We’ve written before about a few ways that practices can attract new patients through a well thought out marketing program, but once you’ve got them to come in for a visit, now what? Your marketing efforts are for not if you can’t turn a one-time visitor into a loyal fan. The key to keeping patients coming back is simple, but not easy. It’s nothing less than outstanding customer service.
The entire experience matters
Don’t be fooled by the notion that all that matters is the patient’s interaction with the provider. Sure, if the provider is a genius with a very particular specialty, a patient might be willing to put up with poor service in the name of a better health outcome, but in most cases, patients have many choices. Every interaction with a member of your staff, whether on the phone, in person or via email makes a difference. How user friendly is your website? How proactive is your team about appointment reminders.? How long do patients have to wait to get an appointment? How long do they spend in the waiting room? All of this goes into their experience as a whole. Good customer service addresses it all.
Hire and empower a great team
Because every interaction makes a difference, it is essential for providers to surround themselves with people who care passionately about customer service. They should have the right tools to serve customers efficiently and correctly. Don’t assume that everyone understands what goes into creating a great experience. Training is essential to assuring that the right standards are put in place and maintained.
Give the people what they want
These days, there are a number of new options for patients seeking care. Retail health clinics are popping up all over the place, and there are an increasing number of on-line options. Today’s consumers value convenience and flexibility in everything. Are your customers interested in new channels of care delivery like video visits? If so, it makes sense to incorporate that offering into your practice so that you can give your customer the type of service they want before someone else does.
Your number one job is delivering competent, high-quality health care to your patients, but your business also depends on providing outstanding service to your customers. They go hand in hand in building a base of fans who will continue coming to your practice and encourage their friends and family to do the same.