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Net Promoter Score® in Healthcare

In the post-COVID environment, many consumers have shifted towards a more active role in caring for their own health, looking for seamless technology and a customer-first attitude. 

According to a 2020 consumer health experience study, 64% of patients are likely or highly likely to switch to a new health system if their expectations aren’t met when it comes to sanitary and safety protocols, access to up-to-date information, and the availability of virtual care options. 

As patient expectations are changing rapidly, your approach to patient experience should follow suit. To set yourself apart from the competition, you need to adopt new tools and customizable data-gathering solutions to understand patient behavior, patient expectations, and patient satisfaction, and to quickly act on that understanding. 

One of the most effective ways to create a more personalized patient experience by collecting and acting on feedback is by using the Net Promoter Score®. NPS® is a one-question metric that measures how your organization and its services are perceived by your patients.

NPS® in healthcare indicates how satisfied and loyal your patients are, and even provides indicators that can accelerate your future growth and success. The basic idea behind this metric is simple and based on patients answering how likely they are to recommend a provider or healthcare organization to a friend. Similar to the familiar Pain Scale, surveys such as the NPS® allow businesses and facilities to benchmark services against others in the area, region or country. As such, NPS in healthcare is appealing for a few reasons – for providers, it’s qualifiable (actionable), standardized (benchmarkable), and measurable, and for patients, it’s simple and quick.

What Is Net Promoter Score®?

Created in 2003 by Bain and Company, Net Promoter Score® is generated by surveys where respondents score a product or service on a rating scale of 1-10. In the healthcare industry, NPS® scores are used specifically to measure customer loyalty and satisfaction by determining how likely patients are to recommend healthcare providers to others.

Using a rating system of zero to 10, customers or patients fall into one of three categories:

Promoters

These customers rate their experience as either a nine or ten. They are the most loyal and would recommend your organization and services to others.

Every healthcare practice wants loyal patients who are happy to refer other clients, so your goal should be to attract and retain promoters, as drivers for growth and increased revenue.

Passives

Customers in this group are satisfied but not enthusiastic and usually rate their experience a seven or an eight. Passives represent a vulnerable group because even though they expressed a positive view of your practice, they are still open to exploring your competitors. 

Still, identifying indifferent patients is important because you can take steps to prevent them from choosing your competitors over you or regressing to a detractor.

Detractors

This group includes unhappy customers who rate their experience from zero to six. They would not refer a friend or colleague and could potentially hurt your company’s brand. 

NPS® surveys help you identify detractors early, allowing you to reach out and offer support before they slow your growth with negative word of mouth and online reviews.

NPS® in healthcare provides a score that is continually being updated as new responses are received so you can track patient perceptions, compare them to internal and industry averages, and monitor progress over time to make improvements that will boost your score.

Questions on healthcare NPS surveys are typically created in a straightforward way to remove any confusion, misunderstanding, or bias.

By analyzing all the factors that contribute to your NPS, you can identify problem areas for improvement, recognize gaps in the market for new products and services, and prevent patients from choosing alternative providers over you.

Benefits of NPS® in Healthcare

The key element to growing a healthcare business is to retain as many patients as possible while consistently attracting new ones. Your referrals are the number one indicator of company health and your future growth rate. NPS in healthcare can be a key tool in that effort by providing a steady stream of feedback about how your customers feel about your company, so you can address any issues to improve satisfaction and loyalty.

Yet NPS ®’s ability to help attract new customers extends beyond growing your business through pure referrals. It helps you see the bigger picture regarding how your company is doing compared to its competitors and when you take actions that continue to improve your business, you also draw more customers in.

NPS ® in healthcare can help reveal ways to improve customer retention, acquisition, and loyalty. In addition, the continuous measurement provided by NPS scores can provide opportunities for greater profitability. If you start to see negative trends, you can quickly start instituting changes to address issues that may be leading to negative reviews. In addition, you can swiftly capitalize on more positive feedback to encourage new and returning patients. Ultimately, taking steps to assure that your patients have a positive experience is bound to reflect on your bottom line.

Organizations that make use of NPS ® in healthcare can also improve their online reputations and manage where their business lands on local Google rankings and reviews, which is how many healthcare consumers base their decisions on where to seek care. Information consistent across platforms translates to an increase in search traffic, and thus, patients who walk through your business’ doors. 

Why Do Some Consider NPS a Useless Metric

NPS® is a simple and easily calculated metric, and it has no doubt been adopted by many companies and industries, including healthcare. However, some people consider it not as useful.

Some of the reasons are that NPS® lacks context behind scores, the number of people your survey gets in front of can be limited, and the time between the survey and analyzing the results can be long. This is especially true in the healthcare industry, where long periods of time may happen between patients’ healthcare encounters. This context allows not only time but other mediators such as recurrences, other life events, and disability to intervene between memory and actual behavior. As a result, patients’ intent does not always translate into their behavior.

Finally, how they are asked might alter their answer, and the timing can also affect things. Many patient satisfaction surveys are administered toward the end of care, and because of this, satisfaction scores tend to be high because the patient likely has experienced a positive outcome. Also, when patients are asked to fill out a survey in the presence of the healthcare provider, they may indicate they were more satisfied than they actually are, to prevent offending the person in front of them.

However, you can easily overcome any downfalls of NPS in healthcare by combining it with other data sources and getting the additional context you may be missing. Using a patient survey system helps you get a better understanding of your patients’ NPS scores by adding follow-up questions, automating surveys based on your preferred time, frequency, and contact list, and receiving customized survey reports. 

The NPS® score is not a perfect metric and it doesn’t give you rich insights into how your patients feel about your business. But with the right software, it can undoubtedly be a beneficial metric. Still, it’s important to remember that the NPS® score is just a first step to long-term business growth and its real value lies in implementing changes and driving improvement based on the scores.

Improving Patient Experience with NPS ® in Healthcare

The human element is key to the new era of patient engagement and any data-gathering solution you decide to use to measure the patient experience has to put them front and center. NPS® in healthcare helps you find out where the problems lie and address them organizationally, but also lets your patients know you care about them by asking for their opinion and following up on the feedback they give you. 

Understanding NPS ® in healthcare is a great starting point for learning more about the health of your business to create more advocates for your services and ultimately deliver revenue you can rely on. To do this effectively, you need to listen to each piece of feedback, understand the experiences that are creating promoters, passives, and detractors, and take action upon it. 

At SocialClimb, we understand there is no magic question that distills a rather complex set of circumstances, perceptions, intentions, and behaviors into a one-line diagnostic. In addition to NPS® in healthcare, we support a variety of survey options, including CAHPS and NPS®, through our platform. Either way, you will get a patient-centered and operational approach providing you with a 360-degree view of the data you need to succeed to distribute it across your organization and drive engagement and improvement. Click here to learn more.