Last week, we had a couple of trees removed.
One was a tall, beautiful ash, the other a well-established oak.
Unfortunately, the ash was dying, and the oak was pushing against a retaining wall that now must be replaced.
It was a sad affair, twice, since it was so close to Earth Day…
But of course, that’s not what happened!
Why am I telling you this?
Well, Jack from the tree company came out on Tuesday to mark the trees to be cut down. He said they would do the work next week, and I would get an email the day before.
But of course, that’s not what happened!
The following day, not even 24 hours later, I got an email at 7:30 pm: “An appointment has been scheduled….”
An email the night before! Not even a phone call to ask if the appointment would work for us, given the short notice.
I was annoyed… and I couldn’t reach anyone from the company because it was after hours!
The next morning, at 7 AM, eight workers and their equipment came to do the work. They did a great job, cleaned up, and were gone after three short hours.
But the way the scheduling was handled still bothers me. It shows a lack of appreciation for me, the customer.
All they had to do was pick up the phone to let me know. Because email is not always reliable, making a phone call typically is.
So what’s my point with this story?
Sometimes we get stuck doing things in ways that work for us rather than for our customers.
When I called the company and shared my views about the email, I got an apology and some background information.
Turns out, the owner who does the scheduling insists on using email to communicate with customers, even though he’s been told and asked to use the phone to keep customers informed.
Perhaps he doesn’t know or understand that emails can bounce, may end up in spam, may be delivered late, or not at all.
And some folks don’t use email or don’t check it regularly.
How can you apply a customer-centric approach in your practice?
First, I believe incorporating a customer-centric approach in a medical office is fundamental to providing superior patient care and building long-term relationships with patients.
While adhering to accepted standards of care is essential, you can integrate customer-centric practices without compromising medical professionalism and quality.
Here are some ideas on how a practice can incorporate a customer-centric approach while maintaining the necessary standards of care:
- Train your Staff: If you have staff, train them to be customer-focused and provide exceptional patient care. Train them to improve communication skills, empathy, and patient engagement.
- Communication: Listen to patients’ concerns and provide them with the opportunity to ask questions. Ensure effective communication with patients by providing clear and concise information about their diagnosis, treatment options, and follow-up care.
- Personalized care: As much as possible, personalize care by taking the time to understand each patient’s unique needs and preferences and treat each patient as an individual.
- Empathy: Show empathy towards patients and their families by being attentive and understanding. And while it may take up more time, show compassion towards patients and their families during difficult times.
- Accessibility: As much as possible, ensure patients have easy access to care by providing flexible scheduling, online booking, and telemedicine options where appropriate.
- Patient feedback: Ask for feedback from patients about their experiences in your office and use it to make things better. Consider implementing patient satisfaction surveys and analyze the feedback to identify areas for improvement.
- Continuous improvement: Commit to continuously evaluating and improving the customer-centric practices in your office to ensure patients receive the best care possible.
In summary, incorporating a customer-centric approach in your practice comes down to prioritizing the patient experience while maintaining high standards of care.
It involves effective communication, personalized care, empathy, accessibility, patient feedback, staff training, and continuous improvement.
Implementing these practices will enhance the patient’s experience, improve outcomes, and build long-term patient loyalty.
So, here’s the moral of the story…
Make it easy for your patients/customers. Don’t annoy them. And don’t make them do any extra work to do business with you.
Adopt a “customer-centric” approach, where you prioritize your patients’/customers’ needs, wants, and satisfaction while continuing to follow all standards of care.
Does this mean you give patients any medications they ask for or give in to their every want?
No, of course not.
But in a customer-centric practice or business, most, if not all, decisions, processes, and policies are designed to create a positive customer experience and build long-term customer relationships.
To make this possible, you must first understand your patients’ or customers’ needs and preferences.
And you must tailor your services and products to meet their specific needs (not yours), provide a superb customer experience, and be open to feedback so you can improve the customer experience.
So how do your practice or place of work measure up?
Put on your customer-centric glasses and take a good look!
The medical industry didn’t pay that much attention to customer satisfaction in the past, but that is changing fast.
Please share your thoughts with us. Do you agree with the customer-centric approach? We’d love to know what you think…
If you’d like to find out more about how to work with patients and customers, check out our programs and keep reading our blog.