Why asking for patient feedback is the best way to develop your medical business
Let’s face it; no one likes negative feedback. It’s hard to take, and we have to swallow a huge part of our pride when we cop it. It makes us question so much of what we do, how we do it, even WHY we do it! Patient feedback, no matter how painful, is a fantastic way to engage, grow and continue a strong medical business.
But getting feedback, negative or otherwise, allows us to grow and as a person or as a business, and it shows us what we’re doing well and where we can improve.
I recently learned in the rather fascinating book I’m reading “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos” that we as humans must constantly strive for the unknown in order to grow. It can be risky, painful & daunting. But as science would have it, not only do we grow emotionally, we actually expand our brains’ capacity! Go figure! I digress…
When asking for patient feedback, most of us might be simply fulfilling a requirement from the RACGP. Some might be mildly interested in what patients say, I mean let’s face it some people can be darn right whingey, whiny and annoying when they give feedback! But the clever ones, the ones who see a vital and integral part of growing their business and creating a successful and long-term business, will pick the eyes out of feedback and create plans and strategies around it.
I’ve seen too many clients take it for granted that their business will remain in a constant state for now and into the future. I think if one thing’s for sure, business is never a constant. I wrote an article recently outlining the importance of patients and how they’re your greatest asset (click here if you missed it)
One of my greatest pleasures in business is talking with my clients and discussing what they think we could do to improve our products and services. Without even saying the words, my clients are engaging with me in a way that adds tremendous value to my business and me. I am growing with them and their expectations of me.
Our processes when feedback and ideas are given are simple; I write them down, make a time for my team to sit down and discuss them. Then we pick out the valid and value-adding items, and we make a plan to implement said feedback.
Apparently not. According to SEEK, only 8% of small businesses implement change as a result of customer feedback.
Customer/Patient loyalty starts with patient feedback
Taking the leap to ask your customers their feedback engages them in a way that breaks down barriers. It allows them to feel part of the process, not the endgame. By not asking customers for their feedback on a regular basis, companies are missing out on a huge opportunity. Based on survey results, customers are extremely willing to give feedback, especially when asked. 93% of respondents said they’re at least somewhat likely to give feedback if a company asked.
Based on our research, if people know their feedback has been implemented, 97% of them are at least somewhat likely to become loyal patrons to the company.
On the flip side, more than half of respondents said they are not likely to continue being a customer of a company that ignores their feedback.
In today’s socially connected interweb world, it’s so easy for consumers who feel wronged to jump online and give you a nasty review. Imagine if you could catch that person before they spread their vitriol online and face such feedback head-on. The chances of turning that frown up-side-down are greatly enhanced! They are more likely to return to your practice and more likely to tell others how you addressed their issue and found a happy (enough) outcome. Take the flip-side, a negative review online can be profoundly damaging to your business, not to mention very difficult to remove or address.
According to a SurveyMonkey survey, only 1% of consumers leave feedback if not directly asked! So unless you’re asking, you’re making assumptions on feedback without 99% of your customer base.
How can you effectively ask for feedback?
For the love of god don’t get your customers to fill in a paper based, handwritten messy form. That’s so 2000. Go digital. Moreover, go mobile first. We’re stuck to those damned smartphones like a fat kid to a donut.
There are tons of online automated digital feedback forms that will send a feedback request right to your customer’s mobile phone and allow them in 1 click to provide you any type of feedback you would like. Whether it be a rating out of 10, a star rating, and experience rating, free text feedback the choice is yours, and you’ve given your customer base an easy to use, quick, nondisruptive platform to give you some vital information as to how you’re doing.
I’ve done some preliminary research on these online feedback forms (I’m half tempted to build one myself), so if you want some help in getting set in the right direction, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. These tools allow you to quickly and easily collate the feedback provided and form a very quick snapshot of responses to your questions
Another great platform for receiving and collating feedback is through social media. Contrary to many people’s belief, you can actually allow patients to leave feedback on your social media pages. AHPRA will only get antsy if they leave details such as their personal information, promotional spam, details of their visit.
The best thing about social media is your responses and attendance to your customers’ feedback, both good and bad, is there for them to see. They will see you take disgruntled clients feedback seriously with a response of the likes: ‘Hi Peter, I’m very sorry you had this experience at our clinic. We pride ourselves on customer service, and your feedback has been welcomed. We will attend to this matter and take justified action to ensure it doesn’t happen again”
Humans are a forgiving bunch for the most part. We know, or should know, we’re not perfect, and we screw up every once in a while. The point here is accountability, and showing this accountability to your customers.
If you’d like to discuss feedback further with me, I’d be more than happy to. Whilst this isn’t a product or service we offer, I’d still welcome a good conversation and idea slinging!