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Creating Profitability Through Service Excellence ~ Do You Really Know What Your Customers Think?

by Tonya Walton ,  Medical Tourism Magazine | 2009-06-01

In the words of Peter Drucker, widely considered the father of modern management, "Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It is what the client or customer gets out of it." How does the medical tourism industry measure business success? The obvious answer is through financial statements and growing patient volume.

The data to evaluate success is typically easy to find, and most hospital leaders and medical tourism facilitators can recite the numbers from memory. But, in service industries, customer satisfaction is the primary driver of profitability and growth. Medical tourism websites and marketing departments tout customer service excellence, but how many of us have objective data to prove it?  Do we take the time to determine how we provide excellent customer service, and do we even know what it means?

Feedback is the Breakfast of Champions
Measuring customer satisfaction by the absence of complaints or the presence of compliments is a common and very costly error. Studies show few people provide feedback, either positive or negative, unless they are asked to do so. Relying on anecdotal information is akin to gauging financial success by the absence of collection notices. Just as a business needs reliable financial data, the service industry requires customer satisfaction data to measure success and identify areas for improvement.

What are our patients' needs and how do we measure our success in meeting those needs?  Medical tourists want to know that they will return home safely and in good health – in short, peace of mind. Patients need to feel cared for, safe, secure, and must know that travel facilitators and caregivers have their best interests at heart.  Building the reputation of our industry requires creating an outstanding impression. After all, perception is truth. How do we know we have achieved this goal?

Is a Satisfied Patient Good Enough?
Have you ever been to a restaurant and received satisfactory service and food? Chances are good you were not hungry when you left. But what are the chances you will return; much less promote the restaurant to your friends and family?

Like the satisfied diner, a medical tourist who receives quality care and the desired outcome will be a satisfied patient. However, satisfaction sets the bar low. Excellence is the metric that secures long term success. A satisfied customer does not create future business, but an enthusiastic one does.

In the competitive medical tourism industry, extremely satisfied patients drive future success. Giving patients more than they expect to get generates repeat visits, glowing recommendations, and a solid reputation. While satisfied customers certainly do not hurt business, delighted customers turn into outstanding marketing tools and deliver long term profitability.

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