Great customer/patient service is the cornerstone of any successful business. Healthcare is no exception. In fact, it may be even more critical for your practice to deliver excellent customer service now more than ever. Customer service extends beyond the medical care provided. It includes every interaction your patient has with the practice whether it be with your doctors, nurses, techs, schedulers, or front desk team. Every experience influences how your patient views the care they have received.
Here are 5 tips to set your practice up for a 5-star review every time.
5 Reasons Great Patient Service Matters
In preparing for this topic we conducted a lot of research. We looked at a variety of industries, different authorities on the topic, and even did a little social research. The themes that were consistent across all these sources came down to five things:
- Great customer service builds loyalty – Your customers are your most valuable asset. You want and need repeat customers to sustain your business. If customers know that their needs are important to you, they will stick with you. Treat them poorly and they will go to your competitor.
- Great customer service brings in more money – A totally satisfied customer contributes 2.6 times as much revenue as a somewhat satisfied customer, and 14 times as much revenue as a somewhat dissatisfied customer. Happy customers buy more.
- Great customers service means more referrals – Providing quality customer service makes customers happy – which can result in recommendations and referrals to their colleagues, family, friends, and other connections.
- Great customer service means happier employees – Knowing that their work is appreciated helps keep staff members content. Happy team members stick with your business.
- Great customer service helps your business become even greater – By creating a healthy relationship with your customers you can create a feedback loop where your customers are actively telling you how they view your business, what they like, and where they think improvements are needed.
These same tenets hold true for your practice.
One of the reasons you went into healthcare whether you are a doctor, nurse, or practice administrator was to help patients achieve healthier outcomes. The doctor [practice]-patient relationship is the foundation of great clinical care. If that relationship is strong, it can lead to more patient engagement and better health outcomes. Great customer service is the foundation to developing that strong doctor-patient relationship.
When healthcare is treated like any other paid service, a happy patient will buy more – meaning they will come in for regular visits and actively seek your services when they are needed.
Happy patients will promote or refer your practice to others. They might bring in more of their family members but also recommend you to coworkers, friends, and post recommendations on social media bringing in more business for your practice.
Conversely, an unhappy patient won’t stick with you. They will move along to a new doctor or practice based on a poor experience – whether it is with the doctor or the support staff. That’s important to note – your entire team contributes to the customer experience journey. On bad apple can spoil the bunch.
Don’t discount the happiness of your staff. It matters. When patient walks into your office it’s not solely the medical care that keeps them coming back. It’s your team. The combination of great care and a great staff will keep your patients coming back appointment after appointment. If you have poor customer service, that is going to trickle down to your team members. And unhappy staff members will eventually leave your practice.
By creating a feedback loop with your patients, you can become stronger together. By using surveys practices can identify areas that they thought were working well but are not in the eyes of the patient. You can uncover patients that are unhappy with their care, home in on why, and work with them toward a solution – instead of having them abandon your practice.
Happy patients connected patients will stick with your practice – and that is why great customer service matters.
Want to learn how your practice can deliver great customer service? Watch our Webinar Providing Great Customer (Patient) Service: Why It’s So Important.