Satisfied patients are at the core of any healthcare facility or medical office. It’s those patients who trust you enough to keep coming back again and again. These loyal customers are also your sales people, recommending your practice to friends and family.
It is important to cultivate positive relationships with patients to turn them into loyal patients. After all, these same patients can spread negative news about your practice from a horrible experience as easy as they can praise your medical office.
The key to enhancing customer loyalty is through relationship-building. While this sounds like a nice mantra that is easier said than done, there are steps you can take to show your devotion to your patients.
- Build your brand. Your branding is more than a logo, it’s what your company is known for. Focus on what your medical office does differently than others.
- Customer feedback. Provide patients with regular opportunities to voice their concerns, to vent their complaints and praise your office for a pleasant visit. Listen to what patients say, even if it is negative. While surveys can seem impersonal and some patients may be bothered or annoyed by their inconvenience, surveys on the whole show that your medical office provides excellent patient experiences and therefore, be willing to make any and all possible changes to make those experiences possible.
- Let consumers know what you are doing for them. Patients and doctors know that they are responsible for treating patient’s immediate medical concerns and issues. Besides resolving the immediate health problem, doctors and staff should clearly inform patients of how their medical office can also help them with future medical needs.
- Stop giving off the air of indifference. If you want to stem patient dissatisfaction, stop giving off cues of indifference and uncaring. Nurses rushing past patients in the hallway, playing multiple radio stations in adjacent waiting rooms, and having vending machines that are out of order can all lower the patient experience and make patients feel inferior. Take steps to reduce this such as investing in a medical office answering service.
- Experience your medical office the way your patients do. Take a tour with someone who doesn’t know the facility well. You’ll be surprised with what you may find. Your signs may be confusing or outdated, the entry may be difficult for someone with crutches or the parking is too tight.
- Get every employee thinking about purpose, not just functions. It can be easy for everyone to get bored with their jobs and think it is only a means to pay the bills. This negative attitude of work leads to unhappy employees and poor-quality, non-productive work. Your doctor’s office can’t afford either of these bad habits.
- Get into the practice of saying “sorry.” Nobody likes to take blame or admit fault. If you’re in the medical field, you’re in the customer service field. Everyone on your staff needs to put aside their pride and get into the habit of saying they’re sincerely “sorry.” The humble attitude also needs to filter into the interactions your staff has with each other as well. This will rid much if the blame, miscommunication and decisiveness that is common in doctor’s offices.
- Train every employee how to handle patient concern. The accountant needs to be able to treat every complaint or concern empathy and attentiveness as much as the nurses do. Something simple as finding the right person to properly address a concern can go miles with a patient. Consider a doctor’s answering service for patients to communicate directly with their doctor.
- Be willing to change the system. While a friendly face at the reception desk and attentive nurses will make patients feel welcomed, long-term patient satisfaction will ultimately hinge on how efficient and stress-free your systems of operation are. Don’t be afraid to change some things, you’re your doctor phone system or scheduling system, if they will make the patient experience better.
- Use other industries as benchmarks, not the healthcare industry. Comparing your medical office to the one down the street or being content that you better serve patients than the hospital in the next town is not enough. Your patients expect more. Instead of comparing your medical office to others, look and mimic industries that rely on customer service, like travel, hospitality and retail.
A smoothly run doctor’s office that is committed to building positive relationships and experiences is more likely to build strong customer loyalty. No More Phone Tag has a variety of automated medical answering systems to help your medical office achieve patient loyalty. Sign up for a FREE 14 day trial today to find out why 9 out of 10 doctors choose No More Phone Tag!