When my brother-in-law was recovering from a series of long and intensely debilitating chemotherapy sessions and struggling to regain his strength, he told me his philosophy: “Every step counts.”
It is not uncommon, in fact it is expected, for chemo patients to experience exhaustion after treatment. But it’s not just exhaustion; according to the American Cancer Society, patients can expect disabling side effects such as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Decreased immune response and resistance to infection
- “Chemo brain” — a condition causing dull senses and inability to concentrate
- Other conditions such as balance issues and neuropathy (damage to nerves, which interrupts signals to the body)
These conditions make regular visits to the hospital necessary. Since driving is usually out of the question, not to mention negotiating the distance between the parking facility and the clinic or hospital, patients must be transported to and picked up from their appointments.
This is one very important reason why hospital valet parking is a vital service.
It’s not surprising that 19 out of the 20 top U.S. cancer hospitals (as determined by the U.S. News & World Report) provide valet parkingservice. There is no doubt that this is an essential aspect of customer service.
Hospital valet parking provides more than just physical ease and stress reduction (patients and caregivers don’t have to worry about how to access the hospital). At one of our healthcare parking facilities, a bulletin board overflows with thank you notes. One grateful patient wrote:
“My heart flows with gratitude to each and every one of you. You have made my journey more comfortable, more bearable and more pleasant in every way.”
With HCAPHS scores evaluating patient satisfaction, concierge service like hospital valet parking and other amenities make a difference to a facility’s bottom line. It is now not at all unusual to find a Starbucks or McDonald’s restaurant in the lobby or a farmer’s market just outside the doors — something that was unthinkable not long ago. Comfort is now a priority as healthcare operators have come to regard patients as customers and consumers. But this approach is not limited to patients; hospitals are also considering the experience of family members and caregivers as they wait in the lobby.
Every touchpoint matters in customer service. Hospitals have made great strides toward improving patient experience (while, not coincidentally, boosting their HCAPHS scores), and valet parking offers an excellent opportunity to give arriving patients and caregivers a pleasant and satisfying customer experience. Valets are the goodwill ambassadors of healthcare facilities, welcoming visitors with friendly, efficient service and letting them know they can relax because they are in good hands.
By Allison Abma, Director, Business Development, Impark Health (USA)