In this new era, irrespective of the business, customer service plays an exceptionally important role on the path to success. Because of increasing options, if the client is not satisfied, he will not think twice before going to another service provider. The same holds true for the practice of a physician; if the patient is not satisfied by the services, they will not hesitate go to another doctor.

Here are a few mantras that will help to provide better customer service in your practice.

1. Hospitality:

Just the way one welcomes a guest at home, patients need to be welcomed and made comfortable at the clinic. This can be done by keeping the premises clean and comfortable, and having a water dispenser or a coffee machine. If you have a television in the waiting area, make sure it is not too loud. It is an absolute must for the attending staff in the clinic to be warm so that the patient feels comfortable while they are ill.

2. Enthusiasm:

Being enthusiastic about your work is also important, be it the attendant staff or the physician himself. Enthusiasm goes along with hospitality and can be perceived through the body language, tone of conversing with patients and facial expressions. Sometimes just the way of talking can be so comforting that the patient feels much better just by talking to you, like an old friend or elder, and you will find these patients turn up regularly for their follow-ups.

3. Attitude:

The attitude of each and every person who comes in contact with the patient is very important. The physician’s attitude should make the patient feel that he/she has taken the right decision in choosing his services. Be glad that the patient is there and at the same time be confident that they will continue with your services. If the physician is afraid of losing the patients, then the fear will be palpable and will have a detrimental effect on the patients.

4. Respect:

Always respect whatever the patient says, even if it’s incorrect. Make it a point to listen to what they have to say about ways that can help you treat them and in return how you can help them. After getting their opinion, act in a manner and make changes that you feel will actually make a difference to your customer. For example, making sure that when the patient walks in the staff should ask “How can I help you?” instead of saying “Yes what is it?”. This is a better way of interacting [1] with patients and will help in initiating the patients at your practice on a positive note.

5. Punctuality:

Everyone looks up to a person who is always punctual, so make it a point to be on time always. This is easier said than done but can be handled more sensitively. In case you are late, make it a point to explain the reason of your being late to the patients truthfully. You can even ask your receptionist to call the patients and reschedule their appointments while apologising on your behalf.

If your customers i.e. patients are not satisfied, then you are bound to lose your patients despite being an excellent physician. So it is necessary to change with time and adapt to the changing trends of providing better customer services to the patients.[2]

Contributed by Dr. Rachita Narsaria

1. Scotti DJ, Harmon J. Linkages between organization climate and work outcomes: perceptual differences among healthservice professionals as a function of customer contact intensity. J Health Hum Serv Adm. 2014 Spring;36(4):417-59. PMID:24772690.

2. Hooten D, Zavadsky M. The ‘Patient experience’ revolution. JEMS. 2014 Feb;39(2):54-9. PMID:24660359.