Whether or not you think of your patients as customers, customer service is an essential part of your practice as a chiropractor.
As such, it is important for you to provide excellent customer service in every form of communication with your patients and with the public.
Some chiropractors, however, are not familiar with customer service know-how or rely on their staff members to provide customer service. Others believe that customer service is much less important than it is.
Poor customer service can frustrate your patients who may have legitimate reasons to complain and they might even leave your practice. Thankfully, there are ways that you can readily provide a better customer experience and improve the service you offer.
Essential customer service considerations
Everyone needs respect—including your patients. Give everyone who walks through your door respect by listening and paying attention to their needs.
By trying to understand your patients’ needs, you’ll be demonstrating respect and concern for their interests.
Consider how each of these areas impacts your clinical practice:
Hospitality: Offering a friendly environment where your patients feel comfortable and at ease.
Quality care: It almost goes without saying that a key aspect of customer service is providing high-quality care. If you provide great health care, your patients will see how important their health is to you.
Fairness: Of course, you’ll want to treat your patients fairly, even if you’re frustrated or you’ve had a bad day. Teach your staff members to do the same thing. Thinking before you speak can go a long way, too.
Team training: Provide training in customer service and have a customer service manual or policy in place. That way, everyone on your team knows what your expect of them and they’ll be better able to deliver a high-quality customer experience.
Feedback: Provide a way for patients to leave feedback about your clinic. When you receive negative feedback, it’s important to respond promptly and politely. And you may need to keep your emotions in check, too. This is an essential skill to teach your team as well.
Attention and focus: Don’t be indifferent. During every encounter, keep the focus on your patients whenever reasonably possible. Pay attention to them even when you’re trying to balance other things such as charting or dictating notes.
Appreciation: Make sure your patients know that you appreciate them. Recognizing their birthdays, giving back to your community, providing special opportunities to learn more about health through seminars, or offering special deals and discounts from other local businesses are fun ways you can show your patients how much you appreciate them. If one of your patients provides a referral, be sure to thank them.
An attitude of focus and caring in your work clearly shows that you take your job seriously and appreciate your patients.
Customer service and communications
In your external communications with patients through email, social media and other methods, it is critical to maintain a professional demeanor.
Continue to offer great service that shines both in person and through other media. To do so, you’ll need to carefully plan how you and your team communicate with one another and with outside parties.
For one thing, consider using templates and scripts. Even for routine interactions, offer your team a script and highlight what they can and can’t change in their conversations with patients.
Of course, it’s great to leave room for individual personality differences and self-expression—give your team as much latitude as possible to craft communications their own way. At the same time, you want to ensure that information is covered correctly and consistently.
Providing training is another way to ensure communications are handled appropriately and professionally. If need be, sit down with your team and have regular conversations about how communications with patients and the community are managed.
McLaughlin A. “Improving Customer Service in Your Medical Practice.” Physicians Practice. http://www.physicianspractice.com/managers-administrators/improving-customer-service-your-medical-practice. Published: Aug. 2013. Accessed: Oct. 2018.