Being a health care practitioner sets us apart from so many other industries based on the word care in the title. Us caring types want to make a difference in the lives of the people we work with.
We are so committed to this end that we spend countless hours training and learning our modality but we spend little time on understanding or training ourselves in customer service. For my mind customer service is queen. You can be the best practitioner in the world and provide the most amazing results but if your care begins and ends at the treatment then I guarantee you will fail.
By providing quality customer service we build a greater rapport and trust with our clients. As they are putting hard earned money on the table the expectation becomes one of a complete service that hopefully exceeds their expectations.
Here are 5 key caring customer (client, patient) service tips:
Whether we like it or not people do judge us by our appearance particularly when they are paying you. Looking professional and presentable is showing your clients and prospective clients respect. Keeping your workspace clean, tidy and organised shows you as a professional paying attention to the finer details. If you pay attention to these things then it assumes you do so in your treatments as well.
Make sure in all of your communication you provide all of the relevant information. Answer the questions, provide fees, payment methods, health fund rebate information, consultation duration, available appointments, condition explanations, treatment plan, advice etc. The more information you provide, as succinctly as possible the less hiccups are likely to occur. Effective communication is like watching a world-class ice skater. It looks easy and seamless but it takes a lot of planning and preparation.
Deal with any complaints or issues head on. A dissatisfied customer can do irreparable damage to your reputation whether it is legitimate or not. Acknowledge their issue and work out with them what you can do to resolve it. Even if the issue was not your fault if they think it was then that’s what they will tell everyone.
Don’t make promises or guarantees as regardless of how good you are you will eventually not meet them. I always talk to my clients about ‘in my experience this is what we can expect. However I would be foolish to give you a guarantee’. Make sure your clients’ expectations are reasonable. We have all had the client who tells the story about their grandmothers hip problem that was solved in one treatment and again no matter how good you are this is not always the case. Educating clients around reasonable expectations means everyone knows the playing field leaving you to get on with the job of helping your client.
It means just that. Providing everyone with the best service you can in any way possible. Calling a taxi for someone, providing a referral for someone who you can’t fit in, checking in on clients who may be struggling, providing good quality information sheets, smooth booking process, Electronic payments and health fund claiming, getting back to people quickly, email or text message reminders, remembering the little things like anniversaries etc, doing what you say you will do and providing the best environment and experience possible with what you have.
I’ve been in practice now for 22 years and to be honest while I know I am good at what I do I know and have known others who would leave me in their dust. The difference is my focus on customer service as well as my skills. The result has always been a very busy practice despite many moves.
Take some time to look at your practice. What could you improve? How can you provide that extra special experience for the people you want to help? I guarantee it is worth it.