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This Week’s Question: Your Patients Are in Control of Your Success?
A disturbing thing is happening to me online. My staff has brought to my attention that I’ve gotten several reviews with only 2-3 stars.
What’s bothersome is they are not complaining about their results; only little things like feeling rushed or they had to wait.
I do good work. That’s why I’m busy. I’m afraid these reviews are hurting my reputation as an excellent surgeon.
What can I do?
Hello Dr. C,
That question is getting more and more difficult to answer. Here’s what happened in the marketplace…
The old business model of “Business to Consumer” is now “Consumer to Business”.
That means, like it or not, consumers are now in control thanks to social media, forums and online reviews. When they’re not happy, they want to scream it from the rooftops, no matter how trivial you may think it is.
Here’s the harsh reality. Your patients are the key influencers over the success of your cosmetic practice. They can literally dictate your success and that is scary, unfair and frustrating.
So rather than focus your business plan on cutting costs, you would be better served focusing on a “Patient Experience Plan”.
Here’s how it works:
Patient Happiness Ambassador
Assign one key staff member to be the overseer of the patient experience. Give them a fancy title like, “Patient Happiness Ambassador”. Make a big deal out of it on your Website, in your in-house signage and in your materials. You want your prospective patients and returning patients to know you take their satisfaction seriously.
It’s her responsibility to address any patient complaints you get either in person or online or in emails. She is to do everything, within reason, to make that patient happy or, at least, neutral so they don’t escalate.
Patient Experience Exercise
Look at your practice from the patient’s point of view. Your entire team should do a physical walk-through of each step in your processes as if they were a visiting patient. And each staff person is assigned to a sense. What do they see, hear, feel, and touch as they move through your office.
The point is to identify where you are falling short. Is it the waiting, the pace of how they move from one stage to another, the setting of expectations, following up in a timely manner, etc.?
Now brainstorm how you can close up the gaps leading to patient dissatisfaction and what you can do to make it a better experience.
Oftentimes, you don’t even know there’s a problem until you see it online. That is so frustrating!
– Have your receptionist ask every patient coming to the check-out counter, “How was your experience with us today, Sara?” The goal is for the patient
to leave smiling 😉
– Email the patient a short email the evening of their visit, asking them for their feedback;
– Use SurveyMonkey.com to send out an annual brief survey asking your patients how you can do better….and then do it.
Since your patients are in the driver’s seat, you might as well see this as an opportunity to “Better your Best” and hone your customer service skills. It will pay off big time.
How have you improved your customer service protocols?
Has it helped you get better reviews or, at least, less bad reviews?
Catherine Maley, MBA is a business/marketing consultant to plastic surgeons. She speaks at medical conferences all over the world on cash practice building and trains staff to be converting rock stars. | View Author Profile | Get a Free Copy of her popular book, Your Aesthetic Practice: What Your Patients Are Saying