In the business world, we talk a lot about the importance of good customer service. But sometimes, the relationship between our organisations and the people we serve is a little different. They’re not just customers, but patients who entrust us with a much bigger responsibility than simply providing them with goods and services.
Knowing how to treat patients, however, is always a challenge. Clinical practices don’t want to simply mimic regular companies. But at the same time, they also need to treat patients in a way that encourages them to come back.
Feeling a little stuck? Here’s what to do.
Provide Staff With Training
It’s not uncommon for patients to get bad customer service from support staff even if their doctors are great. It’s critical, therefore, that you provide colleagues with regular training, ensuring that they know the standards you expect. Managing patients can be challenging. But if you give them the right tools, they will find their task much easier.
Keep The Promises You Make
Here’s another way to improve patient services: keep the promises you make. If you say to a patient that you will get back to them “today,” then make sure you do. Don’t leave them waiting. If you can’t provide the information that they need on the same working day, send them a quick update telling them why (such as the results haven’t come back from the lab yet).
Create Online Communication Channels
Thanks to the pandemic, the vast majority of patients are looking for alternative ways to speak with their doctor. Creating a patient portal, therefore, can be an excellent way for you to provide additional services, without it taking up too much of your time.
Act When Patients Complain
If patients make a serious complaint, don’t just sweep it under the rug: act. Show them that you are willing to take their feedback seriously and that how they feel makes a difference in how you run your practice. Once you solve a problem, let the patient know the actions you’ve taken. Try paying close attention to the delivery of your service at every stage, from the moment they enter the clinic, to the moment they leave.
Get To Know Your Patients More Personally
With limited appointment lengths, getting to know your patients in detail can be a challenge. However, clinics that take the time to find out more about the people they serve tend to thrive in the long-term. That’s because they can give out medical advice based on a patients’ history instead of relying on generic insights. Typically, this approach yields better outcomes.
Be Open About Your Mistakes
As a medical professional, it never feels comfortable being honest about your mistakes. Admitting that you did something wrong could even leave you liable.
However, doctors that do tell their patients that they did something wrong gain their respect and trust. When you make an admission, it shows that you are willing to put patient well-being above your career, something that relatively few health professionals are willing to do.