The importance of exceptional customer service should never be underestimated, says Jana Green
Great communication with patients – who really are customers in need of medical care – has so many pluses. It can build your business, it can make it very popular and importantly, it can save you a lot of money and effort.
When I mentor and coach clients I always spend a lot of time talking about customer service or even better, customer experience. And you will see why:
• Four seconds – that is how long it takes customers to make up their mind about a person/company
• 39 seconds – people made up their mind completely about a person/company
• It is 14 times easier to sell to existing customers than to find new ones
• 60% of customers have higher customer service expectations now than they did 12 months ago
• 91% dissatisfied customers do not complain about the service they were given, they simply go elsewhere
I am sure you can understand now why the proper communication with your customers is absolutely key to your practice. To ensure great customer service it is important to take into consideration when it actually starts taking place. And it is way before you may think.
Communication before attending appointment
• Communication and customer service starts with the customer being able to find you, find your telephone number and address easily and also being able to get through to you.
• Then it is very important when they call you how you make them feel. Is it an abrupt ‘we are very busy, what do you need’ conversation or is it ‘we are so happy you called us, we would love to help you, please come and see us’ sort of conversation?
• Are you being helpful on the phone? Do you sound optimistic, trying to tend to all their wishes? Or is it a series of nos…
• Can you fit them in when they need to see you, in a short time or do they have to wait for ages thinking they need to call someone else?
• Do you explain nicely what is going to happen when they arrive, do you make them feel calm, do you ask if they know how to get to you, do you say ‘if you need anything else, please, do not hesitate calling us’?
Remember, your success depends on your attitude, politeness and kindness from the first second.
Communication when attending appointment
• When they arrive do you greet them nicely, with a smile, offer them water and tell them they will be attended to shortly?
• Do you keep informing them when it is their turn to see you while they are in your waiting room?
• When they enter your surgery, do you personally greet them, shake their hands, introduce yourself and offer them a seat politely?
• Do you explain to them in plain, non jargon language what you will perform on them?
• When you are done with a check up, do you explain exactly what will follow?
• Do you calm them down and make them feel safe – because lots of your customers will be filled with fears and you need to show empathy to win them over?
• Do you ask them to tell you immediately if they feel uncomfortable or unwell and do you offer to stop at any time they wish?
• When you are finished, do you explain what you have done and what the next steps are?
• Do you thank them for choosing you over competition and do you wish them either lovely day or fast recovery?
• Do you ask them to call you immediately if there are any problems after the procedure?
It is your chance to make them feel like they can trust you with their life. A chance to treat them wonderfully and at the same time make sure they will never dream of going to anyone else. And making sure they will tell everyone they know how great you are. Because these recommendations are your cheapest marketing strategy.
So I have two questions for you:
1. When is the last time you asked your customers how you make them feel and how satisfied they are with your services?
2. Have you consistently and constantly trained your staff to treat your customers in such a way that they almost cannot wait to come and see you again?
The point of these questions is to constantly evolve your customer service, to retain customers, to spend as little money and effort possible finding new ones, to have a great reputation and simply make your practice a huge success.
Now you may feel a bit overwhelmed. It is a lot to take on. But I have some good news for you. There are coaches and mentors who can give you advice, train your staff, do all the research for you, evaluate it and come up with strategic plans which are guaranteed to improve both your business and financial results. All you need to do is pick up the phone and get in touch. Wishing you all the success.