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Fast Tips - IV: Extraordinary Service
Jun 14, 2004, 16:45


Regular service is not enough. Your service must be extraordinary. Actually, that is not really hard to do today. The care that is provided by many service companies, including health care clinics, is very poor, and by some estimates, getting worse. With a lack of quality employees, high turnover, the stresses of insurance cutbacks, and higher overhead, staff services are less than what they once were. Yet, more than ever in this e-world of internet transactions, the companies that provide the best personalized service are the ones that will not only retain their patients and customers, but will be the ones that generate the most word of mouth referrals. Here are some tips to improve service:

1. No Waiting. This is a consistent complaint from patients in our office surveys. If a patient has to wait more than 15 minutes, give them the service for free. That is a penalty for you and the staff, and an incentive to remedy one of the most common patient complaints. Also, give patients something to do if they have to wait, such as a survey, a success story form, an interesting chat with a staff member, an upbeat magazine that they are interested in, etc.

2. Personalize. Learn something new about each patient each day. This could be where they grew up, if they have ever ridden a horse, whether or not they hunt or knit, or what is their favorite type of pie. Ask the staff to do the same. This will force you to be interested in each patient as a unique person, and not just the 342nd office visit for the week.

3. Sweet Day. Have a desert day! Make it at the end of the month and provide deserts for everyone who has kept their schedule (more or less -- donít be too strict!) for the entire month. Survey your patients during the month for their favorite deserts, and give them multiple choices, as simple as possible. Remove all guilt by promising that there will be no sugar or fat added, and that they all deserve the deserts anyway. You will get no arguments, and you will be very popular.

4. First Visit Calls. This is an old standby. The doctor should call the new patient after the first adjustment. Call the patient from your car on the way home, from a restaurant, or while you are skydiving after work. Make it short and sweet, and your patients will be very impressed by this demonstration of your personalized care.

5. Golden Rule. Treat each other, staff and doctors, in a way that provides the most service to each other. How can I make your job better? What can I do from my job that will help you do yours? These questions can be asked amongst staff members and doctors. By giving extraordinary service to each other, you will set an example and create a climate for extraordinary service to the patients of your clinic.


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