Think about the last time you went to a store or restaurant and had terrible service. You probably walked out of the place in a bad mood, vowed never to return, and then ripped the company on Twitter once you got home.
While that last one sounds a bit extreme, it happens pretty frequently in today’s world. A company’s reputation is constantly at risk of being taken down by its own reputation, whether that be a ride that kept breaking down or a burger that wasn’t fully cooked, people will know when someone has dropped the ball.
It’s the same for those working in the medical profession, except you don’t run the risk of burning someone’s food or telling kids they’re not tall enough to ride.
You’re dealing with people’s lives.
Customer service plays an important role in many aspects of a medical practice’s day-to-day operations. Whether it’s the moment a patient walks through the door, or when placing a call to confirm appointments, the amount of effort you put toward the customer experience says a lot about the care you provide. You want patients to feel good about upcoming appointments or like they have someone on their team on a day that could be very trying for them.
When medical practices fail to meet these levels of service, they reinforce the popular misconception that doctors want patients in and out of their offices quickly or that hospitals only wish to make money off patients any way they can. As with any organization today, your practice’s reputation is then at risk, and it only takes a few bad reviews of your services posted online to start making some serious dents. Yearly discussions about funding, budgets, and staffing will be marred by talks of miscommunication, inefficient follow-up procedures, and high-profile incidents. When these issues become constant, it’s bad news for that medical practice.
Healthcare is not free, it’s an agreement between the provider and patient. People are paying for the care you provide. If we think of care as a product, then even the most basic knowledge of sales will tell us that demonstrating the “value” of that product is what will keep patients coming back time and again. This idea that patients will show up anyway doesn’t hold water when you consider the general population’s attitude towards health insurance and the cost of care. People will live in pain or let a condition go untreated because they simply do not like the hospital or feel like the bills would be worse than their current situation. Hospitals attempting to collect payments are sent to voicemail daily since patients don’t want to talk about their situation or feel as though there’s nothing that can be done on the other end.
When your patients are faced with a decision to make an appointment or go to the hospital you want their faith in you to outweigh any costs or reservations they have about receiving your care. This is where your practice can excel, in comforting the minds of current, past, and future patients.