Any business owner will tell you that running a business comes with a long list of challenges. Effective management of staff, financial planning, storefront and online operations, production and sales, and more are just a few examples of what a business owner is thinking about on a daily basis. But there is one thing that all of these have in common: customer satisfaction. Happy customers are the lifeblood of a business, making it perhaps the most important aspect of business ownership.
Keeping customers happy is no easy task. Mistakes are inevitable, and dissatisfaction is sometimes unavoidable, despite your best efforts. Businesses in the healthcare field are presented with an even more unique challenge when it comes to customer satisfaction, because they not only have to ensure that the services provided by the medical personnel excel customer expectations, but also that the experience with the office as a whole— which includes scheduling, billing and insurance, and overall communication — is pleasant.
Medical procedures are stressful for most people. When a person walks in for a dental appointment, chances are they are not as excited as they would be if they were walking into their favorite store or restaurant. It may then be even more challenging for healthcare workers to keep their patients happy. However, it can be done.
In this article, we will explore how you, as a worker in or owner of a healthcare-related business, can make sure you keep your customers happy and coming back for more specifically by utilizing patient feedback, whether verbal or in the form of an online review.
Using Patient Feedback
Using patient feedback to keep customers happy does not necessarily mean you have to wait to hear from your customers on their own accord. You can instead be proactive and ask your patients about their experience at your business before they leave the office. If you are working as a provider in the back of the office, check in with the patient about their experience with the front desk. Alternatively, if you are working near the front desk, ask the patient how things went during their appointment. Whether positive or negative, always relay the feedback to others in the office.
By getting ahead of the feedback, not only are you potentially preventing a negative review from making it to Google or elsewhere, but you are also telling your patients that you value their feedback.
Enlisting the Patient
If a customer seems happy with their experience at your business, feel free to ask or encourage them to leave a positive review online. You may either ask them directly and verbally, perhaps while they are scheduling their next visit, or you can use signs around the office to indirectly ask them to leave a review.
If you are going to ask your customers to leave reviews, avoid offering them free services to incentivize the review. Not only is this unethical, but it is also explicitly prohibited by most online review platforms, such as Google and Facebook reviews.
Responding to Reviews
When someone leaves a negative review, make sure you respond empathically, professionally, and proactively. Ignoring a customer who has had a poor experience with your business will only make them feel like their experience and satisfaction do not matter. Respond thoughtfully with as much poise as possible, evoking the honest intention that their negative experience was regretful, and reassure them that their opinions do matter and that their concerns will be considered and addressed.
Positive reviews should also be acknowledged as much as possible. If someone took the time to leave your business a positive review, express gratitude and thank them. Knowing that their efforts are genuinely appreciated will again communicate to all customers and potential customers that your business values them and cares about the experience they’ve had. When you’re working with clients to improve their health and treat their illnesses, you are maintaining a delicate relationship. It’s important that your online presence reflects this, and realizing a better review practice will put you miles ahead of other businesses.
Asking for feedback and responding to feedback and suggestions made by your customers is a good start, but it’s not where you should call it a day. It is absolutely essential that you take the time and make the effort, wherever possible, to address their concerns by making real changes and improvements to how your business operates. Reviews are only a starting point.
However frustrating it may be to receive negative comments from a customer, keep in mind that every failure or critique is an opportunity in disguise and that most of the time, your customer is doing you a huge favor by being honest. In fact, only about 1 in 26 customers will be open about their dissatisfaction with a business, and the other 25 will remain silent. So, even though a negative comment may seem out of left field, it may actually reflect the feelings of a lot more customers.
If a client has a complaint about staff, take it seriously. You should trust your team and rely on them but don’t hesitate to bring customer concerns to their attention.
If you read a negative review about your business, where facilities are underwhelming, or perhaps your communication with a patient was unsatisfactory, make an effort to get your patient’s full story and make changes in ways that make sense for you.
By taking customer feedback seriously, you can make major improvements to your business that it may need to grow and succeed well into the future. By making improvements according to customer feedback, you are effectively demonstrating to your customers that you value their experience and are committed to providing them with the best service possible.
Dr. Guneet Alag is an owner-dentist at Fab Dental. She received her Doctor of Dental Surgery from the New York University College of Dentistry and holds credentials from the AGD, CDA, and ADA. She is an expert in dental implantology and specializes in Emergency Dentistry, Orthodontics, Endodontics, Periodontics, and Prosthodontics.
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