What Do Patients REALLY Care About?
Improve Your Practice By Knowing Your Practice | Business Intelligence For Private Practice
A good practice is centered around making the patient experience a positive one, but how do you know if you’re doing the right things? There are so many personalities and different needs of patients that it can feel daunting to know what you should actually focus on.
We talk to a lot of patients in our line of work, and we have seen a few common trends in the things that patients care about the most.
Here’s what patients care about:
- Time – Respect your patients’ time by staying on schedule.
- Convenience – Patients are looking for appointment times that can fit within their busy lives. They’re also looking for easy access to find your office’s contact information, address, and physical location. Make sure that all of this information is blatantly obvious for your patients to find.
- Clear Expectations – Set up the expectation of what is involved in a particular procedure or appointment up front so that the patient has no surprises.
- Taking Ownership – When you or your team has made a mistake, own up to it. You’ll gain more respect by your integrity, rather than lose a patient that feels like you don’t care.
- Taking Perceived Ownership – The patient doesn’t always know the behind-the-scenes as to why something was done the way it was, nor do they care. If the patient is perceiving that something was done wrong, take ownership and make steps to help make the situation right.
- Clear Explanations – Don’t expect that your patients understand all of your dental or medical jargon. They didn’t go to medical school, and often need you to put things in plain English.
- A “Wow” Experience – Patients may not consciously know they are looking for a “wow” experience, but they know when they’ve had one. What are you doing to make a memorable experience for your patients from the moment they walk in your door?
- Reviews – Patients care about word of mouth and online reviews more than anything else about your practice. If someone else has vouched for your practice, they will automatically have a certain level of trust.
- Smiles – It’s a novel idea, really, that a dental or medical office is full of smiles. A smiling face can go a long way to improve someone’s day, put them at ease about a scary procedure, or simply create a welcoming atmosphere. Either way you spin it, smiles matter!
When you know what patients are looking for, you can manage your practice in a way that meets these needs. So, the question is, how is your practice doing on all of these categories?
- Do you run on time?
- Do you have convenient appointment times for your patients (not necessarily just for you)?
- Do you set clear expectations so that patients know what to expect when they come for an appointment?
- Do you educate your patients in a way that they understand?
- Do you take ownership? When was the last time you apologized to a patient?
- What do you do to create a memorable experience at your office?
- How is you practice doing with online reviews?
- Does your team smile more than frown?