Some time ago I attended a seminar presented by the uber-service conscience team from the Ritz Carlton on the topic of “Legendary Service”. I thought it might help our readers by sharing some of the important points.

Why do patients leave a practice?

  • 9% leave due to competitors
  • 10% leave due to other reasons
  • 14% leave because they are dissatisfied with the service or product
  • 67% leave due to the attitude or indifference on the part of the employees

Remember, your patients judge you by the responsiveness of the FIRST person they come in contact with–your receptionist and front desk personnel.

Redirection is costly

The cost of redirecting a patient to solve a problem is high. To figure out the cost, just add an extra “0” to the end. For example, if it costs $5 for a front desk personnel to perform a task, the same task, if passed on to a supervisor, will cost $50. Consequently, if the physician/owner is brought into the mix, the cost increases to $500! To keep the cost of solving problems low and reasonable, make it a norm that whoever receives a complaint should own it and handle it and not pass it on to another person. Furthermore, after a complaint is resolved, it is always a good idea to record the complaints and share it with the others in the office for educational purposes.

Problem Resolution Steps

To help resolve complaints, use the following steps:

  • Start by letting the individual vent.  There is no need to make matters worse.
  • Apologize! Remember that apologizing does NOT mean it is your fault, you are acknowledging that their expectations were not met.
  • Use appropriate language.
  • Do not play the blame game:
    • Do not blame the individual who is complaining
    • Do not blame the supervisor
    • Do not blame another person
  • Make sure the resolution fits the problem. If the complaint is about scheduling, try to accommodate the patient with a reasonable time slot.
  • Personalize the resolution to truly delight the individual. Make the solution memorable for the patient. For example, if they have been waiting for a very long time to see the doctor, consider offering a $5 gift card from the local coffee shop.
  • If the individual is not satisfied with the resolution, offer a reasonable alternative. The staff at the Ritz Carlton are allowed to spend a reasonable amount to make their customers happy.
  • Finally, ask probing questions to ensure the individual is satisfied. Don’t let the person leave with any feeling of uneasiness.
  • Keep in mind, health care is a service business–no different from Ritz Carlton or Hilton or Disney!

    Call Us Text Us
    Skip to content