“Concierge Medicine is about doing something different, not doing the same things you’ve always done. If you’re too busy [in your practice] to not exercise good judgment when it concerns your staff, you will catch the shrapnel of their bad decisions. To which we say ‘as they go, you go …’ “
By Michael Tetreault, Editor-in-Chief
Patient satisfaction isn’t good enough. Your patient/customer service expectations need to be exceptional, and you need to create not just satisfied customers, but happy, loyal patients.
“Gain some customer service experience– try a service industry job as these skills are not taught in med school. Moving into Concierge Medicine is not solely about providing excellent medical care without the restraints of insurance industry mandates. You have to also appreciate the lost art of customer service so long ago forgotten when visiting a healthcare institution. Many times my clients (notice I do not use the word “Patients”) have noted why they refer their friends to my practice. It is the attention to detail, always delivering exactly what is promised and then some, and keeping their unique needs positioned first with a flexibility to offer new programs or meet needs as quickly as they are identified. This is the cornerstone of customer service.” ~ Dr. Carrie Bordinko, Consolaré, Paradise Valley, AZ
This summer I’ve spoken with a few Physicians in Concierge Medicine who took a moment [e.g. a week, or two] to step away from their practice, spend some quality time alone and with their family and consider these questions. One Physician found that by stepping away from the business of medicine, albeit Concierge Medicine, gave her the perspective she needed to re-evaluate the direction her practice was going and how her staff were impacting that trajectory.
“If you provide anything less than exceptional patient service for your Concierge Medicine patients, you’re wasting time, creating extra work for and frustrating your patients, staff, suppliers and yourself,” says one of Texas’ most well-known Concierge Physicians in a recent radio interview. “Smart businesses outside of healthcare have customers. So do we. We put in our time, our emotion and our mental strength into our customers and it’s about time we start operating like a business. We have every advantage now that we’re free from a lot of the administrative burdens most traditional medical practices have. There’s simply no reason why we cannot make the extra effort to serve our patients now.”
The basic premise of patient [customer] service training in many medical practices, whether they’re membership-based or not, comes with the best of intentions. The doctor has a staff meeting about patient service, and the service improves for a few days or weeks and then it drops to mediocre levels again. Consistent reminders don’t come because you’re a busy doctor and you have a lot of other responsibilities on your mind.
One Concierge Physician writes … “I had a real battleax in the front office. She worked with our team and for me for a very long time. But, our practice has changed. That’s not what we need anymore. We went ‘Concierge’ and like it or not, we needed a softer, gentler and friendlier person in that position now. In fact, the whole position was changed. It took a few months for me to realize this … but I’m glad I did. I just hope my patients will forgive me for taking so long.”
Where your staff are heading is a good barometer of where they are leading. Meaning, if your staff aren’t careful about their health, they are not going to be careful with your patients health. Staff who are not concerned about their own reputation, are not going to be concerned about your reputation. Staff who are not concerned with their own finances [overspending when maybe they shouldn’t on a car, luxury item, etc.] won’t be careful with your office expenditures and your finances. Staff is a reflection on the doctor. If the doctor is a smart dresser, the staff needs to be dressed just as smart as the MD, fashion-wise.
“The conversion process is not an easy one,” said Jeffrey S. Gorodetsky, M.D. of Stuart, FL. “My staff and I are cognizant of the fact that we must consistently communicate the benefits of this choice in care, with the challenge to increase my [memberships] numbers and convert other patients.”
To Be Continued … Come Back for Part 4 … to be released at http://www.ConciergeMedicineToday.com on September 25th, 2017 …