As we have noted before in previous blogs, the pandemic changed how everyone did business. It could be argued that no other industry was impacted by the pandemic as much as the medical industry has been.
Many practices shut down, others shifted to virtual care and thrived, and some just survived.
Whether your practice thrived or survived, if you are still in business then you deserve a big congratulations.
Now the next challenge of operating in a post-pandemic world awaits.
While it may take some time to understand exactly how factors like technology, cybersecurity, and the potential for future pandemics might impact how you grow your practice, there is one factor that has always remained important: the value of great customer service.
In fact, the pandemic most likely put an even greater emphasis on quality customer service.
The pandemic accelerated the adoption of virtual care in medicine. This means that patients can now get the care they need in a variety of ways. In other words, patients now have options.
If a patient believes they can get better service elsewhere, they may very well decide to leave your practice and go elsewhere.
To grow your practice you have to grow your base of patients. To do this you need to keep your current patients happy while appealing to new ones.
Let’s look at six ways you can provide excellent customer service to grow your practice.
- Make A Great First Impression – Making a great first impression applies to not only new patients but also to what people see when they arrive at your office. Your staff should greet them warmly and get them checked in ASAP and your waiting room should be clean and organized. If possible, provide reading material or access to WiFi. In essence you want your patients to feel welcome and comfortable when going in for a visit.
- Communicate Effectively – Communication is an important part of the customer experience that is often overlooked. Your basic forms of communication should be reminders of appointments or lab/test results. If possible, have multiple methods of communication such as call, text, or email so your patients can be reached by your office in the manner that is best for them.
- Keep Your Promises – This rule is all about expectations. If you tell your patient that you are going to get back to them by a certain time or do something for them, then they will expect that from you. If you fail to live up to that expectation, then your patient will most likely be (rightfully) upset. The key here is to not promise anything that you cannot deliver.
- Own Your Mistakes – Mistakes happen. It could be that you double booked a patient, forgot to get a necessary document, or made some other mistake that humans make. We like to think we can be perfect, but the fact of the matter is that we are not. So when you make a mistake, own it and try to make it better. Some patients will get mad and stay mad, but more often than not a patient will understand and move on.
- Provide Proper Training To Staff – We covered training in a previous blog so we won’t go into much detail here. The bottom line is that if your staff is not trained properly, then all the things we listed above most likely won’t be done which increases the likelihood of your patients having poor experiences.
- Be Responsive to Complaints/Suggestions – At the end of the day your patients want to be treated with respect and dignity. One of the easiest ways you can do this is by acknowledging them when they bring up a complaint or make a suggestion. This does not mean that every complaint or suggestion needs swift action, but a simple and earnest messaging thanking the person for their feedback can go a long way.
Your current and future patients are the lifeblood of your practice. Without your current patients, you wouldn’t have a practice today. Without new patients you most likely will not be able to grow your practice which means you won’t have much of a practice tomorrow. In order to keep your current patients happy and attract new ones, you have to provide excellent customer service. Make your patients believe that they will not get better service anywhere and they will remain loyal for many years to come. As an added bonus, they will most likely recommend you to friends and family.