Q:What does a nail salon in Canary Wharf and a radiology receptionist called Rosie both have in common?
A: They both give consistently excellent service and they both send the same consistent message to their clients which is ‘We care’.
Frankly, I wish more clinicians ran their practices with the same attention to detail as Oki Doki nails do in Canary Wharf. They give the same consistent five star service from the moment that Mike picks up the phone with a cheerful “Oki Doki Nails and beauty” through to the amazing palm massage that rounds off my perfect manicure.
Okay, so it might seem frivolous to be talking about nails you might even think that it’s easy to run a nail salon. But you would be wrong on both counts. Consistently delivering excellent service throughout your team takes careful thinking and delivery.
Think you are a team of one? Well, you might be at the moment, but if you want to build your practice, you had better start building a team around you. Whilst everyone’s private practice teams are slightly different the core principals remain the same for all of us.
Who are our patients?
What are their needs?
What are our practice values and how can we consistently deliver this?
Does everyone on the team really understand and know how to deliver the service you personally deliver?
You might think that you will be able to win patients over with your fabulous bedside manner, and your knowledge of all things trigeminal nerve. But what if patients don’t book into clinic because you’re particularly late in replying to their email question “Do you treat teenagers?” What if your med sec is so stretched to the max, that he or she comes across as less than sweetness and light when answering the phone?
The crazy thing is that you may never even realise this is happening. So, how do you find out?
Maybe it’s time to get a chum to do a little bit of secret shopping for you?
I find a bottle of excellent plonk is a good bribe when asking a chum to help you. And before you ask, NO, this is not about giving your admin team a hard time. In fact, it’s actually about pointing out where we could all be doing better to help them with our message of care.
For instance, you probably know some of the usual corporate examples of ‘ask a friend to ring, see how long it takes to answer and see how many times it goes to voicemail’ (N.B. This might be a good time to reflect on outsourcing that dictation or billing, if your phone isn’t being answered regularly. Start by reading this link to a blog page below.)
But, what if your secret shopper were to ask more specific questions of your staff? Could they perhaps ask…?
For example:“I’m a runner with a knee problem. Does Dr Tickle-me -lightly treat endurance runners?”
An adequate answer from your team could be “Yes, of course, when shall we book you in?”
But an even better message for your staff to send would be “Scott is a runner too, he totally gets what it’s like to be injured, so you’ll be in great hands. Are you perhaps training for the Brighton half marathon, by any chance?”
The same consistency of the message of care needs to run through to your follow up arrangements. Are you leaving your patents to their own devices?
For example:“Don’t forget to book in once you have had your MRI”– this is a guaranteed way to cause delay and frustration to get that patient back to clinic by the way.
Or, do you personally concierge the process? “I’m going to connect you with my secretary via email and she will make sure that we get you booked into clinic swiftly after you have had that CT scan.”
Lastly, how consistent is your message being portrayed in the way you greet and treat your patients when they walk in the door?
We can all fall prey to the stress of a long clinical day, but it’s amazing how easy it is to slip back into some of those old NHS fracture clinic habits. (Before you shoot me down, let’s just say I remember what it’s like to be a burned out clinician working for the ‘Nash’). How many times in the last year have you caught yourself saying “Oh no not another bloody last-minute patient”? Patients are the lifeblood of our practice and even if it isn’t all sugar and spice and all things nice that day for us, we need to greet them and treat them without any emotional baggage.
Give them the Oki Doki service that they deserve.
If you need help with strengthening the message you are sending to your patients, get in touch, and let’s have a natter.