It’s hard to imagine customer service and patient experience as anything different than what we have today. These days, we often trust our doctors, dentists, and nurses to not only be caring, empathetic, and supportive, but also honest. With the rise of competition, providing excellent patient care and customer service has never been more important in our industry as it is today.
In an effort to maintain high standards of customer service, many large healthcare establishments are choosing to add patient experience experts to their staff. However, if you are a small practice, this might be something that’s out of your budget or something that you don’t need. But don’t worry! In this article, we’ll guide you through four steps to improving the patient experience within your own office and staff.
Patient Experience Tip #1: Getting everyone invested and involved
Just saying that you want to improve patient experience can be vague and difficult to understand. It’s recommended that you get all your staff together to discuss ideas and strategies. Each faction of staff can provide their own unique views on problem areas and may have suggestions to fix them. Most importantly, you want to make sure that everyone leaves with the same clear expectation and set plan.
Patient Experience Tip #2: Actively listening to patient needs
While it may sound obvious, actively listening to a patient’s needs can be easier than it sounds. With a constant flow of patients, many members of staff have to quickly move on to the next in order to keep to the schedule. It’s unlikely that your staff, who may already be overworked, will have the leisure of finding the time to listen to what your patients are saying.
With so much time spent checking patients in and out, your patients may not feel like they are being heard. This can be dangerous, as studies have shown that 33% of people will consider switching providers after just one case of bad customer service. You don’t want to ignore a patient’s feedback only to find it in a bad review on a public place for all to see.
U R DU’s team is made up of experienced dental professionals who understand how big of a deal this is, perhaps better than anyone. That’s why we have services that are designed to help you build connections with your customer base without having to burden your staff. Talk to us about how we can also listen to and collect feedback from your patients on your behalf!
Patient Experience Tip #3: Improving internal communication
If you’ve been in business for a long time, you may know what happens when communication breaks down. This can be subtle and happen slowly over a length of time. But when it does happen, it can be devastating. Miscommunication creates all kinds of problems that often require more time and resources to correct than if they had been clarified in the first place. In an environment like your dental practice, inaccurate communication can lead to hazardous errors in which you are liable.
As a business owner, it’s important to maintain harmonious relationships between staff. Improve morale by not just remembering birthdays, but also by taking the time to listen to what your staff have to say. Consider establishing solid communication protocols that everyone should adhere to. This way, communication will always be consistent and clear, even in the event of a breakdown in relationships between staff.
With team members and supervisors no longer focused on hounding, reminding, or blaming, ideally your staff will be able to function as a unified team that has a greater respect for each other. This leads to more civility in the office, which has a direct impact on patient satisfaction! Studies show that rudeness results in a more than 10% increase in diagnostic and procedural errors. Improving internal communication can do wonders for your team!
Bonus Tip: Sparing staff excessive administrative work
While surveys for patient feedback and automated recall systems are available, making time to forge a human connection with your patients can go a long way. An excellent patient experience is not just about how all the moving parts sync together; it’s about connection. As people, we all crave a connection and relationship that is meaningful. Nothing is more special than being greeted by a real person who also takes an interest in what your dog picked up that day or how your kids are doing at school.
Unfortunately, being able to converse with your patients like this is a luxury that many clinics cannot afford. With the burden of filling out forms, requisitions, ordering supplies, and now of properly and regularly sanitizing surfaces around the office, most staff are stretched thinner than ever before.
U R DU was founded to help exactly this problem. With experts who are familiar with clinic management and patient recall, we can help develop connections with your patients while also relieving your staff of the huge burden of tracking appointments and contacting patients. This allows you to improve office efficiency while still maximizing your booking potentials, all without placing extra stress on your staff.
Crafting a high-quality patient experience requires involvement from every person in your organization. By including your staff in important decision-making processes, you aren’t just getting them all on the same page; you’re also letting them know that you value them as more than just work machines. With everyone following a cohesive plan, it won’t be long before you can see great results and feedback from your happy patients.
At U R DU, we’re passionate about patient care and we’re excited to get to work for you. If you are curious about how our services can help your office function better, talk to us today. Patient recall doesn’t have to feel like pulling teeth. We’re here to help!