NPS, or net promoter score, is a customer satisfaction and loyalty measure used as a metric in the urgent care industry because of the retail nature of the business. The challenge with using this measure is that urgent care is such a niche industry that there is no national reporting mechanism for NPS in urgent care. This means there are no benchmarks to use as a measuring stick for individual practices. So how do you know if your practice’s NPS measures up?
While NPS benchmarks don’t exist for the urgent care industry, there are ways to determine whether your scores need improvement. The best place to start is with the data itself because without good data, your NPS is worthless. To determine the integrity of your data, evaluate your process for collecting scores. Are you surveying all of your patients or a random sample? Do you have a statistically significant sample? Can the test results be manipulated; for example, do you use paper surveys that staff can throw out if the responses are negative?
Once you know you’ve got good data, you can start the benchmarking process by comparing your urgent care center’s score with other popular brands and businesses, regardless of industry. For example, is your center more of a Tesla or a Chevy? A Chick-fil-A or a McDonalds? Remember, NPS is a customer satisfaction and loyalty measure, not a health care measure. You’re measuring the likelihood your patients – or your customers – would recommend your center to others. This offers you a pulse on public sentiment of your urgent care center, one of the top metrics you should be tracking to evaluate your clinic’s success.
Once you determine how your center measures up to popular brands, look for trends in your own data. Many urgent care centers experience seasonality in their NPS. Their scores rise during their slow seasons, when providers are less busy and can spend more time with patients, and fall during their busy seasons, when patients are more ill and have to wait longer to receive care. If you’re making efforts to improve your service levels, pay attention to whether those efforts impact your NPS. Identifying trends in your scores will not only help you create benchmarks, it will also help you identify ways to continuously improve your NPS.
If you want to raise your urgent care’s NPS, go straight to the source: your patients. Add a qualitative question to your NPS survey, such as, “why did you give us that score?” Their responses will tell you exactly what you need to do to raise your score. Also, make sure your survey methodology is effective so you’re actually getting data from your patients. Most urgent cares have found that sending a text message survey one hour after discharge is the most effective way to collect NPS data.
And don’t forget to look at your NPS trends. If you’re seeing that seasonal dip in scores, look for ways you can improve your score during your busy season so it levels out with your slow season. Because wait times are the top patient detractor in urgent care, scores do tend to improve in the less busy summer months when patients can be seen faster. Once you have a consistent NPS year-round, set new goals to raise your overall NPS. One way to do this is to tie incentives and bonuses to your center’s NPS to motivate staff to work toward the same goal. Just be careful if you’re considering going in the opposite direction by penalizing providers who fail to obtain NPS goals. Negative consequences tend to encourage people to game the system to avoid penalties. Remember the old adage “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar”? That certainly applies to how you work with staff to achieve a common goal like raising your NPS.
There might not be a national benchmark for NPS in urgent care, but that doesn’t make NPS a worthless metric for your center. You can create your own benchmarks by comparing your center’s NPS to popular brands and by looking for trends in your scores. This will help you figure out how your center measures up and what you need to do to improve your score.