In private practice optometry, it's more important than ever that we are elevating the patient experience and excelling in providing 5 Star patient care. This is due to a number of reasons, including the ease and cost of purchasing eyewear from online vendors, and the convenience and hours that retail practices can offer. Now, this isn't to say that some of these other vendors or retail practices don't have great customer service, but it is still a different experience than we speak to our clients about.
With the help of the Executive Management Program and the Optometric Success Center Online Leanring, we can help you understand ways that your team can begin elevating the patient experience and how to build the foundation for Excelling in 5 STAR Patient Care. Let's take a look at a few of the learning moments that come directly from the program Excelling in 5 STAR Patient Care.
Within this program, we are going to discuss how you can excel at providing 5 STAR care as well as how your practice can elevate the patient experience. We will discuss effective communication and how we can keep our patients informed, and how to calm upset patients. We'll also review how employee engagement and a positive culture plays its part in the overall patient experience and leads to the patient feeling like they’ve received the 5 STAR care.
We must remember the following rules when it comes to providing excellent patient care.
- We must remember to smile. Be genuine, but smile. Have you ever called a company and you can just sense that the representative isn’t happy about what they are doing. Maybe you just get a bad vibe, and call the next option on your list?
Always be friendly and kind. You have to remember that your patients are not in the same business as you. Although you may receive the same question time and time again, it's most likely the first time the patient has asked you this question. Don’t brush it off or act like your patient should know the answer. No question is a dumb one. We must be courteous and kind with our responses.
- We must grow our knowledge and remain positive. Knowledge and positivity will always beat speed when it comes to providing great patient care. Have you ever called a company to ask a question and you're transferred two or three times, but your one question could really take only two or three minutes? Next, you’re on hold for 20 minutes waiting to speak to a representative.
If a patient asks you a question that you are not sure the answer to, but you know you can easily get the answer, rather than leaving them on hold or waiting for another team member, kindly let them know that you’ll be happy to find the answer for them. Ask them if it's okay for you to give them a call back when you’ve gotten the answer. Be sure to call them back that day, and nine times out of 10, your patient will be appreciative that you took the extra effort for them.
- We need to remember that we (the team) are responsible for the growth of the practice. Each and every one of you are the face of your practice, and ultimately, you are the influencer when it comes to the patient making a decision.
- We must listen. We must make things easy. We must provide the patient with the information they need in a timely manner. We know that patients that wait more than 10 minutes at any point of interaction with the practice are two times more likely to leave a negative review.
- We must understand that upset customers are not an outcome. Upset customers are an opportunity for us to evolve and grow and learn what to do next time something comes up. Look at upsets from a strategic point of view, analyze what the cause is and find solutions.
- We need to give our patients the benefit of the doubt. Understanding our patient’s behavior is huge. We must understand the need to continue to provide positive patient care. Perhaps your patient is having a terrible day, and the slight attitude they have with you isn't because of you at all. In fact, they are just having a rough day or they just received an upsetting phone call. We all have our days, but in your position, while you’re at that practice, you must find a way to work past that and to keep a smile on your face. Don't take it personally.
- We need to continue providing excellent patient care and communication as your practice grows. As companies grow, things change. The number one thing that must remain the same is the way that we treat our patients. This leads to the next rule.
- We must focus on the value of retention vs. a value of a simple transaction. We are in the business of providing long-term care. We can only do that if we remain consistent and compassionate for our patients. Remember, it costs us five to 25x more to gain a new patient than it does to retain one.
- Last, we must remember that every single interaction matters. Did you know it takes 12 positive interactions to make up for one negative experience. Let’s aim high and make every interaction a positive one.
This is just the beginning. Let Williams Group Executive Management Program and the Optometric Success Center Learning Library help your team learn and help your practice elevate your patient experience.