Great customer service is vital to the success of every business. But for medical practices, providing great service might be the MOST important thing.
As a medical practice, your patients look to you to help guide them towards a healthier life. This requires a lot of trust on behalf of your patients.
If a patient believes that you cannot provide great or even basic customer service, then the chances of them trusting your practice and becoming a repeat or loyal patient becomes very slim. Furthermore, unhappy patients are more likely to tell their friends and family of any negative experience, which could give your practice a poor reputation.
When you work to create an exceptional patient experience, you have a better chance of developing long-lasting relationships with your patients. Relationships that will most likely result in more referrals and an increase in revenue.
Let’s look at specific actions you can take to great a great customer experience and how each action will benefit not only your patients, but your practice as well:
- Map the Patient Experience – Mapping the patient experience is when you plan out how every interaction with a patient should go. This goes from scheduling an appointment, to reminders, to when they arrive for the appointment, through the actual appointment, and to any follow up. Mapping the experience ensures you are intentional with how you expect your patients to be treated and the experience you want them to have.
- Benefit for the Patient – They feel taken care of and are more likely to trust you.
- Benefit for your Practice – Your employees better understand what is expected of them because you have outlined the expectations, which sets them up for success.
- Value Your Patients’ Time – We have all had appointments where someone is late or doesn’t show up at all. If it happens once, or even twice, we can easily dismiss this as a part of life. However, if it happens repeatedly, then you begin to feel like you and your time are not being respected. Value your patient’s time by remaining on schedule, and in the event that delay or rescheduling needs to happen, be open with communication.
- Benefit for the Patient – Most patients will understand if there is a change in schedule so long as you communicate with them. Keeping an open line of communication makes them feel respected.
- Benefit for your Practice – You begin to solidify a reputation for caring not just for the health of your patients, but also for their time. This is another way to build trust.
- Make Billing Easy – We have written blogs about making billing easier for your patients, so we won’t go into detail here. The key is to make sure your patients understand the billing process. This can include clearly stating your billing policy, checking for pre-authorization, and helping them understand any insurance issues.
- Benefit for the Patient – Your patients will feel confident they understand your billing procedures, which will allow them to focus on their health needs.
- Benefit for your Practice – This is yet another trust building exercise. If your patients are able to focus on their health instead of worrying about billing issues, their trust in your practice will deepen.
- Ask for Feedback – It is easy to think that we are doing a good job providing excellent customer service. However, the only way to truly know is to actually ask your patients. Take time, maybe twice a year, to gauge customer satisfaction by sending out a short survey to your patients to see how you are doing.
- Benefit for the Patient – A survey gives patients a voice to express any concerns they might have.
- Benefit for your practice – You will have the opportunity to understand exactly how your patients feel about the service they are receiving. If any issues arise, it gives you the chance to make improvements.
- Admit Your Mistakes – Mistakes happen. Sometimes a patient gets double booked or a wrong code is applied and a claim is denied. These aren’t malicious; we all make mistakes. The best policy is to admit it, apologize, and do your best to ensure it does not happen again.
- Benefit for the Patient – Most patients will understand that mistakes happen and will appreciate your candor. The most important thing for them is that steps are taken to correct the mistake.
- Benefit for your Practice – Every mistake is an opportunity to improve. When a mistake is made, get to the root cause and see what can be done to improve the process so you can avoid future mistakes.
Creating an exceptional patient experience makes people feel important and gives them confidence that your practice is what is best for their long-term health needs. The result will be patients who will remain loyal while also recommending you to their friends and family, which will have a positive impact on your revenue cycle.