Customer service is something that is always a big priority for those in the retail and service sectors. The healthcare industry should be no exception to this rule. Everyone in the business of medicine is in place to provide help and care to those who need it or seek it, so attention to the level of service provided should be at the forefront of their responsibilities. Many practices, however, miss the mark and their patients suffer. Though you might be the only game in town who accepts a specific insurance, that certainly doesn’t mean that your patients should be made to take what they can get. Here are a few important points about providing great customer service to your patients that can help you to develop the policies you need for a popular, well-loved practice.
Create Policies and Post Publicly
Develop a mission statement and policies for how different circumstances are to be handled in your office. Make these clear to both your staff and to your patients. If everyone has clear expectations on how things should be, everyone will be more likely to do what is required of them. Patients and staff alike will benefit from the clear instruction on policy and procedure.
Train All Employees Thoroughly
Writing policies isn’t enough in itself. Staff must be trained in adhering to these policies and given the tools they need to do their job in the most efficient and customer-friendly manner possible. Most mistakes and bad habits come from a simple lack of training in the proper way to handle a situation or complete a task. Thorough training can alleviate issues, long before they become a customer service problem.
Keep a Close Eye on Interactions
If you suspect there is an issue or if you have had complaints on a staff member, find ways to observe their interactions with clients and coworkers alike. Watching how they deal with those around them is a window into the type of customer service they are providing to your patients. It only takes one person to taint the experience of a patient, so be on the lookout for potential problems and nip them in the bud.
Give Patients an Outlet for Feedback
No one can give you input on the success of your customer service program like your patients can. Offer both public and private options for patients to address customer service issues and encourage them to use these tools as they will help you provide them with better care. Follow up and respond to patient comments, giving them the confidence that you are taking their thoughts and opinions seriously.
Respect the Time and Needs of Your Patients
Above all other things, the number one key to great customer service is respect. When a person visits a medical office, there are two main things that will make them feel like they have had a terrible experience – a long, unexplained wait and staff who don’t take the time to listen to their problems and needs. By making an effort to provide this level of respect to your patients, you’ll have the customer service aspect of your business down to a science.
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