GHP January 2016

ghp January 2016 | 13 innovation & technology What Can Healthcare Learn About Patient Experience Tools from Travel and ECommerce? Most feedback that you read on the internet is collected via an ‘open’ system for anyone who wants to leave feed- back about a product, service or business. This system is also ‘open’ to non-customers leaving reviews for the wrong reasons. In the case of hotels, the reviews you read could have been left by a disgruntled ex-member of staff, the manager of the hotel next door, or the helpful friends and family of the hotel owner themselves. The LA Times reported that up to 40% of all online hotel reviews are fake and that around 15% have been paid for by the hotels themselves in attempts to manipulate their online reputations. In November 2015, Amazon famously issued legal proceedings against 1,114 people who advertised their services as ‘writing ‘fake’ Amazon reviews’. Lots of small businesses have been unfairly damaged by malicious fake reviews. Equally, fake reviews can lead consumers into making choices or purchases that they otherwise would not have made. The way in which feedback is collected has a dramat- ic effect on it’s quality. Open review sites are just the tip of the iceberg; some businesses offer incentives for positive feedback, some hand out ‘feedback cards’ to selected customers only, and as Amazon and Trip Advisor discovered, others will simply pay companies to write fake positive reviews. It’s increasingly common to be asked for your feedback by a member of staff who stands over you while you complete the survey on an iPad, or to be phoned up and asked to complete a telephone survey. Feedback collected in person can often be 20% more positive than feedback collected remotely, and feed- back collected by telephone is said to be in the region of 30% more positive. Some businesses are working hard to try to improve online review collection. They ask customers to register with a site before they can leave feedback, and some companies print a unique number on their receipts which customers need in order to leave a review on their website. However even if the custom- ers are verified and the feedback collected off-site, an open review system is still open to significant bias. When compared to customer surveys businesses listed on an open review site have 3 times more negative re- views and 35% fewer positive reviews. A likely cause of this bias is that in general, only people with extremes of opinion, Mr Angry or Mrs Extremely Happy will actively seek out a place to leave their feedback. The vast ma- jority of customers who are quite happy with the service would be more than happy to provide feedback if asked, but do not go looking online for a place to do this. Closed Review Systems From hotels to online retailers, the future of customer reviews is being led by software providers who use ‘closed feedback’ software to survey every customer of a business by email or text message. This type of proactive review collection can involve a little more ad- ministration but is clearly the next step away from the passive systems of open review sites. Even TripAdvisor is encouraging hotels to adopt it’s own version of a closed review system. The feedback cannot be filtered by businesses but they do have the ability to respond to reviews, to say thank you or to apologise and offer to put things right. The interactions between the customer and the trader are often made public for all to see, so that potential customers can see how a trader conducts themselves when a problem occurs. If a business has strong cus- tomer service, this is a great place to showcase it. Because every customer is surveyed, they still get the ex- tremes of opinion, but they also get lots of other feedback too with the average response rate across eCommerce sites being above 15%. Where the purchase is consid- Trip Advisor celebrates it’s 16th birthday next month and Amazon sold their very first book almost 21 years ago. Mark Sadler, founder of Hootvox, considers how customer feedback has evolved and asks what are the impli- cations for healthcare?