At its core, healthcare is a service industry, and your patients are your customers.

What makes healthcare customer service unique from customer service in other notable industries is the connection between great customer service and better health outcomes. For example, the role of positive thinking in health outcomes and healing is well-documented.

Now, imagine how much influence healthcare employees can have on patients by treating them (and their family members) with kindness and empathy.

The healthcare industry is faced with its own set of challenges, and providing great customer service isn’t always easy for healthcare professionals. That’s why it’s imperative to teach the importance of this skill set to healthcare professionals and their staff.

This article outlines how to incorporate a customer service training program into a medical practice.

Understanding the Basics of Healthcare Customer Service

For optimal levels of patient satisfaction, healthcare organizations need to focus on having effective customer service teams.

Like any industry, healthcare professionals should develop customer-oriented communication skills to ensure they are providing high-quality care and fostering positive patient experiences.

The essential elements of effective customer service in healthcare include:

  • Active listening: Patients are coming to you with health challenges and concerns, and they deserve to be listened to. Active listening involves concentrating on what patients or customers are saying while maintaining eye contact. Avoid interrupting the person whenever possible.
  • Empathy: Employees who are empathetic are able to understand how another person is feeling by acknowledging those feelings, validating their experience, and demonstrating compassion and understanding. Empathy can be expressed both verbally and non-verbally.
  • Respect and courtesy: Closely related to the concept of empathy is treating all patients and their families with courtesy, while always maintaining a respectful attitude. It’s important to recognize that everyone deserves to be treated as equals, and even if an employee is having a bad day or dealing with a personal struggle, that should never be taken out on patients.
  • Problem-solving: At the heart of customer service is having the ability to solve someone’s problems. This starts by understanding the challenge a customer is facing, gathering follow-up information, exploring solutions, and collaborating with a patient to address an issue.
  • Patient-centered communication: Interacting with patients in a way that puts them first is the cornerstone of patient-centered care. In other words, a team must involve patients and their families in their care, acknowledge their autonomy, and involve them in making decisions about their care. A doctor should aim to avoid using complicated medical jargon and be sensitive to their cultural backgrounds.

A healthcare customer service training program can help your team develop these skills, while also providing resources and tools that help develop internal systems that help a business focus on timely, efficient business practices and follow-up and continuity of care.

All of these elements are essential to being able to effectively address customer service challenges, while building trust and rapport between patients and staff. When customer service is done right, you can create loyal patients for life.

The Role of Healthcare Customer Service Training

Healthcare customer service training programs can equip healthcare professionals with the necessary skills to handle difficult situations and improve patient interactions. There has been a lot of industry buzz about patient-centered care, and this concept is becoming increasingly important for any medical organization.

By focusing on the needs of patients, as opposed to viewing them as a “job” or a “number,” healthcare practices can improve patient satisfaction levels and enhance patient outcomes. This can be difficult because the healthcare industry is so fast-paced, and it shows no sign of becoming more relaxed.

However, despite the pace of the industry, treating patients poorly or carelessly should never happen. While no employee is perfect, undergoing training can go a long way toward ensuring that patients feel valued and continue coming to your practice in the future.

Side effects of healthcare customer service training can also include reduced medical errors and instances of miscommunication. By continually striving for improvement in the bedside manner of healthcare professionals and taking feedback to heart, a employees can increase the chances that patients have a positive experience. This, in turn, can have a long-term positive effect on your bottom line, as satisfied patients are more likely to have better outcomes and stay loyal to your practice. They’re also less likely to file a medical malpractice claim.

While a healthcare customer service training course can be done informally, there are also options to earn certifications and access training material by attending formal customer service training sessions. For example, AHIP offers a Healthcare Customer Service Associate certification that emphasizes strategies specifically tailored to training employees in this industry. This is an on-demand remote self-study course with online training modules.

Incorporating Technology in Training

Technology has begun to play a larger role in customer service and healthcare customer service training initiatives. For example, platforms like Weave can facilitate more effective communication between healthcare providers and patients, enhancing the overall customer service experience and delivering more impact from team training programs.

This can be done by allowing customers and patients to schedule appointments, communicate by text instead of over the phone, and pay with ease using Weave’s payments features. Other features that can create a better experience for patients include being personally greeted by name when they call on the phone, having secure access to patient information, and receiving personalized texts from your team.  

Strategies for Effective Healthcare Customer Service Training

Healthcare customer service training doesn’t have to take place in a boring classroom or industrial setting. Training sessions can be done ad hoc right in the office.

For example, meeting weekly, monthly, or quarterly to review common scenarios can help a customer care team hone their skills and improve at addressing challenges like calming upset patients or preventing a bad review. Role-playing situations and real-life scenarios can all be used to teach empathy and customer service skills.

One helpful approach could be to record these training scenarios with hypothetical customers and patients on video. This allows the employees on your team to watch the playback, identify areas for improvement, get feedback, and celebrate progress.

As your team implements customer service training initiatives across the organization, you should continue to solicit feedback from patients and conduct regular performance evaluations to identify recurring issues and refine your customer service approach.

Special Considerations for Different Healthcare Settings

Because no two industries are exactly alike, customer service training needs will inevitably vary between different healthcare settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and dental offices. You should be tailoring your customer service training accordingly to ensure that you are helping employees develop customer service skills that are unique to your patients.

For example, if you are a pediatric dentist, your customer service training can be focused on knowledge of how to communicate empathetically with kids, manage the expectations of parents, and the benefits of keeping teeth healthy from a young age.

Overcoming Common Challenges in Healthcare Customer Service

Even though no two medical practices are the same, healthcare professionals tend to face common obstacles when it comes to providing exceptional customer service. The good news is that customer service training programs can equip healthcare professionals, as well as any employee, with the resources needed to address even the most demanding clients and patients.

It’s important to realize that patients are coming to your office with concerns – whether it’s an immediate illness or advice for preventive medicine. By understanding what brought patients to your medical practice in the first place, healthcare professionals will be better equipped to handle any situation.  

Measuring the Impact of Customer Service Training

Healthcare professionals should continually measure the effectiveness of their customer service training program to ensure that it is helping each employee develop the tools and skills they need – both now and in the future.  There are various methods to measure the effectiveness of healthcare customer service training programs, including soliciting patient feedback, conducting satisfaction surveys, and reviewing performance metrics.


Customer service is an integral part of the healthcare system, and the benefits of having a robust, dedicated customer service training program can yield major benefits for healthcare professionals. As you implement a customer service training program, be sure to stay consistent so that your team can continue learning and adapting to meet the evolving needs of your patients.

Customer service training solutions like Weave can enhance customer service skills among healthcare professionals and employees by equipping them with advanced healthcare customer service skills. To see Weave in action, schedule a demo.  


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