5 Keys To Healthcare Signage + Pro Tips for a Better Customer Service Experience

May 2019


We’ve all been there or will be at some point, rushing to the hospital after a call that a loved one has been admitted. Your only concern is getting to that loved one to support them and ease your worries.

Just over a year ago, I was rushing to the hospital on a Saturday morning after a call that my father, who was visiting from out of town, had a heart attack. By the time I arrived my sister and mother were already outside the procedure room. I was told there would be a chaplain waiting for me to escort me to them. Just the call was worrisome enough, but to have the chaplain meet me made me even a little more nervous (we're also Catholic).

My husband dropped me off at the Emergency entrance, as directed, I immediately found the chaplain and delivered me to my family. I was SO fortunate for the escort as it would’ve been impossible to find on my own.

He's doing great, by the way, and received his Quilt of Valor this past Memorial Day.

Globally 54% of all consumers say that they have higher customer service expectations than they did just one year ago.


Signage is only one component to the customer experience, we know. But the healthcare and senior living markets are competitive, online ratings and reviews and word-of-mouth references are based on customer service. People make decisions based on their experience and we all need to stay ahead.

Your wayfinding system must act as your first customer relations contact point, extending a welcoming hand and helping to alleviate the mental stress that is often present when traveling through the hospital campus.

No sign is going to replace a real person taking the time to escort nervous family members. But you must get your visitors and guests to the correct location to meet the escort, make an appointment, or check-in for a procedure.

96% of consumers globally say customer service is an important factor in their choice of loyalty to a brand.


5 Keys To Healthcare Signage + Pro Tips for a Better Customer Service Experience

1. Approach. Enter. Find. Placement of signs should be based on decision points along circulation pathways. Think of message sequencing as bread crumbs that lead you to your destination.

👉🏻Pro Tip: Sketch out a circulation plan. Mark out the entry and exit points, public corridors, and key destinations, then review at what points visitors are faced with a decision.

2. Sign for the majority. What are the busiest departments that have the most first time visitors? Where do guests check in? Prioritize communication on primary, secondary and tertiary destinations.

👉🏻Pro Tip: Use your customer service representatives to poll or tally questions for a period of time to understand the biggest questions, issues, and then develop solutions to accommodate.

3. Use simple terms. No jargon, technical words or fancy names. Talk with individual departments and the words they use with their patients. Do they say X-Ray or Radiology when the appointment is made? Make sure this is consistent. You can use proper or donor names at the destination, but signage should be basic and straight-forward common language.

👉🏻Pro Tip: Bring in outsiders and non-professionals to find out their understanding of terms.

4. Do not use paper or create temporary signage. You do not want to over stimulate people in a space, especially in a high stress environment.

👉🏻Pro Tip: Do not make signs because one person suggests it. Don’t sign for anomalies, and don't sign for employees. Employees can be trained. Signage is for visitors.

5. Less is best. Too much information on a sign (or multiple signs) lead a viewer to tune out and walk right on by. Messaging should be limited enough to comprehend as you are approaching and walking past (no stopping).

👉🏻Pro Tip: Train employees to be on the lookout for lost individuals and know where departments are. When people are in stressful or confusing environments they will look for a friendly face to help them with directions. Always offer that level of customer service.

It is tricky, but simplicity and logic help to ease the strain.

Remember: You must get your visitors and guests to the correct location to meet the escort, make an appointment, or check-in for a procedure.

Want to learn more? Contact your favorite Latitude Expert, or find Your Expert here.

Have a quick question? Email our Wayfinding guru, Kristin.

About Our Wayfinding Guru:

Kristin Adkins knows her stuff. One meeting and you'll know it too. With 26 years of experience in signage with the Latitude Signage + Design, Latimer Group she is our "go-to" for all things sign code, wayfinding, and design-build. There's not many that can plan and design the signs for a hospital with 5 decades of additions like this one can.

About the Author:

Kelly Sheldon O'Byrne is the Director of Marketing for Latitude Signage + Design, Latimer Group. She joined the Latimer Group sales team from 2007 to 2013. She thought the grass might be greener and left to join a marketing studio. But in 2017, unable to shake the 'sign-bug' (or maybe like a bad penny?) she re-joined Latitude.

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