The key to building a lasting Patient relationship is your employees.
Chances are you have been a victim of bad customer service. When this happens, you may begin to associate that negative experience with that place. Most of the time, one bad customer service experience doesn’t mean you never go back, but if it happens multiple times, that is when you have a problem.
In most cases the problem isn’t that the individual employee doesn’t understand the right way to handle patients, it is usually more than that. So how do you make sure you don’t end up having employees of your own losing business for you?
The first step is selecting the right people for the right position. Anyone you have in a customer service role (and there are not many positions that don’t interact with the patient in some way or another) needs to have extremely competent interpersonal skills besides the functional and technical skills required to get the job done. Consider this when hiring. You can always teach the “how to” part of the job but it is very difficult to teach the “attitude.” Sometimes it’s difficult to know if a candidate has the right attitude.
To help make this determination:
- Be sure to outline the most important job requirements, not necessarily the technical aspects, but those that are critical to the position as it relates to the customer.
- Craft questions for the interview based on situations the candidate may find themselves in.
- Enlist several people to help with the interview process to get an objective view.
- Have all serious candidates (after you weed out those that don’t qualify) take some sort of personality assessment. You can find some online for free.
After you have found the ideal employees, it’s time for the second step, developing and motivating your employees. This step is actually harder than the first step. I believe this is where many businesses fail because it takes work to do and to maintain. With step two, it all comes down to communication and the various ways we should be communicating in our business.
In order to create a patient relationship-centric environment, it is important to:
- Provide step-by-step procedures on everything you do on a regular basis in your business.
- Hold regular meetings to offer training and coaching in customer service and procedures.
- Develop a system to measure performance.
- Be sure to follow up exemplary performance with rewards based on what each individual’s preference for reward is (some like cash, some like time off, some like awards).
By following this two-step process for creating the right patient relationship environment, you will not only improve the retention rate of your patients but you will also get more business from them. It will also give you a highly competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Are you looking for ways to retain patients?