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5 ways patient experience affects healthcare practice success

Practices that fail to prioritize the patient experience could realize lower patient satisfaction and declining patient retention, among other side effects.

patient experience practice success

You want your patients to be happy with the quality of care they receive, but what about the quality of service?

Patient experience is five times more likely to influence brand loyalty than other marketing strategies, according to the Press Ganey whitepaper “Consumerism: The Role of Patient Experience in Brand Management.” A single dissatisfied patient can hinder your efforts to acquire new patients and retain existing patients. Read on to learn more.

Patient satisfaction in healthcare: What really matters to patients

Side effects of a poor patient experience

1. Patients will seek care elsewhere

There are more than 1 million professionally active physicians in the U.S., according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. If patients aren’t satisfied with your practice, they have plenty of other options. In fact, Oracle revealed that 89 percent of people take their business elsewhere after receiving poor customer service.

Patients will keep searching until they find a practice that meets — or hopefully exceeds — their expectations. More than one-third (38 percent) of people have switched service providers at least twice in the past year, according to NewVoiceMedia.

Reasons for parting ways with a company vary. NewVoiceMedia revealed some of these include feeling unappreciated (40 percent), unhelpful or rude staff (32 percent), and being put on hold for too long (28 percent).

Related: 10 things patients hate about healthcare practices

2. Your new patient costs will soar

Constantly focusing on patient acquisition, because you don’t get enough repeat visitors to fill your waiting room, will cost you. Acquiring a new customer costs five to 25 times more than retaining an existing one, according to the Harvard Business Review.

In total, U.S. companies that provide poor customer service lose an estimated $75 billion per year, according to NewVoiceMedia. Implementing patient satisfaction efforts will likely require a monetary investment, but it doesn’t compare to the price you pay for low retention rates.

Retention matters: How to calculate patient lifetime value

3. Your practice might struggle to turn a profit

Steadfast patients are more valuable than one-time patients. It might not seem like much, but a 5 percent increase in customer retention can boost profits by an overwhelming 25 to 95 percent, according to “Loyalty Rules! How Today’s Leaders Build Lasting Relationships” by Fred Reichheld.

More than half (66 percent) of people said they would be more loyal to a company if they received good customer service, according to NewVoiceMedia. Doing everything in your power to boost patient retention rates literally pays, so it’s worth the time and effort.

4. Unhappy patients will write negative online reviews

Online patient reviews majorly affect your practice. When 35 percent of people feel they’ve experienced poor customer service, they share their story on review sites, according to Zendesk.

Considering most (86 percent) consumers read reviews for local businesses, according to BrightLocal, it’s easy to see how many poor patient reviews can be detrimental to your practice. In fact, 57 percent of consumers will only use a business that has four or more stars.

Patients want a practice where they feel like they’ll be in good hands. If review sites are filled with red flags warning against your practice, you can’t blame them for steering clear.

Learn: How to respond to negative reviews

5. Dissatisfied patients will share experiences with family and friends

When most (69.8 percent) people need a new doctor, they consult family and friends, according to Press Ganey. If someone had a poor patient experience, it’s very likely they won’t recommend your practice to a loved one.

Press Ganey also found that family and friends’ recent care experience impacts brand loyalty for more than 50 percent of people. Therefore, if one person has a bad experience at your practice, you risk losing the business of their family and friends who are also your patients.

It’s hard to maintain a successful practice without a roster filled with satisfied patients. Achieving this requires constant effort on your part, so if you’re not currently working at this, it’s time to step it up.

Want more information on this topic? Check out the infographic What patients want: 30 statistics about patient experience.

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