This blog is Part 2 of a three-part series on improving the patient experience to build patient retention at your practice. Visit this webpage for Part 1, and also check out Part 3.
Improving the patient experience pre-visit is necessary for patient acquisition. But improving experience in the office is essential for high patient retention — and building an enviable online reputation. In this blog, we cover three ways you can ensure patients are satisfied with you, your staff, and your facilities at the end of their appointments.
Support Your Office Staff
Your front office staff are the first people patients see when they walk into your practice, and so they can greatly influence overall experience. To provide optimal in-office experience for patients (and achieve high patient retention), you must properly support and invest in your staff.
Start by offering ongoing training and education that will allow your team to grow. The rate of change in technology is rapid, but keeping up by educating your office staff will allow your practice to run more efficiently.
Additionally, the effects of overwork can negatively impact patient care, safety, and business. Take initiative to identify the signs of burnout in your staff and find proactive solutions. For example, appointment reminders can be automated via text or email messages, so your staff won’t feel tethered to the phone. Patients will appreciate the upgrades in customer service technology and readily available staff when they come in for an appointment.
In advent of your front office staff gaining back time, they can be further empowered with new projects. Maybe you want to launch your social media presence or sell retail products at checkout. Whatever it might be, play on the strengths of your team to give and receive the most value at your business.
Upgrade Your Waiting Room
Although it might not be where you deliver care to your patients, your waiting room is an important part of your practice. Making small updates to the physical space can improve overall patient experience and distinguish you from the competition.
The easiest upgrade is to your furniture and waiting room layout. Don’t force patients to uncomfortably wait in antimicrobial chairs surrounded by stacks of brochures. Instead, liberate patients with various seating options. Try a cluster of chairs around a coffee table for families or quiet workstations for professionals having to come in during their 9-5.
If you’re looking to further enhance patient marketing in-office, offer small luxuries like a complimentary coffee bar or a mini-fridge stocked with beverages. It is also preferential to let patients pass time as they please, which is likely on their mobile device and not flipping through old magazines. Let them log into a guest WiFi to surf the web, and offer a charging station for personal electronics.
Display Excellent Bedside Manner
The biggest thing a patient is looking for during their in-office experience is a positive interaction with the provider. At the very least, healthcare providers must have excellent bedside manner to build upon patient retention strategies.
First and foremost, be on time. Long waits in-office are often the chief complaint when it comes to patient experience. Of course, wait times aren’t always in your control, especially if early morning patients are late to their appointments. In cases like these, the best practice is to be transparent with your patients by keeping them informed when you’re running later than expected.
When it comes to the patient-provider interaction, remember to listen to their concerns and clearly demonstrate your compassion for their care. All patients are different and require different techniques for effective communication. But, no matter what, make it your mission to leave the patient with a full understanding of care plans or treatments.
Practices must provide the utmost care throughout the in-office experience, from medical treatment all the way to customer service. By learning to directly convey value to your patients at all points of their practice experience, you’ll see improvements in satisfaction and patient retention.
For more ways to generate positive in-office patient marketing, check out the blog “5 Easy Ways to Boost Patient Satisfaction at Your Healthcare Practice.”