February 25, 2012 in Managing Your Practice
Tuning in to customer service when you are out and about, as well as in your own practice can pay dividends for your practice.
Whenever I visit or interact with another business, I tend to compare how they deliver their services to how we are delivering and managing the services at our practice. Doesn’t matter if it’s the place that changes the oil in my car, the guy that does my hair, the vendor for our office supplies, or my physician’s office, I always notice the little details about how I am treated and how easy it is to work with that business.
This little mental exercise serves a couple of functions for me as a business person;
One, it assures that when I go out into the community seeking goods and services I’m going to be getting the best of those goods and services, because I am remaining attuned to the quality of goods and services I am receiving. If the quality isn’t what it should be, I will seek other sources for the goods and services I need.
Two, it keeps me thinking about our practice from a patient’s perspective so that we are always working to deliver solid customer service. It also lets me tune into and learn from the good and the bad techniques those other businesses are using.
Many of the policies and procedures that I built into our practice were based upon my observations as a consumer. Full disclosure, I have even been a consumer of therapy services, so I have an appreciation of client billing, the waiting room, scheduling etc. from that side of the fence as well. I didn’t have any horrible therapy experiences but I have certainly had some bad experiences as a consumer of other services. I’ve also heard some incredible stories from patients about their experiences at other practices (phone calls that were never returned, rude office staff, requests for records that went unanswered- you name it).
I know from my many years in the corporate world that you can never achieve anything approaching success if you do not treat your customers (in this case, patients) respectfully and deliver consistent, high-quality customer service across your organization.
I encourage you to try this same exercise. Think about the quality of the goods and services you receive from the local businesses you support. What are they doing right and what are they doing wrong for you as a customer? Now apply those same questions to your own practice (this will require some honest soul-searching).
- Are there any areas of your practice that make it hard for your patients to work with you?
- Are you unreasonably difficult to contact?
- Do you fail to return phone calls?
- Is your office staff unfriendly or poorly trained?
- Is your waiting room environment uncomfortable or unpleasant?
- Is your website hard to navigate?
- Is your scheduling or paperwork too confusing for some patients to understand?
If you’ve come up with some areas of your practice that need improvement in the customer-service department, don’t fret. Just getting in the mindset of customer service is a huge victory for your practice. Now that you’ve identified some areas for improvement you can begin taking action, and you are now on your way to greater success for your practice.Heather Hill-Spaine
Copyright © 2012 Real Psych Practice LLC