Any marketer will tell you that customers value their experiences with businesses. Their experience involves everything from the impressions they have about your business, to what they encounter when they visit your store, website, or social media page. Whether it’s in-person or online, the customer experience should become the main focus of all business interactions.
The most effective way to keep a customer is to provide them an experience they won’t soon forget. Melonie Dodaro was spot on when she said:
“Want to keep a customer for life? Shock them with a random act of kindness or exceptional customer service.”
How do you do that as a practitioner though? In this week’s podcast, we explore how an air-conditioning company converted a client for life – and what that means for you and your practice.
Below are a few ways how you can elevate your patients’ experience and keep them coming back for more.
With the changes in our healthcare system, patient expectations continue to evolve. What happens at one clinic may vary from what takes place at another. The quality of customer service a patient experiences at their primary healthcare practitioner’s office differs from what they may encounter at a physical therapy appointment.
But when you set clear expectations with your patients, you remove the guesswork and lessen the risk of confusion. You help guide them so they know what to expect from their experience at your clinic. This also lets them know what’s in scope and out of scope.
When patients come to see you, it’s likely due to a health concern or issue. They may feel nervous, uncertain, or afraid. Setting clear expectations up front will help to ease their minds and reassure them that they’re cared for and valued.
Communicating expectations isn’t just for when they’re in the exam room or on the adjustment table. Consider all points of contact with your patient. This includes how they’re greeted when they walk through your door to receiving follow-up messages after they leave. Every single touch point is important.
When it comes to a patient’s health, effective communication is critical. It’s also a two-way street. You want to make certain that you understand your patient’s health concerns. And in return, you need to know that they’re clear on their treatment plan, next steps, and so on.
Remove the hassle factor by speaking in a way your patient understands.
You might think you’re being crystal clear in communicating with your patients, but you end up not getting the kind of response or compliance you expected. This may be because you’re not speaking in a way that your patient best understands.
For example, think of what your patient needs to complete before their appointment. Is it an intake form or insurance verification? Consider sending a “Welcome Packet” that describes what actions they need to take and how to complete them.
If you’re performing a certain treatment, provide information in advance for them. When meeting with them, allow enough time to take them through every aspect of their treatment and be available to answer their questions.
Communication is another way that you can build trust and help calm fears or other concerns. Solid communication also helps your patient better receive, understand, and articulate the services they’re receiving. This is crucial to the patients’ experience. When the patient is informed and feels confident in their understanding of their treatment options, they’ll be able to make the best decisions for themselves and their health.
Empathize and Show Compassion
As a healthcare practitioner, you know the importance of relationship-building. Your patients are more than their charts. Patients come to you seeking answers and solutions to their physical problems. Empathy is what empowers you to deliver an excellent experience for your patients.
It allows you to understand what they’re going through and what they’re feeling. They’re current experience might be short-lived or easily resolved – but it may not feel that way to them. Extending compassion and empathy shows them you’re genuinely listening, that they’re valued and are important to you.
What are some ways you can show empathy?
- Make notes about the important details or special occasions in their lives and follow up with a note, an intentional conversation or phone call.
- Ask more questions and actively listen to what they say as well as what is unsaid.
- Relate emotionally. This can be as simple as verbally acknowledging a fear they feel or congratulating them on a milestone.
When a client or patient feels listened to and heard, they feel special. It’s a feeling they won’t forget and can’t help but tell others about. It’s a feeling that builds trust and strengthens your relationship.
Follow-Through and Follow-Up
Making sure you deliver on your promises is key to developing credibility with your patients. This positions you as a leader that can be trusted – one that acts with integrity.
Just as important as follow-through, is the follow-up. In today’s consumer-driven healthcare climate, follow-up makes a significant difference. It’s a crucial factor in building healthy, strong relationships with your patients.
Follow-up doesn’t have to take an incredible amount of time. It can be a simple, 30-second email, phone call, or text message to check in on your patient or express how you’re thankful for the opportunity to serve them.
As a healthcare practitioner, follow-up can include more than just showing gratitude. You can also provide additional health-related information or ask if they have any questions.
Follow-ups can also include reminders of their next appointment or how they can access test results. Just make sure you always include a message of thanks to let them know how important they are to you.
Elevating Your Customer Experience
Improving your patient’s experience invites you to consider their perspective in every part of your processes. In every conversation, whether it’s in the back office or in the lobby, shine the spotlight on your patients and what they need.
The same goes for your employees. Reflect on how you can improve their experience in your practice. The more satisfied they are, the more emotional energy they’ll have to extend kindness to others – including your patients.
Theodore Roosevelt once said:
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
By continuously improving the customer experience, your patients remain at the forefront of your mind and in your business.
In today’s market, there’s a chiropractor on every corner. An MD. A health coach. An acupuncturist. Patients have a wide variety of choices. But what makes your clinic different? How can YOU create a customer experience that goes far beyond what your patients would have ever expected?
Take some time this week to ask yourself how you can make the experience exceptional for your patients. And then begin serving them in a way that only you can.
1. 2019. The Importance of Effective Communication in Healthcare… Retrieved August 20, 2020, from http://harvardpublichealthreview.org/healthcommunication/ 2. (2020, June 29). 12 Essential Tips For Businesses To Improve Their … – Forbes. Retrieved August 20, 2020, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2020/06/29/12-essential-tips-for-businesses-to-improve-their-customer-experience/