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How Customer Service Effects Medical Practice Bottom Line

October 29, 2013

Improve your medical practices customer serviceWhether positive or negative, NCBR reports the quality of your customer service will impact your bottom line. When phones ring endlessly unanswered, the front desk person ignores arriving customers and complaints are not addressed, businesses lose customers.

Lee Resources, a coaching and web consulting firm, observed that for each complain received, 26 other customers have complaints that remain unvoiced. Today there are two primary ways to communicate, in person and on the internet. Complaints and praises made on the internet are somewhat lasting.

According to a Peppers and Rogers Group survey, good customer service is beneficial to your business. A tangible result is that 81% of companies with strong customer service capabilities are outperforming their competition.

If your bottom line is declining, consider creating an employee training program that expands employee knowledge to include all aspects of your services. This is important because good sales require a strong knowledge base.

Investing in your front office strengthens your bottom line

A sad fact of many medical practices, according to Modern Medicine, is that front office employees are treated as the least important staff members. These employees, however, interact more heavily with more of your patients than many other staff members. They greet patients when they arrive, schedule their next visits, collect co-payments, and interact with them on the phone. They play an integral role in both customer service and practice operations. If they are anxious, on edge or unpleasant, it will be noticed and the entire practice may be impacted.

Many medical practitioners have little understanding of how the front office impacts their bottom line. Many doctors have almost no interaction with front office staff while striving for total immersion in medicine. This kind of tunnel vision is likely to negatively impact your practice. Doctors need to be involved in practice management as well as patient care, and this includes the front office.

Action you can take to improve overall customer care

According to Diagnostic Imaging, when your patients feel they are treated well they will praise you, send you referrals and endeavor to pay you on time. Educating your employees on how to make a good impression is worthwhile. This is even more important for your front desk staff. Keeping promises such a “I’ll get you test results by Monday,” is also important. Keeping someone waiting anxiously is not supportive. Both your staff and clients need to be treated with respect. Make each interaction takeaway one of information satisfaction, but never one of negative emotion. Train your employees to do good work. Correct them when they make a mistake, politely but firmly.

Industry specific customer service training is beneficial. Customer complaints should be dealt with carefully. When approached properly these can be opportunities to create lifetime loyalty. When your first assumption is that your patient is telling the truth, you will set the right tone for a good outcome.

Historically as a medical practitioner, your reputation in the community was essential to your success. Today your online reputation is equally important. One of the essential contributors to that reputation is the customer service your patients receive from office staff as well, as well as from medical personnel both in person and over the phone. Communicating clearly, with respect and with accuracy about medical and billing issues will help you maintain your hard earned reputation in the pristine state needed for optimal return on investment. Geography or convenience may be what led a client to your practice. Courtesy and professional treatment from all staff members is what will keep your client in your practice and potentially bring you new clientele.

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