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Using mystery shoppers to improve hospital service

A big component of how well a hospital serves its patients is the hospitality element. Many people don't necessarily realize how important it is to them until they visit a hospital that really nails the element of patient care. Some hospitals, according to Health Care Design Magazine, actually go so far as to craft the interior and exterior of their spaces in such a way that the patient feels more comfortable over all. Such places will have nature paths with trees, along with a calm and soothing interior.

How can a hospital be sure that it's providing adequate care to its patients? One way is by hiring mystery shoppers.

Mystery shopping as a method for measuring customer service
The way a mystery shopping job at a hospital works is quite simple. The "patient" goes to a prearranged appointment and takes notes on service. This person will look at the hospital's appearance, and take detailed observations about the timing of different personnel, making sure services happen on time. The mystery shopper can even visit a doctor and have a checkup done. Although obviously this person cannot really have an illness, there are other reasons for seeing a doctor, such as having a medical exam for work or doing a routine physical every year.

Mystery shoppers will visit a hospital and take very good notes about what is happening around them, up to and including who they see in the hospital, such as the names of the staff who serve them and the doctors who visit them. Everything is recorded surreptitiously, so that the people who work at the hospital don't know they have been checked for proper service. The managers of the hospital can choose how to share the information that mystery shoppers have uncovered, so that hospital services can be improved upon without anyone knowing that it was a mystery shopper who did the investigating.

Hospitality is "a must" for hospitals
Physicians Practice reported that hospitality will grow in depth and complexity as hospitals vie with each other for providing the best service to patients. The only way to really know how well your hospital is doing is to get unbiased feedback from professionals who have made it their living to examine service-oriented companies and take detailed notes that can be used to better serve future patients.

Mystery shoppers are discrete. They will not tell anyone about what they have uncovered, and they are not influenced by other people who work at the hospital. They are completely without bias and focus only on what they are supposed to be looking for. Even if someone tells a mystery shopper to carefully remember every conversation he or she has when visiting the hospital, this is not a difficult feat for someone with proper experience. Mystery shoppers can be trusted to create a very full record of visiting a hospital.

There are many uses for a mystery shopper
If a hospital manager wants to know what it's like to visit on certain days of the week, then more than one mystery shopper can be hired at a time, and they can be sent to different departments on different days or even different times. In this way, a careful record of the entire hospital can be made, including the individual workers who service the patients on a regular basis.

Hospitals can take this information and use it to create a much better and more specific plan for improving customer relations. In places and times that show weakness, the hospital can add more personnel or add extra training for those who aren't demonstrating a sufficient degree of service.

By using mystery shoppers hospitals can improve the patient experience, now and in the future.