Did you know that customers who have a negative experience are two to three times more likely to leave a review than customers who had a great experience? According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, dissatisfied customers typically tell anywhere from nine to 15 others about their negative experience with a business. That means, if a patient has a negative experience at your office, for whatever reason, they might tell up to 15 of their friends, and that equates to 15 less potential customers in your area. What can we do in our offices to prevent situations like this?
In New Patient Group’s first segment of 5 Fantastic Minutes, we discussed the importance of asking each and every patient about their experience with us. It is so important for us to ask our patients, “How did everything go today?” What did we do well on today and how can we improve next time, from your perspective?” When we ask our patients questions like these after their appointment, it shows them how much we care about their experience and how seriously we take their feedback.
By asking your patients about their experience, you open up an opportunity for them to express positive feedback they might not otherwise express. If you ask your patient, “How was everything today?” and they respond with “It was wonderful, your hygienist took excellent care of me – I didn’t even feel anxious during my cleaning!” Well, first of all, that is a big deal! You should take pride in these positive comments. It showcases how your employees are doing, and then the patient will leave thinking about how incredible their experience was.
Don’t just stop there, though. Once you have opened up the floor for feedback and received some positive comments about the patient’s experience, ask them to leave your office a 5-Star Google review showcasing their feedback. Pull out your iPhone and ask them for a video testimonial. Let them know how much their feedback means to the practice and how your hygienist will love hearing the positive comments. Let them know your office takes pride in providing the ultimate patient experience and you are so glad they received that today!
When you ask your patients for feedback, you are creating a better overall experience for them. You open the business and your coworkers up for both positive and negative feedback, but chances are your patient will provide excellent feedback, and then they will feel even more important because you showed how much the information meant to you. Some patients, however, will respond with negative feedback. But this doesn’t mean the office lost and that we will have to lose this patient. This just means you’ve opened up the perfect avenue to get to the bottom of their negative experience and see if you can influence that experience before they walk out the door.
Let’s say your patient responds to your question with, “Well, actually, I had a horrible experience. Everyone was rude and I’m unhappy with the work I had done.” This feedback might be hard to hear, but hearing this gives you an opportunity to dig deeper and to mend the negative experience before the customer leaves. You can now ask the customer what her interactions were like, and exactly what work she feels unhappy with. By asking your patient follow-up questions, you show them you truly do care about their experience, and are willing to do whatever it takes to turn that negative experience around. This gives you an opportunity to clear the air and make sure there is no future bad blood with that customer. It might even give you an opportunity to schedule a corrective appointment for this patient.
If you skipped this question and the patient left your office, dissatisfied and unhappy, they are likely to go straight to their closest friends and tell them about their awful experience. They might even leave a negative Google review if their encounter was that bad. But if you just take the time to allow that patient to feel heard and important, your response to their negative experience just might change their opinion of your office. The worst complaint you can get is the one you don’t know about. The information isn’t always fun to hear, but allowing the patient an avenue to express their frustration just might keep them from leaving and spreading that negative experience around. It gives you the chance to diffuse their frustration and the opportunity to correct anything they felt unhappy about.
As each patient checks out of your office, dive deep into conversation with them and ask them those important questions so you can get imperative feedback from the patient. Work to get that video testimonial, land the 5-star review and allow any patient with a bad experience to showcase that and give yourself the opportunity to fix it before they even walk out the door. You will be amazed at how this one little question can impact so many of your patients and their overall experience. Be sure to keep up with our 5 Fantastic Minutes videos and blogs to receive expert tips and tricks that are sure to expand your practice and help you gain more patients.
Be sure to follow along with our podcast every month HERE!