An email arrived last week asking me to call a prospective new client.
He’d been reading my blogs and wanted help to grow his practice.
In particular he wanted a review of the performance of his practice and asked if I would call and arrange to go see him. In his email he said he thought he should be seeing more patients and his current patients should be paying quicker too.
I don’t even charge for this as occasionally there are only minor items that require attention.
So I called the telephone number provided and was promptly put on hold.
Nobody expects to have a phone answered immediately every single time. It’s not normally a problem.
Or is it?
Where I did have a problem with this particular call was being told “your call is important to us” every 15 seconds whilst listening to Bach; and I like Bach.
Whilst listening I looked at the consultant’s website. It was very good and promoted the consultant really well. Details of his practice were impressive. The photograph of him on his website was very professional. The contact page was really good. A “Frequently Asked Questions” page was very comprehensive. A “contact us” page contained phone number, email address and location. They were all available for the patient to see.
Meanwhile I was still being told “your call is important to us” and was listening to Bach.
Then I started to think about it from the patient’s point of view.
If I’d have been a patient wishing to make an appointment I might well have hung up by now and called another consultant. The patient may have been referred to that particular consultant by his/her GP or even by an insurance company so from that point of view the patient remains on hold and waits.
But what would happen if the patient had not been referred to the consultant by a GP or an insurance company?
In other words, he had a choice.
All patients have a choice.
A private consultant surgeon is in the service industry. It may be medical but it is still a service. And that means the service must be first class. Not just first class medical treatment. The level of customer or patient service is a big factor in the patient’s choice.
Every single part of the patient’s journey therefore MUST be 1st class. That most definately includes having the phone answered promptly.
It’s the little steps that matter when you are running a business and a private medical practice is a business.
Never mind charging the right fee. Never mind making sure you invoice quickly. Never mind making sure you collect all outstanding shortfalls and excess amounts.
If the practice is difficult to contact the number of patients will drop.
When I finally got through and spoke with the consultant we agreed to meet next Wednesday.
One of the items for discussion will be his patients struggling to actually speak to his practice in the first place.
If you want a quick review of your practice drop me and email but I’m already booked for next Wednesday!