Tele-nutrition: Maximizing the Client Experience
By RDBA Executive Director, Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Just as consumers have gotten more comfortable with online grocery shopping, their ease with tele-health appointments has also increased. As use of technology for health care visits has grown exponentially, opportunities to perfect the consumer experience during these sessions remains. If your retail health and wellbeing services include tele-nutrition consider these suggestions for overcoming common client complaints.
Tackle Technology. One of the most common user complaints about telehealth appointments is technology glitches. If just setting up telehealth services at your retailer, consider the user experience first when making system decisions. Understand your target market and their technology use and experience. An older population, for example, may be less comfortable with more advanced systems. Younger generations may be participating from their phone vs. a computer. For existing programs, revisit the user instructions you provide to clients, ensuring they are user friendly and easy to follow. Have FAQs written and available that address common user issues.
Address Cost Early. To prevent clients from feeling stressed throughout the tele-nutrition engagement, address costs and reimbursement at the beginning of the session. Even if this information is addressed in your promotional materials, reiterating it at the start of a session will put your client at ease.
Explain the process. While consumers know what to expect in a visit to a health clinic, they may be new to telehealth. Take a few minutes at the beginning of the first meeting to explain how your process works as well as the flow of the session so the client has clear expectations. Be sure to address confidentiality and information security in your comments.
Make that human connection. A key concern by health care providers and consumers alike related to telehealth vs. in-person consults is the feeling of a human connection. The most impactful way to create this connection is through eye contact, which is often higher computer-to-computer than it is in person. Asking a simple client-centered question like “how are you doing?” or “what’s new in your world?” goes a long way to making the individual feel like they are talking to a live person and not a computer.
Build trust. Establishing trust with clients in a virtual world is definitely different than with live visits. Listening empathetically goes a long way to building trust with you as the health care provider focusing intently on what the client tells you and repeating key points in his/her language to convey your understanding. During in-person shopper engagements, you can show empathy with a sympathetic face or maybe a small appropriate touch; in a virtual visit you can verbalize that empathy acknowledging the client’s feelings about a situation or condition and stressing your role in working together to make positive progress.
Even if your services don’t include tele-nutrition appointments, these tips can be beneficial to make any digital or virtual shopper engagement more impactful, building loyalty and repeat service use.