Case study: How customer feedback technology is helping hospitals engage with patients


An insight into how ISS is helping hospital facilities managers to engage with service users


Facility services provider, ISS, provides thousands of hospital patients with their hot meals every day, as well as feeding their visitors and keeping the wards clean. The company wanted to gain honest and detailed feedback from its customers across the three hospital trusts forming the Fulham Road Collaborative (FRC) and brought Customer First Solutions (CFS) on board in August 2012 to help and advise on the best solutions currently available on the market.

The brief

Finding paper surveys a slow and unengaging way of collecting patients’ views, ISS, which employs more than 700 staff across the five sites of the FRC, wanted to radically change the way it collected feedback. The company, which decides everything from what the patients are served for their lunch to how often the toilets are cleaned, needed technology that allowed it to gather a large amount of information, quickly and easily, but most importantly, it wanted to engage patients in a way that made them feel comfortable enough to share their true feelings.


ISS chose to use CFS’s Prism software on seven iPads across the trusts. The portable devices helped staff to move quickly around the hospital and easily engage the patients. By having proper two-way conversations, ISS found patients were more willing to voice their feelings. It was much more effective and environmentally-friendly than leaving a pile of forms at reception.

The user-friendly software was flexible enough for ISS to note patients’ concerns and queries without having to stick to a rigid structure of questions. This allowed honest and open feedback.

The flexibility of the Prism software will also hugely benefit ISS, enabling the iPads to be used for multiple purposes, such as logging dinner orders, which are currently taken using paper forms.

All of the information on the devices could be downloaded and automatically collated into an easy-to-search-and-read format, allowing the ISS team to act on any customer concerns immediately. For example, if a patient mentioned they wanted someone to get rid of the finger prints on the window, the team could have a cleaner on that ward the very same day.


Approximately 700 patients were questioned by ISS between August and December 2012, a 300% increase on the amount of feedback it had previously recorded over a comparable period using paper feedback. The information collected was also far more detailed and highlighted many things that wouldn’t have been touched on if left to patients to manually fill in paper questionnaires.

ISS was pleased to find that the majority of its feedback was positive, however using CFS it identified many issues which it was able to quickly address to improve its services. The company is now planning on increasing the number of staff carrying out the surveys to ensure the cycle of improvement continues and even more patients are engaged in providing expert feedback.

What ISS said

Simon Lau, ISS Healthcare’s patient experience and quality manager, said: “I don’t think words can describe the difference between using CFS and paper systems. The amount of time saved is phenomenal.

“It’s very easy to look at the way your company is operating and think yes all the boxes are ticked, but you don’t actually know that everything is being done to the very highest standards unless you ask and really engage your customers.

“There are no limits to how you use the system. In theory we could adapt it to use for every system we do. There is huge potential in how we can use it across the company.