Rewarding Complaints

“Communication is a Process, not a One Time Event”; I first heard this quote from my friend Robin Speculand. Robin is the CEO of Bridges Business Consultancy in Singapore. Bridges has been effectively instilling the importance of strategy implementation across the world for many years now. 

Many customer feedback and survey methods fall to live up to expectations, do more harm than good or deliver the results that a business wants because they are designed from a business’ perspective and not from a customer’s. Have you ever been passed a printed feedback form with a couple of dozen questions on it and asked to take your time in filling it up? What was your response?

Bridges recently launched which we would highly urge patient experience practitioners to check out. It’s filled with very valuable case studies, videos, best practice, etc. In our opinion, The Implementation CompassTM   developed by Bridges is a particularly effective guide to avoid implementation missteps.

As we’ve already discussed in our past posts, Communication is one of the key tenets to the success of a patient experience program. It’s the difference between a survey program that staff and providers distrust versus an operational discipline designed to empower the organization.

The first part here is the internal communication throughout the organization that patient feedback ex­ists to uncover and remove roadblocks that are getting in the organizations way. More specifically, in the front-line’s way.  It is important that at the very onset of the program, the communication process helps address the WHY of the program.

When this is done correctly, staff are comfortable to even ask an upset patient to give feedback. They do this because they know that they won’t be penalized for it and it will ultimately help them to perform their roles. They understand that the program helps patients get the best possible experience, helps drives internal process improvements and ultimately brings rewards and recognition to staff themselves.

And the second component here is the external communication to patients to let them know why we are asking for their continuous feedback (to improve for them), how long it will take them to give it (ideally 30-45 seconds), and that we are committed to let them know what we are doing with that information (transparency).



This can take the form of signage in a facility, on a website or through whatever mechanisms you use to communicate with your patients. Ideally, a blended approach works best.

Once you start to have these proper communication processes in place, the results will be phenomenal. We’ve seen hospitals which initially struggled in getting program acceptance from staff and patients suddenly start to achieve well over 50% response rates once a proper communication process was established.

What we’ve also learnt over time is that there is hardly one program which fits all. Every healthcare organisation has different dynamics and this is again why the communication process is vital in establishing a program which really works for you and your team.

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