Walking into a healthcare practice for the first time as a new patient or client, you form an instant opinion about the practice if you are an aware and observant person. The carpet is messy, the front desk is cluttered, the receptionist didn’t instantly greet you warmly and make you feel you are in the right place. These are definitely important aspects to the practice that influence the amount of returning business and also referrals from existing clients or patients.
Taking things past that first impression, let’s move into the arena called “service”. It can start even earlier … in other words, from the first phone call wherein the person is testing your staff to see if this is the practice for them. Staff often refer to this person as a “Shopper.” Taking the time to be caring and interested in who they are and what they need, and forming a nice bond or relationship (instead of quoting a price and asking if they would like an appointment) starts everything off on the right foot for Extreme Service.
Looking at this from the consumer’s viewpoint, they feel they are paying their good dollars for perfect service. This does not include rudeness, being left waiting a long time, being ignored. It would not include being ordered about, lack of sympathy or empathy for what they are experiencing, being made to feel unintelligent or small. And so on. They are definitely not paying for those things.
There is another level of exchange where they get exactly what they thought they were paying for … politeness, good manners, caring, full explanations of the required service, well delivered treatment and on time. This would make most clients or patients feel satisfied that they got what they paid for.
Now let’s ramp it up to Extreme Service. What could you do to totally knock the patient or client’s socks off? What could you and your team do to make the whole experience be over-the-top magnificent? By the way, this can be a million small things all in one trip. For example, I have walked out of a dental office with my lipstick smeared (that will happen when someone is diving into your mouth) and none of the staff noticed or brought it to my attention. In another office, the receptionist pointed it out to me when I was paying the bill, thus saving me the embarrassment of walking out into the street looking a bit weird.
There are many, many examples of things you can do. One dental office bakes banana loaves (mini ones) in their autoclave every day (which makes the office smell totally yummy) and they give them out to patients who would like one. Lots of offices now have the single-serve coffee makers for patients to be able to choose their own flavour (and carry bottles of water for those who don’t care for coffee). Make your décor striking. Have awesome travel posters framed up and hung around the office or blow ups of photos members of the team have taken … and change them frequently.
All staff wear clean, well-pressed uniforms designed with some “punch” (not boring). All staff with well groomed make-up (women) or well-shaven (men), hair done perfectly (not scraggly or messy like you don’t care). These things make an emotional impact when a patient or client when they walk into your practice.
Really listening carefully to the client or patient and taking the time to fully answer their questions is often commented on in testimonials on websites and online.
For more ideas, look at the positive comments by patients on RateMDs sites. Patients and clients frequently post up what they liked best about their practice experience.
Have a staff meeting and discuss what each staff member has liked the most about other offices (other professions) that they go to as patients. Brainstorm how you can up the ante in your practice to the level of Extreme Service.
The more positive the experience for a patient or client, the more you can be sure they will return and also refer!
If you need help to go extreme,
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