As the Australian healthcare delivery system becomes increasingly consumer driven, patient satisfaction is more important than ever. Forward thinking healthcare practices routinely put the patient/consumer at the centre of their progressive planning.
Increasingly healthcare practitioners and marketing professionals want to hear the voice of the customer through feedback channels, patient satisfaction surveys and online reviews.
Patient satisfaction surveys bring immediate insight to practitioner marketing, tapping into patient loyalty, patient communications, identifying audience needs and spotting trends ahead of the competition.
What surveys want to know…
Typically, the data gathering in a patient survey is brief. In the healthcare environment the questions and specifics will vary. However, if you, the customer are happy, you are encouraged to tell friends and family, to share your (presumably positive) experience via an online review, and/or to connect with the clinic via Facebook, Twitter or other social platforms.
Of course, if you are not happy, then… “please tell our practice team and we’ll work hard to put a smile back on your face.”
The five essential questions…
How you shape your survey or questions will vary, but the essential ingredients are:
- “Overall, how satisfied are you?” Rate between one and five.
- “Tell me, how would you rate the value?”
- “Would you come back if/when you have a new problem again?”
- “How likely are you to refer someone or recommend our practice?”
- “Can we improve our service, our treatment or your experience)? Open space for comments.
The benefits of a patient satisfaction tracking system…
- All feedback—the good news and the bad news—is helpful to your practice. You may not like to hear the negative things. But finding and fixing problems is business/practice improvement. Large or small things help the current and future patient. Often they help create a better service & patient outcome.
- Patient satisfaction translates into current business, repeat business and/or referral business. People enjoy going to a practice they like. Conversely, dissatisfied patients head over to the competition.
- When the voice of the patient inspires action, the patient feels validated. Taking action on behalf of, or because of, a patient comment is recognition of the importance of the patient to the practice.
- Positive patient satisfaction helps retain existing patients. Savvy practice owners understand the value of current patients, as well as the added expense related to replacing a dissatisfied patient.
- Negative satisfaction is a direct deposit with the competition. The loss of a patient typically means they went over to the competition. To make things worse, it’s likely that they defected with one or more friend or family member.
You’ve got to ask…
If you’re not asking about customer or patient satisfaction you aren’t really measuring it. The three-time mayor of New York City, Ed Koch, used a memorable catch phrase. He was known for asking everyone, everywhere, anytime: “How am I doing?”
Asking the question (and inviting the honest feedback) about a million times over the years, demonstrated his continuing concern for doing a good job. No doubt, it also helped keep him in the mayor’s office for over a decade.