Are You Providing Your Patients with Excellent Customer Service?


Happy Patients, Successful ClinicNorth Americans, Canadians especially, are lucky. We encounter good customer service virtually everywhere we go. The problem with this however, is that we’ve grown to expect it. We’re more likely to tell someone about a horrible experience than a good one because good service no longer leaves a lasting impression. Think about it, when was the last time you thought, “Jeez, I can’t believe how great the customer service was there!”

In his book “What Customers Really Really Want”, Scott Mckain identified that good customer service is now expected, and in order to “amaze” customers and keep them loyal, having good and even great customer service is no longer enough. What kind of service are you providing your patients with? Are you amazing them?

Surprisingly, wowing your patients isn’t all that hard to do. Here are a few customer services tips that are sure to make a great lasting impression:

1) Remember, a patient is for life. Patients are important; they are what keep your business alive. When it comes to great customer service it’s important to develop and maintain all relationship with your patients. After all, it’s 6 times more expensive to find a new patient than to keep an existing one.

2) First impressions count. When it comes to customer service, image matters. The first time a patient visits your website or walks into your office they are deciding whether they’ll come back again. I mean, we’ve all vowed never to return to a certain store or restaurant because of a disgusting bathroom at one point or another. Your clinic should be welcoming, clean and friendly at all times! Even if they are long time customers, it only takes one poor experience to change your patient’s perception of you and your clinic, that’s why consistency is so important.

3) Make it a system. Verbalize how you would like each person to feel as they walk through the door or stumble across your site, and write it down. Figure out what you can do to make these feelings a reality and put them into place. Consistency is key.

4) Train every team member. Like I said before, consistency is key. If all team members are trained and following the same scripts, the experience should be the same for everyone who walks through the door. Bad customer service usually occurs when a staff member is unequipped to deal with what is being asked of them. Also, be picky when hiring staff that will be directly interacting with your clientele. Scripts certainly help, but they can only do so much. The person greeting your clients should be someone who can adapt to different personalities and always have a smile on their face.

5) Hold regular staff meetings and stick with them. Again, if everyone is on the same page the window of error is dramatically decreased. Frequent training sessions will ensure that all staff members are up to date. There’s nothing more off-putting than being told one thing by one staff member and something completely different from another.

6) Say thank you. When a patient pays for a service or product ensure that thank you is being said. Remember, their support is what keeps your business alive. Be grateful and invite them to come back again.

7) Go the extra mile. What can you do to go that extra mile? This differs depending on your business but think of these examples:
• The massage therapist that came in on a weekend because a client had injured himself or herself.
• The chiropractic office that stayed open 20 minutes longer because a patient really needed care but was struck in traffic.
• The coffee shop employee who ran after a customer who forgot their scarf.
• The waiter who took the time to go over the menu with your child, who refused to let you help him.

8) Have a “critical non-essential” delivered at every time. What is a critical non-essential? It’s something that a company includes at every sale for no cost, something that is unexpected and really wows the customer. For example:
• A health store that provides patients with a branded shaker cup with every protein powder purchase.
• A mechanic shop that cleans every car inside and out with EVERY service.
• A restaurant that not only has a mint at the end of the meal but a decadent chocolate wafer that is almost like a dessert in itself.
• A relator that sends a welcome basket to their client the day they take possession of their new house.
• A spa that provides their clients with beauty sample after every service.
• A construction company that sends their clients a framed collage of the building while it was being constructed.

9) Follow up. Make sure your patient is happy with their experience. If they haven’t been into see you in a while call them, e-mail them, or do whatever it is you have to do to let them know that you are there to support them on their journey to real health.

To summarize, the key to amazing customer service is in the creation of a system that consistently ensures an extraordinary customer experience. It’s creating relationships with your customers so that they feel appreciated. In doing so, you not only keep them coming back but also impress them so much so that they’ll becoming a raving fan. It’s important to remember that when it comes to advertising there is nothing more valuable than good word of mouth.

What kind of things does your clinic do to go the extra mile? Share your thoughts below, and feel free to pass this information along.

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  • Dr. Nathalie Beauchamp
  • Orleans, Ontario – Canada
  • Tel. 613-837-2883
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