Have you ever walked away from a business scratching your head? That is exactly what happened to my husband and I during a purchase at a local hardware store a few days ago. We needed some bulbs for our light fixture above our sink in the kitchen and we like to do business with this locally owned company. They always have what we are looking for and the customer experience is usually better than the big chains. When we brought the bulbs up to check out, the cashier noticed there was no bar code to scan. Instead of asking a team member to get him the code, he looked at my husband and said, can you go back and write down the code for me? My husband was gracious about it, but as he was walking away, I looked at the cashier and said I can’t believe you think this is good customer service. He looked at me, shrugged his shoulders like he didn’t’ know what to do, and waited on the guy behind me. As we were walking out with our purchase, I looked at Steve and said I have my next blog article. I recount this story with the main purpose of asking you, how are your patients being walked out and checked out in your practice?
You can perform well in every area of your practice. Your patients are greeted well, receive the best care at service level, but their experience when checking out of your office ends like mine in the hardware store, their last impression is one of incompetence. Think about that for a moment. At the time you are getting your patient to pay for their services, this is the time they are not treated in the best manner possible. Better yet, ask yourself if you think this patient will tell others about their experience at your practice or post about it on social media. Of course they will!
I believe two things would have made my experience better at the hardware store; the attitude of the cashier and making sure he was taught the skills necessary for the job. I can understand the need to check out many people at one time, (sound like a dental office?) and you may need some help from a teammate (also a dental office?). There is no need to ask a customer, or patient to do something that the business or practice should be doing. Think of it as a simple courtesy. The cashier could have used the intercom for help or could have locked his computer and gotten the information he needed for our transaction. He clearly made the wrong choice by asking a customer to do his or another teammates job.
It is worthwhile to take a moment and review the basics with your team what should occur when there are several patients to check out at one time. How does your front office handle this when it happens? I know I am asked many times, “how do I differentiate myself from other practices?” It starts with these basic customer service skills and handling issues with simple courtesy and professionalism. The basics cannot be ignored if you want to succeed.
If you would like to review these types of things or have questions, please get in touch with me so we can make your practice the best it can be.