The Four Components of Great Service
Great service to your patients/clients is one of the most important factors required to build a successful and thriving practice. Under the heading of great service, you will find the following key components: convenience, communication, cost and quality, and the importance of your service as perceived by the patient/client.
Convenience: Consider the location of your practice. People generally select a service based on how convenient it will be for them to get to the location. Surveys and studies show that well over half of the public selects their healthcare services because of a conveniently located facility.
Are your hours structured to meet the needs of your patients/clients? Most people operate on a very hectic schedule and will actively seek out those practices that offer convenient or flexible hours. Practices that really work at ways to make it more convenient for their patients/clients to use their services will surely reap the rewards for their efforts.
Communication: Words are not the only way in which communication occurs. Appearances and actions weigh equally as important in conveying an idea or concept to your patients/clients. Look at your staff, building, reception area, signs, business cards, letters, etc. What do these communicate to the public?
Decide exactly what it is that you wish to communicate to your patients/clients and prospective patients/clients. Then convey that in not only verbal communication, but in all of the above categories as well. Teach your staff to do the same.
Cost and Quality: The cost of your services is directly related to the quality of service that you deliver to your patients/clients. Your patients/clients will never feel that your fees are too high (or even really think about it for that matter) if they perceive the quality of service to be valuable. If you provide inferior or slow service, it will almost automatically make your fees appear to be too high. Again, patients/clients will take into account the amount of time that they had to wait, the appearance of staff and facility, and the demeanor of those servicing them.
Communication ties in with this area. Ensure that your patients/clients know what you are doing. Talk to them during the examination and explain what you are doing and why. This impacts the patient/client’s impression of the fairness of your fees. Clear and professional communication with your patients/clients helps ensure that they go away satisfied that they had received excellent value for what they paid.
Importance: Although you may perform valuable services, it is most important that the patient/client perceives how important the service is. This presents you with a marketing challenge. A large percentage of the population do not visit their doctors often enough.
This only indicates that the importance of regular exams has not been conveyed effectively to the public at large or even to some of your patients/clients.
National health educational campaigns are designed to increase the public’s perception about health and the importance of regularly visiting all of their family doctors. You cannot, however, rely solely on that type of campaign alone. It is vital that you take every opportunity to provide education to your patients/clients and to raise their “IQ” in the area of good health. The more that they know, the more likely they are to use and appreciate your services and to tell others about you.
Provide a variety of brochures, put out a monthly newsletter, and create your own handouts. Train your staff to educate your patients/clients. Maintain awareness in the practice that an educated patient/client is a more compliant patient/client and one who is much more likely to refer new people to your practice.