Four Words to Kill Medical Practice Business Growth
I wear many different hats at our Medical Practices, but the most important hat I wear is the “Director of Guest Relations” hat. While you will never find this title on an organizational chart, it’s the title I use when a patient calls or emails in with a complaint about the services they received. I take each complaint personally because I know that statistics show for every customer complaint there are 26 other unhappy customers who have remained silent. I also know that studies show if you’re able to fix a patient’s complaint, you can turn them into a “Raving Fan” for life. After speaking with an unhappy patient, I always email a summary of the patient complaint to the departments involved for a training opportunity. We take customer satisfaction very seriously at our Medical Practices, so our department supervisors utilize each complaint as an opportunity to fine-tune areas where balls may have been dropped. I have only one true pet peeve when it comes to dealing with patient complaints. I do not like to hear the words, “Well, we saw lots of patients that day, and it’s just one patient who complained.” It may have been only one patient who complained, but that one patient knows a lot of people. Their opinion on the customer service provided is just as important as the other patients who said nothing, so you assume had a fantastic visit. I encourage you to ban the words, “It’s just one patient” from your vocabulary. Having any form of those four words in your vocabulary when dealing with patient complaints can instantly cloud your judgment and make you unable to truly rectify the patient’s problem. More importantly, it makes you blind to the possibility that change may be needed within your business to ensure other patients are not having the same experience. If a patient takes the time to make a complaint to you, the very least you can do is take the time to sincerely listen to their complaint and try to see the situation from their point of view. Remember, “Just One Patient” can spread negative publicity about their visit just as easily (and even more likely) than another patient can spread positive word of mouth about your Medical Practice. While not every patient complaint you handle will be truly justified, each patient deserves a chance to have their voice heard. Shifting your team’s mindset about patient complaints (no matter how few you get) will greatly impact your ability to grow positive word of mouth marketing for your Medical Practice.
Article By: Tina Bell Tina Bell is the Director of Marketing for HealthCARE Express®, where her responsibilities include spearheading the company’s social media and internet strategies, leading the in-house physician recruitment team, and developing aggressive programs to promote patient satisfaction and effective service recovery. Tina speaks nationally at industry conferences including the Medical Practice Association of America and the National Association of Occupational Health Professionals. She is the director of business development for Medical Practice Success and an independent Medical Practice marketing consultant.