Setting Expectations For Patients

This podcast will help you to identify areas in your practice that if improved, can lead to better customer service, happier staff, and happier patients.

Quality over Quantity

That is to say – invest in the quality of service you give to your existing clients vs. investing time and dollars into trying to acquire new patients.  A strong practice thrives on word of mouth referrals.  Word of mouth referrals occur more when your customers are being served at the highest level.

I have trained a number of doctors who put all of their energy, effort, and dollars into trying to acquire new patients.  And although you should have a marketing plan that addresses new patient acquisition, you should not solely rely on new patients for the success of your practice.

The old saying, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” perfectly illustrates the attitude you should have when it comes to your client/patient/customer base.  Treating your existing clientele with white gloves and stellar customer service should be an area of major focus in your practice.  Remember that it is far easier to deliver high value service to the people who already know, like, and trust you, than it is to ask strangers to spend money with you. 

Customer Service Systems You Should Implement

Setting Expectations

You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.  Set expectations and clear boundaries around what you and your staff can and will do.  Differentiate those things from what you will not do or what is unreasonable for people to expect.  Clarifying this works as a filtering system.  It can filter out people who have unrealistic expectations from becoming a patient in your office.  It also establishes protocol and systems that train your patients on how your office actually works.

The mother of customer service satisfaction is setting up your patients with realistic expectations.  For example, you should establish a “what to expect from us” document in your practice, and have your team implement and communicate this to all of your existing patients. 

Most complaints come from patients who lack expectations about your care.  Consider starting with a few simple things:

  • How patients go about scheduling appointments
  • What are you average or estimated costs
  • How patients communicate simple questions to you.
  • Office wait times
  • Scheduling wait times
  • How patients perform lab testing
  • How patients order and re-order supplements
  • Nutritional protocol side effects
  • Patient responsibilities vs. doctor and staff responsibilities

Follow up communications that deliver automated education.

It is very natural for patients to have 100’s of questions.  Even after you have spent time educating them.  Part of stellar customer service is delivering up the answers to these questions in educational videos and blog articles.  You should gather the most frequently asked questions and concerns of your patients and strategically create content designed to answer them. 

Once you have done this, you can deliver the information automatically via email autoresponders.  This can include information about:

  • Diet recommendations
  • Recipes
  • Lifestyle alterations
  • Exercise
  • Stress management
  • Sleep…etc

Delivering this type of information after appointments can not only help your patients, but it can save your staff time as well.  The more questions you answer, the more guidance you give, the happier and more educated your patients become.  And when your patients are happy and educated, they get healthier.  This leads to unstoppable word of mouth growth in your practice.

Dr. Peter Osborne

Dr. Peter Osborne