Are your patients just another statistic?
31st January 2018
This month’s article is inspired by the poor customer experience I recently experienced. You may have heard the words ‘either do something about it or stop complaining’ come out of my mouth before so I will walk my talk and share lessons to take away rather than rant on about it.
Whilst I am sure you all provide a much better patient experience than the example that prompted this article, perhaps there are still areas that you can be even better at than you are today and provide your patients with a wow experience in 2018. The world is developing at such a fast pace it’s easy for consumers to become just another statistic buried in your database. So, what can we learn to help our patients not feel like just another statistic?
What don’t you want patients to be saying about you?
We spend a lot of time getting our clients to reflect on the values and brand of their practice. We get clients to do an exercise where they come up with words that they would love patients and colleagues to say about them.
For example: ‘caring’; ‘knowledgeable’; ‘innovative’; ‘relaxed’…The words need to be those that you truly want to be true of the experience you offer your patient and team.
Perhaps one needs to also think about the words you don’t want to come to patients’, potential patients’ and team members’ minds when they see or experience anything to do with your practice.
There are some obvious ones like ‘unethical’ and ‘dishonest’ but what are the other words which might come to mind because your customer service was just a little off that day? ‘a bit unprofessional’; ‘rushed’; ‘complicated’; ‘okay’; ‘disappointing’; ‘confusing’
Frustration is a great source of innovation and improvement
I am sure you have been in a situation where you get frustrated as a consumer and you might find yourself thinking of a few solutions that the company could implement to reduce or eliminate their customer or prospective customer’s frustration.
Perhaps when standing in long queues in a supermarket and there are loads of other counters unmanned and closed or there is one poor bloke trying to assist all the ‘self-check out’ customers.
Gosh…I stand there thinking, get more staff at busy times! Or how about getting Jack leaning against the help desk chatting to Jill, more engaged in working as a team and jumping in to help…and so we go on in our mind as we not so patiently wait…
So, what might be frustrating your patients or prospective patients and how can you make changes that will enhance the experience but not break the bank?
Assess your entire patient journey
Your patients’ experience consists of way more than the treatment. Many of our clients tell us that they sometimes think their patients come in to see the receptionist and have a chat rather than for the actual treatment.
Map out all the steps in the journey your patient takes and think about what you don’t want patients to be saying at every step and what might frustrate them.
What could you change to wow your patients?
Show your patients that you care, that you REALLY care
There is care and there is care and the biggest gap that we see in patient care is patients who have not rebooked, who cancel or who DNA and are never followed up. And when we probe we are often met with the response of ‘we don’t want to bother patients’ or ‘we don’t want to seem pushy’
In our experience when a system has been implemented that patients are followed up on, the majority of patients welcome the call or email as they feel cared for.
If your greater purpose in life is to help people feel better and have a better quality of life then if you believe a patient should have come for their next appointment, doesn’t it go against all your beliefs NOT to follow up with them? When you follow up because you care, that is how it will come across.
Ask for feedback
As the saying goes…’get it from the horse’s mouth’ One of my clients…’Actually’…this train of thought has given me a new client story for this month…read the story below for how beneficial asking for feedback can be.
So, on the topic of asking for feedback…how do you do it? How often do you do it? And most importantly what do you do with the results?