How to Supercharge Your Practice’s Customer Service Experience
What would you say makes the patient experience at your plastic surgery practice memorable?
Obviously, your results will be memorable (as your patients will be looking at them in the mirror every morning), but what about the other things? The overall customer service experience is something that can often be overlooked at an aesthetics practice. Remember that as the owner of a practice, you are also the owner of a small business. You need to offer your patients/customers a fantastic experience from beginning (the minute they call your office) to the end (when they see their final results), and even after that. Here are a few things to think about that could supercharge your practice’s customer service experience.
Improve Your Phone Experience
As a customer, few things are as annoying as a frustrating phone call with a company. Automated phone trees (Press #1 for yes, press #2 for maybe, press #3 if you aren’t sure…) can drive a customer crazy. And don’t even get me started on the experience of being kept on hold.
One of the best ways you can improve your practice’s telephone experience is to provide your staff with telephone training. Chances are that the very first point of person-to-person contact at your practice is going to be on the phone, so you need to make sure that experience is as frictionless as possible.
Phones should always be answered as quickly as possible, as no one likes to be kept waiting. The longer they have to wait on their end of the line, the faster their opinion of your practice will drop. Once your employee is talking to them, there should be multiple call-to-action opportunities offered, including asking them if they would like to make an appointment as soon as possible.
If things are so busy at the office that the person on the other end must be put on hold, be sure that they have a say in the matter. Instead of rudely saying, “Dr. Smith’s office, hold please,” you employee should ask them if they would like to be put on hold or would prefer to call back later. Customers will greatly appreciate being given a chance to respond before your employee hits the hold button.
Manage Distractions in the Office
Mobile devices have revolutionized the way we communicate, but have also become the bane of any company trying to offer a fantastic customer service experience.
The slightest buzz from one of our devices can instantly grab our attention, so allowing your employees to have them while they are working can be a considerable drain on their concentration, taking their focus away from your customers. Even if they ignore a text or phone call because they are doing something, their mind may be churning away in the background, thinking about who it might have been. While at work, communication with family and friends should be emergency only. If someone needs to get in contact with one of your employees, they should call your practice directly.
This policy should also apply to personal computers. When someone is on their own computer at the office, even if they are doing work-related activities, there is always the possibility of playing Minesweeper or checking their email. If they need to use a computer, they should be using a workplace computer. The focus of your staff should always be on your patients, not on their communication devices.
Find Moments to Excel
Books can (and have) been written about the customer service experience offered at Disney theme parks. It’s inspiring when you read some of the stories from guests of the park whose vacations were made by one unexpected gesture by the “cast members” who work there. These are called Magical Moments and everyone who works there is always on the lookout to provide them. It could be something as small as giving a small child a new ice cream to replace the one they dropped on the ground, to something as big as an unexpected room upgrade.
Now, it can be tough to replicate the “magic” of these moments at your plastic surgery practice, but you and your staff should always be on the lookout for them. Little touches, like candy at the front desk for the kids (or adults), can go a long way. If your practice makes any kind of mistake, like a dropped appointment, be sure to provide that patient with some sort of compensation immediately, like a special offer or a small amount off their procedure. You and your staff should never have to strive to exceed your patients’ expectations, because that should be the norm.
No matter how good the service at your practice, eventually you are going to have to deal with the fallout of a negative customer experience. It could be for any reason, real or imagined; it doesn’t matter. You need to treat a customer complaint with the utmost attention, especially when you are an aesthetics firm that works with people’s appearances.
If the complaint is delivered to your front desk staff, they should take every step available to address the patient’s concerns. If they can’t adequately address the complaint, they should immediately escalate to someone who can. More than anything, you want the upset or angry patient to feel that they are being listened to, rather than ignored.
If a complaint about your practice is posted online, perhaps on Yelp or another review service, then you should sign up for that service immediately to address the complaint. Even if you can’t do anything to help them, future visitors to that site will see that you made an attempt, reflecting well on your level of customer service.
Compared to most other industries, plastic surgery customers and patients tend to be dealing with high levels of stress. After all, this is their personal appearance that’s on the line here! It’s vital that you and your staff do everything you can to help them have a great experience at your practice, beginning to end. If you provide them with a positive experience, even if there are a few hiccups along the way, they will likely come back to you in the future for more procedures, or even better, refer some of their friends!
If you’d like to learn more about how you can improve your practice’s overall customer service experience, please visit our website at premierphysicianmarketing.com.