvard Business Review also found that 59% of customers prefer to call a business, rather than send an email or submit an online request when they need a quick answer to a question and 57% of all customers still prefer to talk to a real person.

Man talking to business on a phone about a product he's looking at on his laptop

Despite customers’ preferences to interact with a live person before making health and wellness decisions, many hospitals and healthcare providers struggle to meet this growing demand. When surveyed, 75% of customers believe it takes too long to reach a live customer service representative, forcing them to hang up, without receiving the help they need.

Adding dedicated call staff can be costly, especially for small wellness firms. However, the time and financial investment are much needed to ensure a consistent level of customer support. How your customers are treated during their first in-person, online, or phone interaction is key. Poor customer service, including slow response times, is one of the leading causes of customer complaints. Unhappy customers are 26 times more likely than satisfied customers to write a negative review of your business and post it online.

So, in terms of call wait times, how long are your potential customers actually willing to wait? We asked this question to patients nationwide to better understand their customer service expectations. The results were quite clear, with patients being willing to wait no more than three minutes on hold before hanging up. Age also played a significant factor in how those surveyed responded. Older patients (75-year-old and older) were six times more likely to hang up within the first minute than 25 – 34-year-old patients.

Young woman working in a call center for a hospital

Waiting for a live agent is one small piece of the customer call experience. In some cases, when customers call support lines, they are forced to leave a voicemail and wait for a return call. Though customers aren’t put on hold, in real-time, they still have to wait to get the information they need to make an informed healthcare decision. At Response Mine Health, we surveyed patients in the United States to see how long they would wait for a return call before contacting another provider. Our research found that patients, of all age groups, are five to seven times more likely to leave a message and also call another provider. If your company is not returning these messages within 12-24 hours, you could be losing out on attracting and retaining new customers. As customers continue to prefer and expect personalized and live support, when they need it, healthcare providers must find effective and timely ways to provide exceptional customer service.

 

Establishing and managing a proven call center can be challenging, for a growing company. At Response Mine Health – we can help! As the only marketing agency with a fully HIPAA compliant call center in the United States, we use the best customer support practices to ensure that no call goes unanswered.

To learn more about how our expert customer service team can partner with you to meet all of your customer requests, click here.

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