Category Archives: Customer Service

Customer Interaction Management: Focus On It

Customer Interaction opinion piece by Alex Bäcker, Ph.D.

Customer Interaction Alex Bäcker, Ph.D., Founder and CEO, QLessBy Alex Bäcker, Ph.D.

In the age of ubiquitous smartphones, AI-powered chatbots and 24/7 connectivity, effective customer interaction in the healthcare vertical is taking on a different form. Welcome to the age of Digital Customer Interaction Management.

Virtual waitlists, flexible appointments, interactive communication, customized marketing, real-time user tracking and reporting – these are all required components for an effective interaction with healthcare patients in 2018.

The main reason is that every single touch point between an organization and its patients needs to be considered as an opportunity to delight, not only for retention, but also to encourage advocacy for the brand. If a patient has an unpleasant experience at a certain hospital or urgent care facility, they always have the option to go to different provider the next time they need medical attention.

From the help desk to the doctor’s office

Customer interaction management has historically been discussed in the context of selling (and post-sales calls) or call center and help desk interactions. But in today’s tech-driven, app-focused healthcare paradigm, a new model is emerging. Successful customer interaction management requires a strategic and multi-faceted approach. While well-trained, qualified employees are certainly at the heart of it, increasingly dedicated tools, AI-driven software, and cloud-based systems are facilitating the interaction between a healthcare organization and its patients.

One of the most important but often-overlooked aspects of customer interaction management in healthcare is the issue of waiting. Data has shown that using a virtual waitlist can reduce patient wait times from as long as 3 hours down to as little as 20 minutes. A recent survey conducted by a major healthcare provider determined that reduced wait times improved overall customer satisfaction an average of 20%. And we know that positive patient experiences contribute to improved overall rankings for hospitals and clinics with major implications for facility branding. This in turn translates directly to a facility’s ability to not only attract new patients and retain existing ones, but also to entice talented physicians to join their organization, ultimately supporting growth and innovation.

The emergence of virtual waitlists goes hand in hand with the evolving telemedicine space and certainly supports improved healthcare at a macro level. A virtual waitlist allows patients to wait where ever they want – at work, from the comfort of their home, or while running other errands. They are notified via text before their turn approaches so that they arrive just in time to be seen by a medical professional. Giving time-starved patients more control over their schedules is a major breakthrough already delivering results.

These evolving solutions are being designed to not only improve customer interaction, but to also make it easier for medical staff to be successful at their jobs as well. The goal is to empower every single worker to focus 100% of their capabilities on satisfying patients and providing the best care, and not to waste it on busy work or trivial activities that don’t deliver real value. Strategic customer interaction management can also help managers handle teams more effectively and as a result, deliver maximum efficiency and performance.

Positive patient-provider interactions drive business

One of the key outcomes of successful customer interaction management is repeat business and increased revenue. Patients that feel valued, respected, and cared for will return the favor by spending their hard-earned money with the healthcare organization that made them feel that way. And, the best approach for acquiring and keeping a loyal patient is to provide them with a compelling interaction that then helps build a long-term relationship.

According to Micah Solomon, noted author and patient experience consultant, “Every patient’s interaction with healthcare is judged based on expectations set by the best players in the hospitality industry, the financial services industry, and other areas where expert players have made a science of customer service.” This is very sage advice we can all keep in mind when developing customer interaction management protocols in the healthcare space.

All of which means that by developing and executing strategic customer interaction management strategies, and by leveraging the tools and techniques available to them, forward-looking healthcare providers can deliver exemplary customer interactions that drive successful business outcomes.

Alex Bäcker is co-founder and CEO of QLess and serves on the California Institute of Technology’s Information Sciences and Technology Board of Advisors. He holds a degree in Biology and Economics from MIT and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Computation and Neural Systems and Biology from Caltech.

About The Western PA Healthcare News News Team

Throughout the year, our writers feature fresh, in-depth, and relevant information for our audience of 40,000+ healthcare leaders and professionals. As a healthcare business publication, we cover and cherish our relationship with the entire health care industry including administrators, nurses, physicians, physical therapists, pharmacists, and more. We cover a broad spectrum from hospitals to medical offices to outpatient services to eye surgery centers to university settings. We focus on rehabilitation, nursing homes, home care, hospice as well as men’s health, women’s heath, and pediatrics.

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For more information from Kiosk Industry

Millennials Instore & Autumn Comforts: Discovering Your Shopper’s Comfort Zone

Retail kiosk

By Ron Bowers, Senior Vice President of Business Development, Frank Mayer and Associates, Inc.

November 2016

Reprinted from Frank Mayer and Associates, Inc blog

Autumn is upon us! It’s time to pull out a sweater, light the fireplace, and relax with a good book. Along with the falling leaves and cooler temperatures comes the desire for comfort. So, in this season of comfort, how can we ensure that the feeling translates successfully to the sales floor?

The idea of comfort in sales has different definitions to different people, but the gap between generations tends to be the most jarring. Some generations, myself included, tend to find comfort in the traditional sales approach: one-on-one interaction with in-store personnel, discussing product knowledge, pricing and competitor information. Classic and simple, no bells or whistles, the traditional sales approach has been the go-to sales technique for generations. However, in the new age of technology, online engagement drives a new generation of shoppers. Millennials, born between the mid-1980’s and early 2000’s, are approaching the sales floors, as they mature into the primary household consumer. Therefore, we might want to begin to redefine the comfort zone as it applies to this new generation of customers.

Looking back to the traditional sales approach we revisit its glory in the days of the Baby Boomers. This generation’s comfort zone values conventional social interactions and the in-store experience. Millennials were raised during the revolution of modern technology and tend to find value in independent consumerism. This generation finds this formerly “go-to sales approach” to be off-putting, preferring to gain product information through online data before even entering the store. With 70% of Millenials reporting to experience social anxiety, it’s not a question of why these new shoppers dislike the traditional sales approach but what we can do to ensure their comfort. So, what does this mean for store merchandising redefining comfort on the sales floor?

millennial retailThanks to advanced technology, interactive kiosks are becoming more and more prevalent for consumers who are looking to avoid ‘being sold’ on a product. Millennials value their independence and ability to make decisions without feeling like they’ve been swayed one way or another. They don’t enter the store looking to be sold. They come with a product or purchase in mind, seeking reassurance in the choice they’ve already made themselves. In this case, interactive kiosks are ideal. Acting as a beacon, kiosks invite consumers to the product with unique designs, advanced technology and selling power. Shoppers are spending time in the stores, comfortable in the setting and finding the information that they seek about the product they are purchasing. It’s a win for the consumer, a win for the retailer and a win for the brand marketers.

The sales approach itself has changed throughout the years, but few items stay true. A personalized shopping experience remains a constant need from generation through generation. How can this personalized experience be utilized in a sales approach that limits direct customer-retailer interaction? The answer is found in interactive kiosks. Kiosks are preprogrammed to know the product in such a way that the consumer is left without reservation; at the same time, allowing for both effectiveness and efficiency that consumers demand. While some Millennials retreat from face-to-face encounters with salespeople, they are still looking to be recognized as a customer with specific needs. Technological advancements with interactive kiosks enable retailers and brand marketers to fulfill the Millennials’ desire for instant gratification, and provide the efficiency so important in a consumer’s personalized experience within their comfort zone.

UPS Access Point Network Ready To Handle More Volume In The Wake Of Labor Dispute

UPS Access Point

United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE: UPS) disclosed that its Access Point Network is ready to take on additional packages from July 2 when the shippin


UPS claimed that its Access Point Network offered an easy solution during the critical time when routines may be disrupted and that consumers are uncertain about the status of potential orders. The company expects to have over 27,000 UPS Access Point locations around the world by the end of the current year. 900 locations in Canada.

Premier Tax Free Shopping self-service kiosk refund platform

tax refund kiosk

Premier Tax Free Shopping unveils self-service refund platform


The kiosk is connected to all till points in-store, and automatically recalls the purchase information as soon as the receipt is scanned.

Using inbuilt scanners, the tourist can simply scan their passport and sign the form using an inbuilt signature pad. Respecting all local and international regulations, the printed tax-free form is fully compliant, and in some countries, such as France, it is linked to Customs to synchronise with local systems.

Materna presents Self Bag Drop with brand new Kiosk Payment at Passenger Terminal Expo 2015 in Paris

Gatwick Airport is the first airport worldwide to introduce kiosk payment for self bag drop systems so as to simplify baggage check-in for its customers. Materna recently has been awarded the contract for this and will install 50 systems at Gatwick Airport starting in April 2015.

Materna’s self bag drop system comes with an intuitive graphical user interface so that passengers can drop off their luggage very quickly and easily. Its solution is based on the IATA CUSS standard and also supports the new CUWS definition (Common Use Web Services). Visitors at PTE will be able to test this service for themselves.


Photo Tour – Sears 2015 Interactive In-Store Displays

Sears 2015 Interactive In-Store Displays

Last week I took a walking tour of the local Sears.  My tour was thru appliances and the main crux was to look at all the tablet information stations mounted on the appliances. The tablets are 7 inch Android designed and manufactured by CTS (Connected Technology Solutions).  Sears has installed around 10,000 of these units. This weekend I’ll stop by the merchandise pickup.

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More Information Links

The philosophy of great customer service | Derek Sivers

Customer Service

CD Baby had lots of powerful well-funded competitors, but after a few years they were all but gone, and they dominated that niche of selling independent music. 150,000 musicians, 2 million music-buying customers, $139 million in revenue, $83 million paid directly to musicians.  How did they do it?


Client Care  (not Customer Service). Be available, be generous.  What would do if Paul McCartney called in? Every one is Paul McCartney.