Patient or Customer?
It is all too easy to fall into the trap of seeing clients as a patient rather than as a customer. The origins of our expertise often lie within the NHS. Now we have nothing but admiration for the health care system in the UK and the hard working people who work tirelessly to bring us back to health.
As therapy business owners we need to be aware that increasingly our clients view us through a customer lens. The standards that they experience from the best retail or hospitality organisations set the bar for our clients. So, if we see them as patients and build a culture around our team that promotes the expertise of the clinic and has a focus upon your internal processes at the cost of meeting the client’s need then we have a business need to attend.
We are not saying that expert guidance and advice do not count. Quite the reverse. However, the way that we interact with our clients must be more aligned to excellent customer service rather than a batch process.
Let me share a recent experience to illustrate the point. By chance, my wife and I had dental appointments on the same day at different practices. We both have long standing relationships with our respective dentists. So, trust exists along with an expectation of good service.
Building Customer Trust
Our experiences could not have been more different. One dentist was in touch a few days before to establish a connection and to talk through the approach that the dentist would take. All questions were answered in the call. A reminder was sent the day before the appointment. On the day the dentist and team surpassed the time taken in preparation call and gave a great service.
Patients Wait in Line
The alternative experience was quite the reverse. No pre call. A phone call to the dentist resulting in a message on the voice mail saying that they were very business and to email. Two emails later and still no response. So, on the day whilst the on site process was ok as far as it got the real let down was the fact that when the appointment has been booked months ago the CRM had not recorded the appointment.
A rebooked was offered. The receptionist made an excuse that the CRM showed no record and no deletion of the appointment. So, in effect, it was a patient error. Despite the fact that the further appointment booked at the same time and due in November was in the system.
Getting It Right First Time
In one case we have an even stronger relationship built by thinking about the patient as a customer, and in the other a story to share amongst friends that can do significant damage to reputation.
Now I appreciate that a therapy business is not a dental practice. For me, the patient/client/customer relationship is the same.
Understanding Your Own Practice
How confident are you that your clinic offers first class customer service and a customer journey to match to every client that you help to recovery? We often find that despite the best efforts business owners can always improve the experience.
We have developed an eBook on our ten step customer journey to download a free copy please click here.