We recently held a panel discussion on “How to improve customer service and online reviews at your medical practice”. We had representatives from numerous healthcare organizations from across the Phoenix Metro area attend. It was a great success, and all of them were interested in learning how to improve the patient experience.

ServiceGuru CEO, Kevin J. Berk shared a lot of data that supported two main points:

  • You are in the customer service business. It’s undeniable, healthcare organizations are in the customer service business! You can see this through the reviews patients leave online and it’s never been more important for practice administrators to raise their level of customer service and manage their online reputation.
  • Stop managing the symptoms (negative reviews) and focus on the cause (poor customer service). Online reviews merely reflect the experience your patient had. Fix the cause and your online reviews take care of themselves.

Here are 5 things we learned from our panel of experts on how you can improve customer service and your online reputation based on expertise from ServiceGuru, Yelp, ZocDoc, and 4C Medical.

1. Measure what matters so you can recognize staff for excellent customer service.

Great customer service is a result of great management. Use feedback from your patients to measure your customer service, and when you see examples of exceptional service from your staff, recognize them for it. Positive recognition reinforces great service and decreases employee turnover. You can also identify potential issues before they become pervasive.

2. Claim your review site listings.

When a patient posts a review of your medical practice, a listing for you will automatically be generated. Make sure to check the major review sites to claim this listing so you can respond to reviews and update the listing to put your best foot forward.

3. Respond.

When you respond to a negative review, it’s not only for that particular patient, but for all the prospective patients that will read that review, so respond publicly. Ask them to take the conversation offline. Once a patient posts a review and you reply publicly, any further messages are private. Respond quickly and if you don’t respond it’s telling prospective patients that you don’t care about your patients and they will look for someone who does.

4. Invest in good photos.

Prospective patients respond more positively to a smiling photo of the doctors and staff than mentions of a Harvard degree. Credentials are great, but they don’t make up for the human element in healthcare. Use high quality photos on your website and review sites to humanize your practice and show patients what to expect.

5. More reviews is insurance. 

Unfair reviews are part of life. Sometimes negative reviews get posted to an account by mistake. The best insurance against these inevitable problems is having more reviews. Consider a listing with 2 positive reviews vs. a listing with 40. When the inevitable unfair or negative review gets posted, the first practice is in deep trouble while the second is hardly affected at all. Encourage your patients to review you online whether that’s by mentioning it in person or using technology to remind them to leave a review for you, but make sure you don’t incentivize them to leave a review

ServiceGuru helps you track, measure and improve customer service at the staff level so you can recognize their great work and identify issues before they become a bigger concern. It helps you increase the volume of your reviews by capturing 50x more feedback than other methods, and it helps remind your patients to post those great experiences online by texting them a link to your review sites.

If you’d like to improve your customer service and your online reputation, contact us for more information!