Three Ways to Improve Customer Satisfaction
A few weeks ago an article ran in the sidebar of Medical Practice Success about tracking customer satisfaction using the Net Promoter Score (NPS) System. It is one of the systems we use at our Medical Practices to both monitor our customer satisfaction levels and to also respond to patient complaints. After learning about it, one of our readers wrote in and asked: “Seems if the real goal is to find problems (since 95% will be positive), I feel that the current system you use is unlikely to necessarily do the job well enough -- some patients will be too timid to say something and hand a card back to an employee -- but the mail is too slow and most will not fill them out -- could be an e-mail to them would provide the opportunity for them to comment about their visit in a safe setting.” His point is fantastic, and I thought it would be a great basis for this week’s article. First, 95% of the cards you receive will probably not be positive. The goal at our facilities is to keep our NPS Score in the 90% range. This is a lofty goal, as the national average for NPS Score ranges between 11-60% depending on the industry. Nonetheless, it is a goal that when our entire team is focused on it, we tend to make happen. Over the course of the last five years monitoring this for our Medical Practices, I have found that a large majority of the patients who are satisfied with their visit do not want to take the time to fill out the “comment card” they are handed at checkout. But when we have a truly unhappy guest at one of our facilities, many times, they will take the time to let us know they are unhappy by filling out the card they are offered at checkout and dropping it in the comment box we have. Utilizing comment cards, however, is not the only method you should have in place to ensure you are doing everything within your power to turn unhappy customers into raving fans. There are lots of other tools you can put into place. Let’s examine two of them now. Daily Patient Emails In a world where online communication is king, you should be collecting email addresses from all of your patients. With the emergence of Electronic Medical Records, pulling an email address report for patients on a daily basis and emailing those patients to simply ask how their visit to your facility was can take as little as 10 minutes a day. You can view a sample email that we send to our patients on a daily basis here. One important thing to note is every response you get (positive or negative) warrants a reciprocal response back from you. Positive responses can be used as testimonies on your website and in social media (just be careful not to reveal the patient’s identity or reason for medical treatment). Negative responses should be looked into immediately and addressed with a phone call back to the patient (not an email) to work on a resolution. In addition to helping you solve patient complaints you might not otherwise have known about, collecting email addresses has an added benefit. Each person who gives you their email address should become the start of list building for your weekly or monthly patient newsletter. You can learn more about implementing this marketing tool in the MPS Archives from June 2012. Patient Call Backs Another easy thing to implement is calling patients back to ensure they are both doing better and that their visit to your facility met their expectations. At our Medical Practice facilities, we call all patients back within 72 hours of their visit. We wait 72 hours to ensure that any medication they received has had time to start working. To learn more about how to set-up patient call backs at your Clinic, checkout this article from September 2011. In summary, customer satisfaction should be the premiere focus of your Medical Practice’s marketing plan. Word of mouth marketing is vital to your company’s financial success. These are just three of the many tools available to help you ensure you are doing everything within your power to keep the things customers are saying about you positive.
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.