Running your own medical practice is no walk in the park. You must ensure your patients receive the best possible care, run your day-to-day business, and develop marketing campaigns. And now you also have to rethink your patient customer service delivery. With this quick-and-easy guide, you’ll have nothing to worry about.
What is the importance of customer service in healthcare?
Studies have found that while 58% of Americans will switch providers when receiving bad service, 78% will continue doing business with a company even after a mistake as long as the customer service is good. Moreover, 94% will recommend a company when receiving stellar customer service, and 65% said they’d pay more if great customer service is guaranteed.
From this, it’s clear that whether you have a health and wellness centre or a pain management practice, delivering great patient customer service could grow your business’s revenue and improve your marketing strategy’s performance.
But more than just figures, good patient customer service can make your patients feel more confident in your care, reduce stress for both parties, and boost patients’ trust in your practice.
So, what does medical customer service actually look like?
Customer service is more than just the “product” you deliver; it’s about the connection you make with your patients. It includes all customer touchpoints, from the first time they see your website (or hear about your service) until after their last appointment.
Why is patient customer service important to patients?
It’s important to remember that in most cases, when a patient interacts with your services, something bad happens to them more often than not. Meaning, they would rather not be there, but also that they might be scared, anxious, or frustrated. These are strong emotions that can be perpetuated by poor service delivery.
Most importantly, your patients are just people. And all people want to be treated with respect, dignity, and kindness.
What can you do to improve your patient customer service?
There are plenty of things that you can do, but these are the easiest to implement.
Adapt your approach
It might not always be easy to do, but speak to your patients in a friendly manner. Be courteous, at the very least. By keeping your cool and calm when someone is frustrated, you’ll be better able to defuse the situation.
Change your language
Very few people understand medical jargon and complex terms. When speaking with your patients, stick to plain language as much as possible. If everyone can understand each other, the chance of a misunderstanding is severely lower.
Give your patients a chance to speak and voice their concerns. When listening to them, give them your full attention, don’t multi-task or listen with the intent to answer. Hear their concerns. Not only will this make them feel valued and improve their trust in you, but it will also decrease misunderstandings and frustrations.
Whether good, bad, or simply a query, reply to all your messages as soon as possible. Make sure to look at all your contact points – your Google Business profile, social media, customer review sites, and your work inbox. Getting back to people makes them feel heard and helps build a human connection.
Improve what you have
This will take some time but will make a world of difference. Look through your contact points and try to find ways to improve them. You should also review patient feedback to see if there is a general theme of what you can do better. It might be something like sending a reminder notice before appointments, to something more complex like adding a bot to your website.
Keep your promises
If you say you’ll do something, follow through and ensure it gets done. The quicker, within reason, the better. This also applies to the time spent in your waiting room. Yes, things can come up, but if you double-booked them for an 11 am appointment and only saw them at noon, what else are you dishonest about?
Ask for help
There is no reason for you to do everything yourself. Moreover, you don’t have the time to do everything in your business, let alone figure out how everything works. You can also bring in a specialist to teach your team how to improve their patient customer service.
Trust the machines
There are plenty of relationship management software options on the market, and these programmes can both save you time and improve your customer service delivery tenfold.
An improved patient customer service journey leads to happy customers, which translates into a higher return on investment. So, why not start implementing these 8 steps today?