Advocacy That Matters – Insight into HCAHPS Loyalty Scores
By Bo Hansen, Research Consultant (HCAHPS and Other Surveys), HealthStream
Research shows that only customers who rave about you are loyal!
Loyal advocates are passionate about your brand of business or service. They have a powerful bond with your organization based on emotional loyalty—the strongest, and incidentally, the most profitable kind of loyalty there is.
There are degrees and types of satisfaction that impact advocacy and the financial bottom line. For purposes of this blog, we will look at two types of advocacy:
Rational Advocacy… is NOT enough.
Rational advocacy is not enough. These customers are not dissatisfied about anything, but they are just not raving about your service. Customers who are reached on a rational level may be patients whose expectations are being met, for whom tasks are getting done (i.e., medications are given at the right times, IVs are checked, and staff is rounding making sure that patients and vitals are stable and treatments are carried out as ordered). But guess what? These patients ultimately behave much like non-advocates when compared to the patients who are reached on an emotional level! It turns out that you are at risk for losing rational advocates to your competitors. A large percent of these patients may give top box scores of “always” in response to any of the HCAHPS measures, such as the questions about how often nurses treated them with courtesy and respect or listened carefully or how often nurses explained things in a way they could understand. However, in spite of a high percent of top box scores, these rational advocates are not as likely to give the highest score possible in response to the loyalty question that asks how likely they are to recommend the hospital to friends and family as the patients are who have an emotional attachment to the organization.
Emotional Advocacy is the Key.
Customers you reach on an emotional level are passionate about you! Creating an emotional bond means that you provide patients with a heartfelt connection. Not only are tasks being completed to meet the patients’ expectations, but staff connects with patients at an emotional level. For example, when nurses round, they come to the bedside, address the patients by name, hold their hand, make eye contact, and ask questions that demonstrate that they have thoughtfully reviewed the patient’s chart and history. They listen exceptionally well and understand that the patients who are demanding, cranky, and angry are really just frightened. They initiate conversations that address patient fears about their health, their family, their future capabilities, and possible limitations. They seek ways to truly make a difference when patients need it the most. It could mean bringing a birthday cake to a pediatric patient, it could mean a hug, a cup of coffee, or a back rub. Emotional loyalty happens when every customer-facing employee creates an emotional bond or connection with a patient and/or family member by instilling faith and hope, being empathetic, using creative problem solving, and treating patients with dignity and respect.
It is important for an organization to understand that both types of patient advocates may score their patient experience with a high percent of top box scores for all patient care aspects, but only the emotional advocate is likely to give top box scores to the loyalty question. Their decision to advocate for you is based on the emotional experience rather than on an intellectual decision.
Learn More About HealthStream's HCAHPS/Patient Insights Survey.
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