Create great customer/patient experiences!
Customer service needs to be demystified a little bit and simplified a lot. There are literally hundreds (maybe even more) of different things you can do to demonstrate customer service.
I have simplified it down to this one thing: good customer service is about how you make the other person feel. Maya Angelou says:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
How many times have you been running from one appointment to the next and when you rush in to the operatory, your patient comments, “Wow. You must be really busy today?” The comment is fairly innocent, but think about how that patient must feel as you rush in and rush out of the room.
I completely understand there are those days when you are booked solid and your schedule seems to be stacked against you. I know because I have been there. Making your patients feel important is not a sometime thing. It’s an all-the-time thing, and it’s up to you to show your clients and team what customer service is.
When those moments come up and you catch yourself rushing, here are a couple of things you can do:
- Respond that yes, your office is busy today, but that you plan for these days and leave plenty of time so you’re able to take care of each patient to make sure you’re thorough. This acknowledgment and reassurance will go a long way to leaving your patient feeling good about their visit
- Stop and pause for a few seconds. Transition yourself as described earlier and move on. You can be efficient while you are in their mouth but you need to be attentive and deliberate as you enter and exit the operatory. Don’t rush in and out. That’s the patient’s first and last impression.
Here are a few other ideas we have implemented in our practices that have drastically improved our customer service:
- Smile – Smiling is so simple it is often overlooked. The action of smiling has an effect on your patients and staff and uplifts your mood in the moment. By my estimation the cost-benefit of a smile is about 1:1 Million
- Adjust your tone – The tone of your voice says more about what you’re saying than the words you choose. If you’re tone is anxious, the people around you will feel anxious. People feel calm and confident when you share that tone.
- Meet in the lobby – One activity I have adopted is to meet my patients in the lobby whenever possible and greet them with a bottle of water. This type of reception has a much better impact than walking into the operatory staring at a chart and not even looking up at the patient.
Why you should care
Software Advice reviewed a survey of 817 people to understand how they use on-line review sites to evaluate medical practitioners.[ https://www.softwareadvice.com/resources/how-patients-use-online-reviews/] They reported that 82% of patients use review sites to view or post comments about healthcare staff.
What you should take from this is that your on-line reputation precedes you. What is the current state of your on-line reputation? Is it good, bad or non-existent? In any case, reviews leave a real and tangible affect on the success of your practice and are dependent on your level of customer service.
If that isn’t enough for you, Dentistry IQ reported findings[ http://www.dentistryiq.com/articles/2014/08/how-dental-patients-use-online-reviews.html] about where patients went to review information:
HealthGrades was the most used review website, albeit marginally, Yelp was the most trusted site for reviews of healthcare providers. . Google and RateMDs have also become significant trusted, much-used review sources.
Creating great patient experiences not only increases great reviews and internal referrals, it minimizes the risk of negative reviews.