Updated: May 8, 2019
You can spend all kinds of money optimizing an online advertising plan to drive more patients through your office doors. But, if those new patients don't feel like they've received the best experience possible, you've lost one of the best resources available in your marketing tool kit: the patient referral.
No amount of well-crafted copy or captivating imagery can beat the real-life review from your patients after a positive experience at your office. People trust the positive (and negative) experiences other people talk about. They put value in the first-hand recollection of how a patient is treated when they scheduled their appointment. They want to hear other people's true-life experiences about how long they had to wait in the lobby, how friendly the staff was, or how much time the doctor spent listening to their unique situation.
It is just the nature of consumers to value the integrity of a review over the pizzaz of an ad. So, how do you ensure your patients are giving your practice shining reviews? You have to walk the walk.
Creating a positive encounter requires a positive office culture. That culture has to come through in everything you do. One of the best ways to get your whole staff on the same page is to re-visit your practice's purpose. What is your mission? Why does your practice exist?What is it that you hope to achieve as a result of being in business? And, what values do you want to ensure come through loud and clear as you run your practice? In other words, what is the meaning of your brand?
Once you've established what your practice stands for, you have to look at every opportunity to connect with your patient and determine if it supports your brand values. If it doesn't, how can you adjust to make the patient's experience a positive one?
For example, if your potential patient finds you through a Google search, will they get a sense of what your practice is all about from your site's homepage? Do the copy and imagery promote your brand's personality? Is your site easy to navigate - can they schedule an appointment easily? Have someone not associated with your practice review your site and provide their honest feedback. Be willing to make changes in order to optimize the online experience so potential patients feel right at ease from their very first interaction with your practice.
What do they feel like when they enter your lobby for the first time? Is it warm and welcoming? Or are they made to feel like just another number as your staff goes through the motions to get them back into a patient room? Train your staff on how to delight the patient every step of the way. Cover every detail such as how patients are greeted and made to feel like they are genuinely valued at your practice, what materials they receive as a new patient, and how your office follows up after they have long left the office.
If you delight your patients and provide them with the best experience possible, they will have no problem giving your practice rave reviews. When your community starts talking about how great your practice is, your practice grows.
If you're not sure how your patients feel about your practice, it's time to start asking for feedback. It's better to know how you're doing and work to resolve issues than to let the issues go unfixed and lose a potential practice evangelist. A continuous feedback loop is the best way to stay ahead of any culture issues that need your attention immediately.
If you don't have an electronic means to gather feedback, download a complimentary patient experience evaluation form.
Use the positive reviews as content on your social platforms to let people know how your patients feel about their experience. Didn't get rave reviews? Don't fret – but do something! This is a perfect opportunity to make things right with a personal follow up or a complimentary service to help win back someone who felt their experience wasn't up to par. Turn that frown upside down!
When your office culture strives to create a positive patient experience, you'll be amazed at how the stress levels go down and how job satisfaction goes up.
Investing in a better patient experience can attract more patients and help your practice grow. Schedule a free strategy call to get you practice on the fast path to growth.