This project requires you to apply your new knowledge and skills through the development of a Customer Service Plan.
The plan should be based around the organization from the Case Study or another fictional small-medium sized business. If not choosing the scenario provided, you can check the suitability of your chosen business with the Technical Advisers.
Your Customer Service Plan should focus on the actions required to carry out the recommendations made in your case study report, and include the following information:
• Identify the current needs and priorities of the organisation
• The type of data you need to enhance customer service and how this will be obtained
• Strategies to engage customers and meet their needs including the relevant products and services on offer
• Communication techniques to use with customers, including written, oral and the use of technology
• Strategies to increase sales while maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction
• Methods to diagnose problems with customer service, and to determine appropriate solutions
• Techniques to capture customer, staff and supplier feedback and how you will review customer satisfaction
• Training you will implement in order to meet these objectives
• The budget for implementing these changes, and for ongoing customer service systems
• How the new customer service strategies align to best practice within the industry, and any current industry trends
• How the plan will be implemented, monitored and reviewed.
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This report entails the analysis of the customer service strategies in a healthcare organization in Australia. The purpose of this evaluation was to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the current customer service strategies of the hospital and to offer valuable recommendations for improvement through the development of a Customer Service Plan. The patients and their families are the customers for a healthcare organization and therefore it is the responsibility of every healthcare establishment to ensure that they offer the best possible services to the customers in terms of the high quality of the products and services provided to them to ensure that the best quality of care is delivered to them (Howard & Julie, 1999).
Current needs and priorities of the organization:
The analysis of the present situation at the hospital has been conducted by applying a situational analysis model that is the SWOT Analysis framework. It has revealed the following key areas:
? Many of the staffs in the hospital are not discharging their duties responsibly and therefore; there is a perceived gap in between the actual service quality and the expected service quality of the customers. This is a reason that the hospital has received lesser customer satisfaction from a recently conducted customer survey (GENESYS, n.d.).
? The bill generation and offering time are incredibly long due to the traditional systems of working which involves a lot of manual operations instead of the application of modern IT and ICT technologies to undertake digitalized communication systems. The patients and their families have to wait in long queues for their turn to receive the bills or diagnosis reports from the hospital. This is also a primary cause of customer dissatisfaction.
? There is poor communication of information between the hospital staffs and the customers owing to lack of modern technologically updated communication technologies and infrastructure. This is also a significant cause of concern for the customers.
Type of data needed to enhance customer service and the method to obtain them:
A survey will be conducted on the customers, and primary data will be gathered.
Strategies to engage customers and meet their needs:
Looking at all of the above factors that are impacting the progress of the business of the hospital and taking it into a path where it might soon lose the competitive edge among the rivals, the management has urgently intervened into the issue and proposed a Customer Service Plan integrating the following factors:
Methods to diagnose problems with customer service and determine appropriate solutions:
The management should focus on the mission and vision of the hospital to align the customer service initiatives accordingly with the goals and objectives of the hospital. This is the prime function to ensure that the management personnel and the staffs are aware of the essence of serving the patients that were the prime reason behind the establishment of the healthcare unit. The employees and teams need to be reminded that they vouched to deliver the best possible service to the patients and their families and always believe in the act of benevolence that is the foundation of a healthcare service. Hence, the first step of the customer service plan re-alignment will constitute of focusing back on the aims, missions, and objectives upon which the business of the healthcare institution was established, and all the management personnel and the healthcare professionals should remain truthful and dedicated to those principles.
Training that needs to be implemented to meet these objectives:
The concept of customer-mindedness needs to be achieved by every management personnel and staff, and the upper-level management should offer their support in this regard. It is the responsibility of upper management to instill this customer-focused approach in the minds of the staffs and professionals working in all the departments of the hospital. Hence, they should develop effective training and development strategies for the professionals in the hospital so that they receive the required inputs related to the essence of effective customer services within the organization (Becker's Healthcare, 2010).
Communication techniques to use with customers:
An external hospital scan is to be undertaken considering the points of contact between the staffs and the customers. A diagram of the contact points need to be developed, and it should be shared with all the crews and employees to make them understand the various areas where they will have to interact with the customers on a routine basis. This will help them strengthen their quality of services in all those directions.
Strategies to increase sales while maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction:
An internal scan of all the departments within the hospital needs to be conducted for analyzing the various internal functions of the staffs working in multiple departments and their roles in customer services. The internal analysis has reflected the need for improving communication processes between the teams and the patients and it can be achieved by implementation of modern Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure and current Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software application that will make it highly convenient to deliver the expected quality of customer services to the patients and their families (Armour, 2016).
Alignment of the new customer service strategies to best practice within the industry:
Conducting a competitor analysis is of prime importance as it will help the management identify the procedures and policies implemented by the rival healthcare establishments in the locality. The significant areas of concern will be the tactics deployed by them in ensuring the highest possible quality of services to the customers. The analysis will help to identify the areas where the hospital is ahead than its competitors, and at the same time, the determination of the loopholes will be possible that need to be improved soon to be at par with the competing healthcare organizations.
Implementation, monitoring, and review of the plan:
A service audit on the customers will have to be conducted from time to time to gather their valuable feedback on the areas they consider to be active and to pinpoint the areas of weaknesses in their current strategies. The management should prepare relevant survey questionnaires addressing the issues they have identified through the audit process. The questions will discuss some of the current strengths and weaknesses identified by the management. The feedback from the customers is to be gathered and analyzed to arrive at the results. The outcomes of such surveys are to be matched with the audited results to determine any gaps. This will ensure that the quality gaps are identified effectively such that proper actions can be taken. Relevant data gathered from various departments related to the services of each of the staffs and professionals should be used to develop active cross-functional teams. The essence of teamwork should be demonstrated in actions of the professionals that would ensure that many of the services are delivered on time and the Turnaround Time for the customers is reduced. Finally, the budget for the revamped customer service strategy is to be generated to seek approval of the higher management and key stakeholders. If they approve of the budget, then the proposed plans can be implemented effectively.
Conclusion & Recommendations:
On a concluding note to this report, the essence of high quality of customer service in the healthcare organizations can be established. The chosen organization has been suffering from some issues with effective customer services owing to which the management has undertaken an investigation that determines some of the loopholes in the current services of the staffs. This has resulted in significant lack of customer satisfaction due to which the establishment has been affected by the loss of customers over past few months. The management conducted an external and internal audit to determine the major drawbacks to the hospital's current level of customer service. Based on the analysis the following plausible recommendations can be offered in the form of an action plan:
Actions required Time frames Resources Person responsible
The current IT infrastructure needs to be developed that helps to sustain modern methods of communication and business functions such as the implementation of modern digital communication technologies such as teleconferencing, audio-conferencing, virtual team meetings, etc. Within 60 days Modern IT infrastructure, IT experts, investment in state-of-the-art communication technology The top-level management; IT department
To ensure high quality of customer service, the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system needs to be implemented. That is an electronic application that helps in maintaining and accessing data related to each of the customers and their tastes and preferences (Schroederk, 2013).
Within 30 days Investment in modern CRM application, the modern digital infrastructure to sustain the system The top-level management personnel, the IT Department and the Customer Service Department personnel
Training and development should be improved manifold and weekly training programs need to be incorporated for all the staffs and professionals working in the several departments of the hospital. They need to be trained about the modern trends of customer services and industry best practices such that they can demonstrate such actions in practice.
Within 14 days Efficient trainers from the healthcare industry that have experience in this sector and the HR personnel who will assist in training; training feedbacks; pens & whiteboards, etc. The Top-level management; HR Department, IT Department and the Customer Service Department
• The hospital has been operating for many years in the industry and has gained reputation and fame.
• There is modern and technologically updated infrastructure to deliver best possible services. Weaknesses
• The hospital staffs are often negligent in delivering the required customer services, and this has caused some issues related to customer satisfaction.
• The patients have to wait for long hours in the queue for their turn to receive the bills or diagnosis reports from the hospital and this is agitating for them.
• The hospital management has a broad scope to upgrade the customer service strategies by implementing modern software such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications.
• Improving communication with the customers through the implementation of modern technology. Threats
• The primary threats to the hospital are the rival healthcare organizations in the locality offering same category and quality of services.
• The first customer management systems and processes are proving to be detrimental to achieving the expected level of customer satisfaction.
Armour, H. (2016). Developing a CRM Strategy. Retrieved from https://www.reallysimplesystems.com/blog/crm-strategy/
Becker's Healthcare. (2010). 10 Strategies to Provide Patients With Superior Customer Service. Recovered from beckers hospital review: https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/10-strategies-to-provide-patients-with-superior-customer-service.html
GENESYS. (n.d.). North America Region: Customer Service Strategies for the Healthcare Industry. Industry Strategy Guide; http://www.genesys.com/resources/brochures/customer-service-strategies-for-the-healthcare-industry-strategy-guide-north-america.pdf, 1-24.
Howard, & Julie. (1999). Hospital Customer Service in a Changing Healthcare World: Does It Matter? Journal of Healthcare Management; Source Volume: 44 Source Issue: 4, n.a.
Schroederk. (2013). CRM vs. CEM – What strategy should companies choose for building better customer relationships. Retrieved from http://www.expeditionpr.com/crm-vs-cem-what-strategy-should-companies-choose-for-building-better-customer-relationships/