Help Your Patients Help You: The Importance of Customer Service

It seems like a no-brainer, but customer service is all about your customers. It involves more than just fulfilling requests or offering discounts. To get it right, you have to understand your customers – and know what they want. For physician offices, this means understanding your patients.

Think about it: If you never ask your patients for feedback, how do you know what they are looking for in a doctor’s visit? Lack of patient understanding can result in:

  • Weak doctor-patient relationships
  • Lost patients
  • Poor reputation, once your unsatisfied patients spread the word

So, what are the most important things to know about good customer service? SRS recently conducted an interview with a client development manager in the Health IT industry. Here, he discusses negative and positive feedback, his interpretation of customer service, and the importance of word of mouth:

Q: What is the most important thing to understand about customer feedback?

Obviously, it is always nice to hear positive feedback, but negative feedback is most important because it allows a company to look at their product from a different perspective, which can lead to identifying areas for further development. The negative feedback gives a company the chance to fix what is wrong by first addressing the situation, developing a plan, and resolving it as quickly as possible. These three simple steps can help you turn negative feedback into positive feedback, and an unhappy customer to a satisfied one.

Q: If a client is unhappy with your service, what do you do to fix it?

I address the problem immediately. Because our clients are very important to us, issues are not something we can pass by. The faster we can solve the issue, the better the feedback and the stronger the relationship with our clients.

Q: What impact does an unhappy customer have on a company?

In my opinion, it is almost like a trickledown effect: If a client is not happy with our service or product, they are going to spread the word. As a result, we lose a client and opportunities to gain new ones.  An unhappy client can damage a company’s reputation within five seconds.

Q: What impact does a good relationship with a client have on a company?

Happy customers talk to prospective customers about the good decision they made by going with our product. Who wouldn’t want to show off a good decision? When a prospect is considering a product, they want to hear other people’s thoughts.  When we have good relationships, it proves we are confident in our product to the prospect, so they can be confident in us.

Q: What does good customer service mean to you?

My interpretation of good customer service is all about going above and beyond what is necessary. There are people who do just enough of what is needed, and then there are the people who take pride in their work and the company they are representing. These are the people who get true enjoyment from helping someone with a problem, or helping them learn something new.

Good customer service starts with feedback, so here are a few suggestions for gathering it from patients:

  • Ask visitors to fill out questionnaires upon completion of their appointment.
  • Place a suggestion box at the reception desk.
  • Use a patient portal for better communication with your customers.

Once you have good customer service conquered, here are just a few of the benefits to be reaped:

  • More regular patients
  • More referrals from word of mouth
  • Great online reviews

Happy serving!

Did we miss something? Share one of your most memorable patient experiences, and how you feel it improved your overall customer service in the comment section. We’ll be sure to give feedback and possibly feature your tips in future blog posts!

 

Related posts:

  1. Managing Meaningful Use: Customer Support Is Imperative
  2. Brand Marketing: The Experience is Everything
  3. Meaningful Use: Why It Matters For Patients
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