For example, if your front desk employees never look up from their computers, patients feel ignored. Throw in an impersonal sign saying, “WAIT HERE. DO NOT APPROACH FRONT DESK UNTIL CALLED” and a desire to create privacy might create an adversarial feeling in the gut of waiting patients.
Imagine this change in a one-doctor practice: the front desk person glances at the time and the schedule as a patient approaches the front desk and issues the following greeting while smiling:
“Hello! Are you here for your three o’clock appointment? (Continuing after the patient confirms she is indeed the expected patient.) Welcome back to the office Mrs. Smith. If you would be so kind as to sign in, I’ll be generating your paperwork in a moment. (Pause.) It’s good to see you again, by the way.”
This word pattern is easily adapted for a multi-doctor practice.
Can you imagine the rapport that has been established? This word pattern gets the patient experience moving in the right direction! He or she will appear to naturally relate well to others. Fortunately, for those of us that are more task-focused, the ability to accomplish more through encouragement and persuasion is a learned skill. Let’s call it the ‘I Care EQ’ advantage.
All practices obtain some word-of-mouth referrals from happy patients, but some practices receive a huge amount. Why is that? A growing body of evidence suggests it is because of the natural or developed EQ of doctors and staff. Simply put, a core of happy patients recommends you to others and then they recommend others to you, and so on.
Word-of-mouth referral occurs when patients are beyond satisfied with your services. We must set a higher goal than merely satisfied. We must reach for enthusiastic. We achieve that through the patient experience.