With the medical industry having one of the worst reputations when it comes to the customer experience, clinics tend to exist out of necessity rather than customer satisfaction. While all businesses exist to alleviate a pain point, every other industry focuses on the customer’s comfort and satisfaction. So, why is that a rarity in the medical field industry?
It is easy to view patients through a different lens since you see them at their worst, but if you were to change your focus and approach them as a customer, your patients, employees, and clinic will all begin to thrive.
Why Customer Experience Matters
It is often difficult to fully grasp why the customer experience matters. This can be especially true in the medical field, as efficiency tends to have the highest focus. While being efficient is essential, understanding why the customer experience should take a front seat to most other elements of your clinic’s operation is key to driving your clinic into a prosperous future.
Here are just a few reasons why the customer experience is crucial for the future of your clinic:
Patient Loyalty and Retention: If your clinic is not focused on the customer experience, it is likely that your customers only return out of necessity. As the world moves towards a more digital platform, telehealth is quickly becoming a viable option for most non-emergency medical needs. Customers that have been visiting your clinic for years now have the option to transfer their files into another office hundreds of miles away, where they feel they are getting better service.
A positive customer experience will prevent this. Focusing on your patient’s experience will result in their loyalty to your clinic and ensure that they continue to return for their care for years to come.
Customer Reviews: Social proof is the backbone of the next generation’s way of shopping. Your clinic can have cutting-edge technology and the most talented staff in the country, but a few bad reviews can cause potential patients to seek medical assistance elsewhere. Reading, “I had to wait for an hour just for my doctor to be late,” tells your patients and future patients that you don’t care about them.
Focusing on a positive customer experience will eliminate this problem altogether. Unfortunately, most people only leave reviews when they have a bad experience, so providing every customer with the best experience possible will mitigate the negative social proof.
Pleasant Atmosphere: One of the most stressful places for customers and employees is the waiting room of a clinic. Patients often have heightened blood pressure due to the fear of the doctor’s office alone and pile on top of that potential illness and an unpleasant experience, and the atmosphere is unpleasant for all parties involved.
Focusing on the customer experience will enhance the overall atmosphere. Doing everything possible to reduce the stress and discomfort of your patients cannot eliminate some volatility caused by the unpleasant nature surrounding a doctor visit.
Enhances Reputation: Just like a negative review can damage your clinic’s reputation and cause future customers to seek medical assistance elsewhere, positive reviews and word of mouth can lead to new loyal customers. This is one of the most important aspects of any clinic, as customers are the backbone of your business. Creating a positive customer experience will lead to future satisfied customers that tell others about your clinic.
Impacts Your Bottom Line: At the end of the day, aside from healthy customers and happy employees, your biggest concern is likely your bottom line. Shifting your focus towards a more customer-centric approach will reduce costs and downtime and result in more customers that will continue visiting your clinic for years to come as they tell others about the positive experience they had. This will lead to more customers and greater gross profit.
How to Enhance the Customer Experience in Your Clinic
- Offer Employees More Control: Your customer’s schedules can change on a dime, and may need to reschedule, cancel, or come in later. Offering your employees more control over what they can do to satisfy the customer will enhance the overall customer experience.
- Take Advantage of Technology: We are quickly moving into a more technological world. While your clinic may primarily service an older clientele that may not be technologically savvy, Millennials and Generation Z are now the largest demographic in the world. Catering to their way of operation will enhance the customer experience of future patients. NOTE: Fully train employees on how to use technology and also don’t forget to cater to your less technologically advanced customers.
- Proactive Personalized Approach: One of the fundamental cornerstones to leadership and socialization is the use of someone’s name. Focusing on a personalized approach will make your customers happy and will lead to a greater customer experience.
- Customer Surveys and Feedback: Your clinic may already have customer surveys to gain feedback, but these are often looked at as an assault on day-to-day operations. If more customers than not suggest a change, doing so will lead to a greater customer experience.
- Loyalty Programs: In the medical industry, loyalty programs can be difficult to navigate, but finding a way to engage your customer’s loyalty will make them happy and enhance the overall customer experience. Maybe implementing a health-based check-in system where your customers can document day-to-day activities through an app to earn discounts on services can lead to happier customers.
- Understand Who Your Customers Are: You are aware of the ailments that afflict the customers that come to your clinic but are you aware of your clientele? Focusing on who your current customers are and what they need can help you operate in a more proactive manner. This will lead to more satisfied returning customers.
- Be Innovative: Technology and the way things operate are changing at an almost daily rate. Keeping up with the changes and implementing new customer service and technological strategies will inevitably lead to a greater overall customer experience.
- Say Thank You: While this sounds like a strange thing to focus on, it is often easy to forget that your patients are people and customers. Treating them kindly with a “Thank you for coming” can be the difference between a lost customer and one that continues to return for the rest of their lives. It’s the little things that count.
There are more ways to enhance the customer experience, but these simple steps will be the difference between lost customers and lifelong loyal megaphones that tell others about your clinic.
Transform Your Clinic
With the world changing every day, focusing on an outside-in approach can transform your entire clinic. Everyone from your customers to your employees will have a much more pleasant experience that will have a positive impact on your bottom line.
If your clinic does not have a system in place where its day-to-day activities are focusing on a positive customer experience, it is time to make a change. Your competition is likely already taking steps to reach their customers in a way that is appropriate for the current year. Take steps to create a more pleasant customer experience and watch your clinic prosper.