Always smile, say please and thank you, and you will have a patient forever, Right!  That could very well be the case, given you, your staff and the patient, view all matters and/or situations exactly the same.  What happens when there is a misunderstanding?

The Patient/Client/Customer is the Foundation of every practice,” as quoted to us in an excellent customer service workshop facilitated by SCORE at the Greater Irving Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce on September 1.

Customer Service can often times be compromised when we all get caught up in the day-to-day hustle of “getting the job done.”

  • Is a smile necessary?
  • Does the tone in your voice or your body language convey attitude?
  • Positive, upbeat, affirmations over the telephone and in the work place; does it work?

Yes, all of those practices work to ensure a successful experience.

“All the business savvy in the world won’t make you successful–your customers do that! Without new and repeated customers, there is no practice.

A smile, the tone of your voice, your body language and positive affirmations, all make a huge difference in the way a message or service is provided.  The workshop revealed there are six basic needs of customers:

  • They need to feel welcome … greet them;
  • They need to be understood … show understanding;
  • They need comfort … make them feel comfortable;
  • They need to feel important … make them feel important;
  • They need to feel in control … give them control; and
  • Understated needs … listen and find out what their needs are.

Greet them:  Always have someone at the front of your practice to greet patients, vendors and any other visitors.

Show understanding:  When a patient comes in and is confused or might have misunderstood something, please don’t get on the defense, really listen to what they are saying, paraphrase it back to them, so they know you understand them and that you are working to get it resolved.

Make them feel comfortable:  Please don’t rush your patients off of the telephone, out of the examining room or the waiting room.

Make them feel important:  Call your patients by their name.  Don’t rush them.  Set a goal to have telephones answered on the first ring, and certainly by the second during business hours. 

Give them control:  Whatever you do, don’t argue.  Work to resolve the matter.  Ask them what they would like for you to do and then proceed with doing it.

Listen and find out what their needs are:  Give them your undivided attention.  Don’t look at your computer screen or the paper’s on your desk.  Turn away from those things and make eye contact with them.  Please don’t zone out and start thinking of your next response.  Let them finish.

Customers complain for a variety of reasons, the most common is poor service, feeling ignored and constantly being made to wait to be served.

Most disgruntled patients can be won over again, with the proper follow-up technique and showing them that you will work to take care of a matter.

  • Again, ask the patient what they would like for you to do about a matter. If it can’t be resolve in that instant, be sure and let them know you will follow-up and call them the next day with the plan to resolve the issue.  Give specific times to make contact, and do what you say you are going to do.  But whatever you do, do not promise what you cannot deliver.

Commit to provide training for employees, so that they are comfortable performing at a high level and are better able to provide excellent customer service.  Provide and display your Vision and Mission Statement so that staff understand the goal of your practice.  You and your staff, can certainly surprise and delight your patients with excellent customer service by being positive and using phrases like: It is my pleasure to serve you; Please; What would make you happy, I would be happy to ….  By all means; lead by example.