The Healthcare Experience Benchmark Report
Patient Expectations In the Face of Inflation
When we released our Buyer Experience Benchmark Report last year, healthcare organizations were feverishly shifting strategies to meet rapidly changing patient needs that were brought upon by the pandemic. While people locked up at home were receiving better omnichannel experiences from consumer brands, they began to expect the same standard from healthcare providers.
As we have eased out of pandemic restrictions and everybody is ready to be outside, be with people, and get rid of those pesky mask tan lines, inflation has reared its ugly head, putting new pressures on patients and demands on healthcare organizations.
As prices rise, so are demands for superior healthcare experiences. And the results of the 2022 Invoca Healthcare Experience Report show that organizations that don’t meet patient expectations are experiencing higher levels of churn than ever.
Just like last year, we surveyed 500 consumers who have completed a high-stakes purchase in the last year. We define a “high-stakes purchase” as one that you take time to weigh options, research, and/or put more thought into before making a decision, due to the complexity and/or cost of the item or service. In this year’s survey, 25% of respondents reported researching and obtaining a healthcare-related service in the last 12 months. Another 37% did research but did not make a purchase decision.
Check the report to see what patients expect when making healthcare decisions
and what healthcare providers are risking when they let them down.
About the Survey
What do my patients want?
Inflation Driving Increased Demand for Superior Patient Experiences
Inflation is undoubtedly putting the screws to patients, so it’s more important than ever that healthcare providers deliver superior experiences to earn their business. Rising inflation has consumers rethinking high-stakes purchases like elective procedures. You don’t want the service you provide to give them any reason to put off getting the care they need.
are slightly less likely or much less likely to make a purchase at all due to inflation
say inflation has affected their purchasing decisions and timeline
Your patients are willing to pay more for great service, but they’ll also make you pay if you don’t provide it. Patients have less patience than ever for bad experiences, and they won’t hesitate to cut ties with you—even after a single negative experience.
One bad experience can drive away most of your patients
of consumers will stop doing business with you after just one bad experience
Your Patients Want to Talk
Inflation & Customer Experience Demands
Customers Want to Call
Customer Call Experience Expectations
The Power of Personalization
Learn More About Invoca
will do more research to find the best customer experience
say that they will pay more for a product or service to get better customer service
While consumers are concerned about cost, they expect the best customer service available when they’re putting a bigger chunk of cash down. And they’ll even pay extra for it!
Despite inflation, consumers will pay more for superior buying experiences
Your Patients Want To Talk
When patients are choosing a care provider, making a personal connection can be a powerful motivator. Most of your patients will call to schedule their appointments — in fact, of all the industries we surveyed, healthcare patients were most likely to make a phone call. Therefore, it’s critical that you get the experience right.
In our 2022 survey, we found that the phone is the most preferred communication channel when patients are having a problem and need help, up 15% since 2021 and overtaking online as the preferred channel.
Patients prefer phone calls over all other channels
of patients prefer to call when they need help with their healthcare needs
Inflation & Patient Experience Demands
Patient Call Experience Expectations
preferred to call in 2021
Most patients rank the phone as their preferred channel when they need help. And chatbots came in a distant last.
How patients prefer to contact providers when they need help
When consumers contact a business while making a high-stakes purchase, the chatbot is still the least preferred channel. But people have warmed up to our robotic customer service helpers considerably since 2021.
Humans are better, but consumers are warming up to chatbots
now prefer to interact with a chatbot
preferred the chatbot in 2021
never want to interact with a chatbot in any scenario
Gen Z/Millennial: 32%
Gen X: 21%
Baby Boomer: 5%
I heart chatbots.
It may not come as a surprise, but the growth in chatbot acceptance is mainly due to acceptance by younger consumers. Here’s who prefers the bot in most situations and who said they would rather never interact with a chatbot:
Younger consumers are chill with the chatbot
Gen Z/Millennial: 9%
Gen X: 27%
Baby Boomer: 45%
Get that freaking robot away from me!
Reasons patients are calling:
Healthcare patients say that they are most likely to call because they want to get more information about the service or the process. About 20% are just more comfortable completing the transaction over the phone. The number three reason is disconcerting, though: nearly 1 in 3 said they called because they couldn’t find what they were looking for online. A bad online experience is not why you want patients to call.
Why patients call healthcare providers
My preferred channel for completing transactions is:
Your patients might do research online, call for help on the phone, and go back online to schedule an appointment. This is why it’s so important to provide a fully connected and seamless omnichannel experience. Above all, you have to meet your patients where they are and make sure they can get care the way they want to.
Most people prefer to complete healthcare transactions online, in person, and on the phone, respectively. The eye-opener is that 12% prefer to complete transactions via chatbot or text!
Of course, they still want to set appointments online
Chatbot or text
called in 2021
called in 2022
Healthcare patients are 9% more likely to call than they were in 2020
More comfortable completing transaction over the phone
To get more information about the process
The information I needed was not available online
To share required personal information
To get more information about the service
Website was malfunctioning or difficult to use
When Patients Call, They Demand Superior Experiences
Most patients will call at some point during their journey, and most will stop doing business with you after just one bad experience. More than any other channel, it’s important that you get the call experience right.
If customers don’t decide to stop doing business with you because of a bad experience on the phone, the manager is sure to get an earful. So will the callers’ friends and anyone who reads your online reviews.
Word of bad phone experiences get around
We asked respondents to select all the reasons that they believe constitute negative customer service on the phone with a business. Rude agents top the list and long hold times and too many transfers follow closely behind. An inability to live up to promises and a lack of empathy also rank high on the list for souring customers on the phone.
But what makes customer service on the phone bad?
Patients Want to Call
When respondents ranked the possible reasons why they would stop doing business with a company, a bad phone experience was the leading motivator.
Treating patients poorly on the phone? They won’t be patients for long.
The #1 reason I’ll stop doing business with a company is:
Lack of inventory or availability of products I want to purchase
Lack of product knowledge
on behalf of customer service or sales reps
Poor call experience
Ask to talk to a manager
When I have a bad experience on the phone with a company I will:
Tell others about the experience
Stop doing business with that company
Write a negative review on an online review site
Mention the company on social media to bring attention to the experience
The #1 reason I’ll leave a negative review is:
Poor call experiences
Lack of availability or options of products/services
Lack of product/service knowledge on behalf of customer service or sales reps
Poor website experience
I feel that the following constitute a bad customer experience on the phone:
Long hold times
Too many transfers
Having to repeat information
Agent could not fulfill advertised promotions or item/service unavailable
Lack of empathy
I have hung up because I heard a message about “high call volumes” and “wait times being longer than usual.”
I have hung up after being placed on hold.
We found that patients are getting more patient since our last Buyer Experience Report survey in 2021. While 60% reported hanging up after being placed on hold this year, that’s less than the ¾ who did so in 2021.
Patients are getting more patient*
Yes, people are slightly more patient than last year, but we’re coming down from a high watermark. And healthcare consumers are less patient than those making retail purchases. So take the increased patience with a pile of asterisks.
*But not that patient
I expect to wait on hold:
I hung up after waiting:
Industries where customers are most likely to expect hold times under 2 minutes:
I hung up immediately
In 2021, only 5% of consumers were confident a business would actually call them back if they selected the automated callback option instead of waiting on hold. It looks like people found out it actually works, because now 40% said they would choose the callback option instead of waiting on hold.
More patients now trust the automated callback option
If a business offers an automated callback option instead of waiting on hold, I will:
42% – Use the automated call-back option
25% – Wait on hold
24% – Call another time
9% – Call another business
13% – All the time
19% – Most of the time
29% – Sometimes
31% – Rarely
7% – Never
I raise my voice or get noticeably angry with contact center agents when I have a bad experience:
Yes, patients hanging up is bad, but just think about the medical office employees or contact center agents who are on the receiving end of your patients’ grief. One-third of respondents said that they will likely raise their voice or get noticeably angry with contact center agents if they have a bad experience on the phone. Fewer than 10% said they never get mad at contact center agents.
Seriously, you don’t want to flex with your patients
2 minutes or less
I don’t expect to wait at all
But how do hold time expectations align with how long people will wait? 77% of those surveyed say they expect to wait 10 minutes or less on hold and about 60% said they hung up in 10 minutes or less. About 2% expect to wait on hold for over an hour!
Lack of options for products/
Lack of personalization
A big part of making personal connections with your patients is personalization. It kind of makes sense, right? An overwhelming majority of patients expect their healthcare provider to know some details about them when they call, like who they are, if they’re a returning patient, and perhaps even what procedure they’re interested in. What’s even more interesting is that most patients have the same expectation for providers they have never scheduled an appointment with before.
Most healthcare providers are no strangers to creating personalized experiences online, but it turns out that patients expect more personalization when they call than when they click. And almost nobody expects no personalization at all.
Patients expect the most personalized experiences on the phone
When you personalize your patients’ experience, they trust your organization more and are more likely to become repeat patients. When we asked people to list how they feel when a company personalized their interactions, only a small percentage of respondents said that they think personalization is creepy or invasive.
Personalization earns your patients’ trust and loyalty
Learn How to Create Better Patient Experiences
I have done business with before
I have not done business with before
When I call a business...
I don’t expect them to know anything about me
Are aware of my online activity
Know what I’m looking for
Know who I am (e.g. basic info like address/phone/email)
Know my purchase history
I expect that they:
Know who I am
Know why I am calling
Keep a record of our call to better serve me next time
In promos and ads
On the phone
I expect the highest level of personalization:
expect no personalization at all
When a company does do a good job of personalizing our interactions:
I feel like they care about earning my business
I’m more likely to do business with them
I trust them more
I feel they’re more innovative
I think personalization is invasive or creepy
I trust them less
I don’t care about personalized experiences
In order to receive more effective and efficient service, people are most willing to share:
But it’s TMI when you ask for:
Age, to offer me fitting products and/or deals
Occupation, to offer me more personalized deals
Online browsing history to provide more personalized service or offers
Ages of others in your household, to offer me more personalized deals
Income, to offer me fitting products and/or deals
But it’s TMI when you ask for:
Name to track purchases I’ve made before
Phone number to track when I’ve called before
Phone number to track purchases I’ve made
Mailing address to track purchases I’ve made before
Email to track purchases I’ve made
Take personal data personally
Healthcare providers need to walk a fine line in collecting data to improve the patient experience. They need to deliver seamless experiences while following HIPAA regulations and keeping sensitive healthcare data secure.
Learn How You Can Create Better Experiences for Every Patient
In an economy where everyone is under inflation-driven financial pressure, patients are seeking more value for their money, and for many, that means getting the best experience possible.
Invoca AI-powered conversation intelligence can help you provide a superior experience to every patient from click to call to conversion. Start the conversation with one of our experts to learn more.
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Learn How to Create Better Customer Experiences
You can view the 2021 Invoca Buyer Experience Benchmark Report here
500 consumers who have completed a high-stakes purchase between March 2021 and March 2022. A HIGH-STAKES PURCHASE is defined as one that you take time to weigh options, research, and/or put more thought into before making a decision, due to complexity and/or cost of the item or service. Examples of this include buying a car, home improvements like a new roof, signing up for cable service, insurance policies, mortgages and loans, finding a new healthcare provider, or purchasing travel accommodations.
Less than $25,000
$25,000 - $49,999
$50,000 - $74,999
$75,000 - $99,999
$100,000 - $199,999
Less than high school
High school graduate
Prefer not to answer