All facilities want their patients to feel as if they’ve been well taken care of by their doctors and support staff. Patient satisfaction is good for an organization’s reputation, morale and bottom line. But now that they impact revenue, HCAHPS scores have made patient satisfaction even more important in the healthcare industry.
As you know, HCAHPS stands for Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, a survey of 32 questions developed by the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Since the Affordable Care Act went into effect, CMS links HCAHPS to the levels at which hospitals will be reimbursed for the patients under is purview.
This is a strategic shift from earlier models, and how this development affects nutrition departments is not always clear. For one, not a single question on HCAHPS asks about patients’ opinion about food and foodservice. Nonetheless, self-operated foodservice teams can play a unique role in raising HCAHPS scores. Even for nutrition departments that feel HCAHPS just applies indirectly to them, the index new prominence has sharpened the importance of patient satisfaction. Hospitality and satisfaction are more aligned that ever before – and on paper, not just in theory.
In part 1, we have briefly covered the definition and purpose of a customer satisfaction survey. We also discovered that a customer satisfaction survey is a process and should be approached in a systematic way.
Bypassing certain steps in the process could jeopardize the overall success of the survey. Knowing your customer is satisfied could be very comforting, but that does not necessarily result in actionable insight which in turn can be used to drive change – an opportunity lost to innovate and grow.
Goals and objective – what are you really trying to achieve?
A well-executed and successful survey begins with an understanding of the survey’s goals and objectives. To write effective goals, it is useful to start with the word to followed by an action verb, such as describe, explain, explore, identify, investigate, gauge, measure, assess or test – for example: “To understand what makes our product unique” or “To explore our customer needs and requirements”. A goal is more generic, and not strictly measurable and tangible.
The objectives of a survey determine who you will survey and what you will ask them. If your objectives are unclear, your results will probably be unclear. The set of objectives is generated from the goal statement. Objectives should follow the specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART) rule. Commit to these objectives in writing to help keep the survey focused – these objectives serve as a guideline when writing the questionnaire. There can be more than one objective for 1 goal statement. Examples of objectives include:
Goal: To determine how flexible customers are towards new packaging
Associated objective: To assess customer’s opinions about the new kaleidoscopic packaging over the next 4 weeks
Goal: To determine employees attitudes about the proposed office move
Associated objective: To assess how the new office move may affect employee transport arrangements
Associated objective: To explore employee attitudes towards a proposed open office policy
Goal: To understand what drives customer loyalty
Associated objective: To determine the percentage of the current customer base that are likely to purchase our product again over the next 6 months
Associated objective: To describe what unique need our product are filling that leads to increased customer loyalty
Timelines need not to be complicated. It can be as simple as listing what you plan to accomplish each week. If there is an external project deadline (for example, the product manager needs the results to conclude a new product design), you will need to start from the deadline and work backward to the present. If the time provided is not enough, you can simplify the objectives by reducing it to answer only the critical objectives or you can decrease the sample size (…more on sample size later this series).
In the next part in the series, we will explore the important role that key stakeholders will play in the success of your survey.
In the past customer satisfaction and market research surveys were mostly conducted by research companies. Today, web and mobile technology, increased processing power, single-version-of-the-truth dashboard reporting and user friendly analytical tools has put the capability to conduct meaningful surveys within the reach of the smallest company or department. But surveying is often misunderstood and misapplied.
Surveys can reduce new product and other risk; generate insights about employees, customers, and markets; and align PR, advertising, and other communications programs with target constituencies. However, if the survey process is managed poorly, it can derail strategy and generate misguided marketing, customer service, and communications plans and damage the business’ reputation.
What is a survey?
The concept of surveys is sometimes used interchangeably with a questionnaire. However, the questionnaire is one element that contains the questions devised for collecting data. A survey is a process in which quantitative information is systematically collected from a relatively large sample taken from a large group of interest, known as a population. It is a research strategy and the underlying principles of a survey therefore are still subjected to research design principles.
A survey has a specific purpose, goals and objectives. The research design is planned, taking in consideration the data collection method and instrument and sample group. Once the data is collected, it is processed and analyzed and the required actions are taken.
Taking all these factors in consideration is important, for example, if a specific survey is targeting a slightly older age group (say, 35 to 44), using social media solely might not be the most appropriate data collection method.
Why survey customers?
Knowing what our customer’s perceptions are of our products or services can help us to make key business decisions and to continuously improve. It is therefore important to take in account that the customer’s perception and objective reality is not the same. Perception can be influenced by external or internal factors. The survey should therefore be comprehensive enough to gain data that reflects the “moment of truth” as accurate as possible, but also concise enough not to lose the interest of the respondent. The key to an effective survey would be eliminating as much interference that may result in biased skewed data in order to ensure the right business decisions are taken.
Over the next few weeks we will explore the survey design process in more detail and focus on what you need to know to get it right.
The Hospital foodservices sector is finding itself amidst various demands and pressures from both the customer and administration alike – with an increasing emphasis on “Hospitality” and customer satisfaction as a core competency, quality, healthy dining amongst patients, visitors and employees, cost management, “Business Dining” and introduction of new points of services & patient service models.
For many hospitals, healthy cafeterias draw in new and repeat customers from the surrounding area, expanding its reach to the potential market. These new customers have great implications for a foodservice sector traditionally known for revenue neural profits. The foodservice sector is veering away from being only functional in terms of meeting nutritional requirements; instead it has become a new-found means to provide quality customer service. The net results are higher patient satisfaction scores and revenues for the facilities they serve.
In an attempt to become more innovative, healthcare foodservice operators have turned to increased training, working collaboratively with their peers to emulate other successful concepts, and putting a new twist on existing technologies and even partnering with national brands. The AHF (Association for Healthcare Foodservice) 2014 Annual Conference in Orlando presented an opportunity for the industry to showcase these best practices. The AHF represents self-operated healthcare foodservice teams all over the USA. It strives to raise the benchmark for foodservice and hospitality services in both acute care and long-term care facilities. It covers both retail dining services (cafeterias) for staff, visitors and patients and as well as in room foodservices for patients.
Touchwork attended and exhibited at the AHF 2014 Annual Conference in Orlando between the 3rd and 6th June. The show was well attended with over 400 C-level conference attendees. The conference recognised the similarities among healthcare foodservice operators: we share the same challenges and aspirations and we can benefit from the same solutions. Touchwork enjoyed the unique position as sole exhibitor to offer a customer experience measurement product including its real-time customer feedback and mystery shopping solutions. Our booth attracted many visitors since our solution of providing instant actionable feedback resonated well with operators in the health sector.
We already have a presence in the healthcare foodservice sector and are planning to expand our market share significantly over the following year as we have done in the University dining sector. “With the need to enhance the retail foodservice and patient dining experience in healthcare operations, Touchwork is well positioned to take advantage of this opportunity with its proven customer experience measurement solutions,” said Johann Leitner, CEO Touchwork USA.
We thoroughly enjoyed the educational sessions, lively networking events and great food.
Highlight the main actions you took each semester based on student suggestions and comments. Create a poster or flyer that lists 8 to 10 examples and display/distribute in the dining location.
This further indicates that you are serious about the feedback you are getting from students and are making changes based on their input. It also encourages ongoing feedback and suggestions that helps to identify problems and improve the dining experience.
Listening to the likes and dislikes of your customers and acting on their feedback is key to your success.