I was fortunate enough to spend the New Year’s holiday in Thailand. Before I left, some stateside friends urged me to visit the Mandarin Oriental, an amazing riverside resort renowned the world over for its service. But much to my surprise, the service I actually experienced left a lot to be desired. This got me thinking about service as a larger concept.
Whether you’re a plastic surgery office in a small town or a world-class resort in a bustling metropolis, you can’t build your reputation on great service only to fail to deliver on that promise when the rubber meets the road. Rather than marketing customer service, consider that customer service is itself a form of marketing. With the advent of social media and online review sites, customer service is no longer a 1-on-1 interaction; it’s a spectator sport.
Let’s consider 3 forces for change in patient service:
- Inquiries fragmenting across your blog, social media, and local profiles: More and more, potential patients are learning about your practice throughout various channels across the Web. When they’re ready, they’re reaching out via those channels. A direct inquiry on RealSelf.com is a good example of this. Recent numbers released by RealSelf revealed that 40% of 40,000 patient inquiries made through their site went unanswered by the recipient doctor’s office.
- Consumers expect fast service online: Research shows that the optimal response time for a new patient inquiry is 5 minutes. The odds of connecting with a new patient decrease 100-fold by waiting 30 minutes or more. Platforms such as Yelp and Facebook have added an average response time to businesses’ profiles.
- The majority of negative reviews stem from service issues: Overwhelmingly, poor reviews stem not from botched operations or unfavorable results. Instead, they come from service issues — an inattentive front desk staff, for example.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed and feel discouraged by these statistics. But in this webinar, I encourage practice leaders to see opportunity here — an opportunity to become a service leader by adapting staff recruiting and training, defining your employees’ unique skill sets, and distributing opportunities accordingly to ensure everyone has a hand in creating a service experience worth boasting about.
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