The quality of services offered in healthcare facilities always determines customers’ contentment. In fact, the basis of any organization’s operations and the key to its success lie in the high level of its customers’ satisfaction. According to Hernon, Nitecki, & Altman (1999), service quality is the customers’ perception of how well a service meets or surpasses their expectations, whereas customer satisfaction is viewed as a measure of customers’ perception regarding an organization. In that regard, no one is as fundamental as a consumer in terms of judging the quality of a product or service. In the current fast changing and fierce market conditions within the service industry, perfection in terms of yield rates or competitiveness solely relies on active, efficient, and improved service quality (Hernon et al. 1999). This statement implies that service quality directly affects customer satisfaction. In short, successful organizations or businesses are always driven by customer satisfaction. This paper highlights issues related to quality care and customer satisfaction.
Based on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Health Plans Survey of patients’ hospital experience, it is clear that the most appropriate satisfaction measurement criteria are the three steps that must be followed aptly. The first step involves getting off to a good start: greeting clientele promptly, communicating with eyes, breaking the ice, ensuring that customers are fully involved, enjoying people and their diversity, checking the look of a working area and employees’ appearance, calling people by their names, using good telephone communication techniques, and, finally, using words such as “please” and “thank you” accompanied by a smile.
The second step in ensuring customer satisfaction is based on building on the good start from the previous stage. It involves the following: listening more to customers, anticipating customers’ needs, complementing freely and sincerely, and reaching out.
The third step is building on the relationship with a client. This final step involves the following: offering explanation regarding how things work, encouraging both positive and negative feedback, under-promising while over-delivering, reassuring customer’s decision to do business with the facility, treat customer well to make them feel special, and, finally, exceed their expectations (Zeithaml, Parasuraman, & Berry, 1990). Presented below is a health care management model that can be used to ensure customer satisfaction and offer quality care:
Nevertheless, numerous barriers appear throughout the process of ensuring that customers are satisfied by the care being offered to them. These roadblocks to customer service may jeopardize the best efforts towards meeting the basic needs of clientele. Thus, it is important to ensure that they are prevented from occurring and, if occurred, managed effectively. One of these barriers is poor quality products, utilization of which habitually results in customer complaints. The second barrier includes flawed systems, inadequate equipments, supplies, and procedures, the use of which often leads to offering poor quality services to customers. In cases where systems are inefficient and policies are rigid, it is vital to determine their hindrance with customer care services and work to modify them accordingly (Zeithaml et al., 1990). Furthermore, the provision of quality care is usually restricted by inadequate equipment and supplies. Other roadblocks in health care setting include doctors or nurses being overworked, which is usually caused by understaffing. Overworking poses a fastidious challenge to employee morale, which is likely to affect the manner in which customers are treated. The condition mentioned above further leads to low standards work culture; therefore, it becomes difficult to consistently deliver high quality services.
To conclude, quality service is a standard by which customers measure the performance of any given organization (Zeithaml et al., 1990). On the other hand, satisfaction or, in turn, dissatisfaction is the result of the difference between the manner in which customers expect to be treated and the way how they perceive being treated. Finally, it is worth noting that when doing business to serve customers, healthcare organizations have to work upon that belief, and customers will respond. The key to achieving it is guaranteeing customized services. Customers treated with respect and care they deserve respond accordingly. Furthermore, organizations striving to guarantee customer satisfaction should provide services that exceed their expectations. This paper highlighted some basic principles and techniques for customer service in health care. While they may seem rather obvious, their absence can, in essence, put most hospitals out of business in today’s competitive, cautious, and customer-oriented environment.