As health care providers, we are in a service industry. We also have a retail component to our business. As such, the patient experience is a critical factor that often determines the success of an ECP’s practice. Patients who feel appreciated are far more likely to be enthusiastic about – and make referrals to – your practice. Educate your staff on this topic and review it regularly; make sure they understand the financial impact each individual patient can have over their years of care in your office.
Referrals Have an Exponential Impact
Patients who refer are business multipliers; they create far more revenue for your business than they spend personally. Take a moment to think about the exponential impact of one enthusiastic patient. The average revenue generated by an annual comprehensive examination and related optical goods is $350. Multiply that times 20 years. Now add the same amount for a couple of family members. Consider the fact that there are likely to be some medical visits associated over the years as well. Add to that a few friends that may be referred and their families. It becomes evident that a single loyal patient is a valuable asset and can easily be responsible for generating $25,000 or more revenue over time.
Simple Messages that Create Enthusiastic Patients
Show your patients that you care about them, and they can expect a great patient experience through simple messages – supported by action. Appoint someone on your staff to be responsible for each of these tasks – or create your own – and follow up consistently to ensure they are being completed. Make it one of your business values to create enthusiastic patients (and drive your business!).
We’re glad to see you. Warmly greet patients by name and smile as they enter the clinic – this sounds trivial, but is often neglected and truly sets the tone for the visit. Personable front desk staff is essential.
We know your name. Find out how the patient would like to be addressed at their first visit and use a field in the EHR to document that. All staff should address the patient as the patient prefers.
We are grateful you chose us. Doctors, opticians and sign out staff should thank the patient for choosing the practice.
We care about your satisfaction. Communicate in some fashion with any patient who has a special circumstance that was unplanned. For instance, call to follow up with any patient whose glasses needed to be remade.
We hear your opinion. Appoint a staff member to monitor any online reviews for the practice and be sure to thank those who give good reviews and respond to any negative reviews with an offer to resolve any complaint.