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Your Medical Practice is More Like a Spa Than You Think
Think of an ideal spa experience:
As you drive to the spa, you recall that the person who called to confirm your appointment sounded lovely on the phone. And from the moment you walk in the reception area, you’re made to feel special. You get the sense that this will be a good experience as you get a warm personal greeting and a smile from the receptionist. You wait in a comfortable reception area until your name is called, and then you’re led back to the spa area by someone who asks how you’re doing today, someone who sounds sincerely interested.
Once your spa session is over and you’re back at the front desk, the receptionist makes eye contact and concernedly asks how your experience was. Before booking your next appointment, he or she points out an array of products on the shelf behind them and offers some recommendations about what you might like to buy. You make a purchase because you’re feeling good about yourself and the whole spa experience. He or she thanks you for coming in today. You leave the spa feeling that your business is valued. But more than that, you leave feeling that you are valued. And when a friend asks you for a spa recommendation, your answer will begin with, “I know this great place…”
So what does this have to do with your medical practice?
A lot. Your frontline people – the ones who are interacting with your patients such as receptionists, appointment schedulers, and billing staff might appear to just have simple, mundane, repetitive patient responsibilities that can be done by many people, as long as they have a little training. Yes, maybe many people can do the job, but not so many do it well. These customer-facing employees are the first impression patients have of your medical practice and are responsible for many follow-up interactions. Think about it. A patient might visit with a physician once a year. But that patient will have multiple points of contact with your office, from appointment scheduling to billing to calls with questions about insurance or medications. These customer-facing employees are the ones taking care of your business. The quality of their patient interactions can make or break you. Just like a spa.
First of all, people tend to judge what they don’t know by what they do know, experience, or observe. It’s called judging by proxy. For example, airline passengers see a dirty tray table and as a result, make negative assumptions about the aircraft’s maintenance. Similarly, if a restaurant restroom is messy or missing essentials, patrons wonder if the kitchen is dirty. Think about how bored, unhelpful, disinterested staff can create negative impressions of you and your practice, your competence, and compassion.
A second way it can help make or break your practice is via patient satisfaction. Good frontline interactions with patients can increase patient satisfaction scores on review sites such as Healthgrades and Vitals and create better-word-of-mouth. Yet another way it can have an effect on your practice is if you sell products. If patients are turned off to your practice by the frontline employees who are trying to sell them product, they’ll be less likely to purchase. Lastly, if the frontline staff is too difficult to deal with, patients might choose to switch medical practices rather than put up with your staff.
How do you find the right frontline people for your practice?
Do you just go with hit or miss, gut feeling? How is that working for you? Do you have lots of turnover? And once hired, how do you train frontline staff? With a set and uniform program, or rather randomly?
If you have some questions or need some help with your hiring and training, AHA! Impressions is here for you. We specialize in finding the front-facing employees that will reflect the best of your practice. Contact us today for a free consultation.