It’s April, and this month we will turn our attention to improving customer service to help retain patients. There are so many small things that you can do to improve your patients’ experience that will have a big impact on your patients’ experience. We will kick off with part one of a three-part series about how and why you should listen to your patients.

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Are you listening to your patients?
Communication Breakdown

Did you know that studies indicate that 80% of practices believe they have great customer service. However, only about 8% of patients rate their experience that way.

Where does the breakdown occur? To find the answer, you have to ask your patients. Speaking of listening to patients, when was the last time you surveyed your patients to learn about their satisfaction with your practice?

The truth is we forget to find out how we are doing because we are too busy trying to see our patients. But, advancements in technology have made it much easier for you to assess patient satisfaction.

Some practice management software programs have the capability to automatically send a brief email survey to the patient after his/her visit. The software will even summarize the data for you. You can also use online resources like SurveyMonkey and send them yourself. Written surveys are still effective and can be mailed with a postage-paid reply envelope to help improve response rates. For a low cost option, place a suggestion box in the waiting room at checkout so your patients can tell you how you are doing. Be sure to keep paper and a pen near the survey box to encourage feedback.

Keeping your survey short and to the point will help improve response rates. The national average for returning a survey is about 20%. While this number may seem low to you, this is 20% more feedback than you have without doing the survey.

Don’t be afraid to learn what your patients think. The information you receive provides you with an excellent opportunity to grow your practice by learning what your patients want as well as what they don’t want.

It is certainly better that your patients tell you rather than all of their friends–or, even worse, that they go to another practice down the street and never give you the chance to keep them as a patient.

Stay tuned…next week we will talk about what to do with the results of your survey.

If you have questions about this topic or any other issues around the business of medicine, contact us via email or call us at 800-635-4040.