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How to Deliver a 5-Star Patient Experience

Aug 16, 2023 2:50:29 PM • Written by: Terri Ross

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  –  Maya Angelou

When it comes to delivering a five-star patient experience, this quote sums it up perfectly. We all want five-star reviews and a five-star reputation, but is your practice providing a five-star customer experience? 

The customer experiences that patients remember are the ones that either were amazing or terrible.  According to Salesforce research, 89% of consumers are more likely to make another purchase (or in this case, book another service/procedure or purchase retail products) after a positive customer service experience. A positive customer experience builds loyalty, and loyal patients are a great referral source. In fact, according to Forbes, a loyal patient is 4x more likely to refer a friend.

So, how do you ensure your team is trained properly and well-versed in providing a 5-star patient experience? There are seven key steps and none of them are optional. You can’t just do 4-5 of them; you must master them all.

Each of these seven steps represents a distinct opportunity to provide high-quality patient care and ensure a positive, memorable customer service experience.

1. High-quality website

Your website is your virtual brochure. You cannot afford to skimp on creating a beautiful, informative, aesthetically pleasing website that is SEO optimized and reflects your brand and image. This is the very first impression potential clients will see after googling a particular treatment or procedure. If it is unprofessional looking, outdated, slow, hard to navigate, or does not have enough clear, concise content, clients will bounce and go to the next website link in their search results. Your website must establish your brand and appeal to your ideal client and demographic. I highly recommend you use a website development company that specializes in the aesthetics space. Make sure you have a professional gallery of before/after photos as this is the most visited page. If you are brand new, work with your vendors to get access to photos. 

If you get a lead from your website, your team should respond right away. Ideally, within the first hour, someone on your staff should:

  • Call the client
  • Immediately send out an email
  • Enter the contact info into the patient software
  • Follow up with an SMS via the patient software if you have that capability

Within 48 hours, call again, send another email, and another SMS. Within one week, call one more time, send a final email, and a final SMS message. 

2. Exceptional phone skills

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of training your front desk team. It is a critical step in the patient experience. The person who answers the phone will be the first direct experience and human contact a patient has with your practice and can make the difference as to whether you gain a patient or lose one. A patient’s initial experience will be determined within seconds. First impressions are the backbone of your practice and your brand. You want these staff members to have dynamic personalities and be highly trained.

Your front desk member must be able to credential your providers as well as the practice and be able to communicate your Unique Value Proposition (UVP). They must also be well educated on the services/procedures you provide as well as the categories of services. In addition, they should be converting 70% of calls into consultations. If they are not, you are leaving significant revenue on the table. 

Your front desk team should utilize these best practices when it comes to phone skills: 

  • Picking up the phone by the 3rd ring
  • Greeting the caller cheerfully with their name, title, and name of the practice
  • Getting the caller’s name and call back number and referring to their name often during the call
  • Asking the caller how they found your practice (referral source)
  • Before placing a caller on hold, always ask if you may do so and wait for the answer
  • Thanking the caller every 30 seconds they are on hold until you resume the call
  • Recommending scheduling a consultation or appointment
  • Providing two different appointment dates to improve the acceptance rate
  • Before hanging up, always ask if you’ve responded to all the caller’s questions
  • Informing the caller that you are happy to follow up with additional information
  • Asking caller to provide additional contact info so you can send more info (email or mailing address)

3. Inviting front office

You want a patient’s first impression of entering your practice to be welcoming and positive. Make sure your front desk team greets each patient by name. Encourage them to stand up and shake the patient’s hand as they introduce themselves These personal touches go a long way. If you have a returning patient on the schedule, make it clear you remember them. Even if you have had a stressful day, keep your attitude positive, focus on them, and do not complain. Treat every patient as your most important patient. 

Make sure your front office team follows a dress code (keep it simple and classic) that is aligned with your brand. Are you the Ritz Carlton? Are you Marriot? Or are you a Holiday Inn? Which image do you want to convey to your clients? 

Make sure your waiting area is spotless and your office furniture and space reflects your brand. Ensure you have current reading material, and educational information on the various services and retail products you offer available. Having a beverage station with coffee and water bottles can help create an inviting atmosphere. 

Honor your patient's time by encouraging your entire team to stick to a schedule and promote operational efficiency. If your provider is running behind, let the patient know and update them frequently.

4. Comprehensive consultations 

The consultation is really where the rubber meets the road. This is where the magic happens. As part of our comprehensive sales training course, APX Platform has an in-depth module on consultations that convert, but here are just a few elements of a successful consultation. 

  • Schedule enough time so that the patient feels heard, understood, and not rushed. 
  • Your providers must take an engaged approach and use the LAER Model (see previous blog) 
  • Don’t talk, listen. Don’t tell, ask probing questions. Don’t sell, solve a problem.  Don’t pitch, inform. Don’t leave without providing a solution.  
  • Explain the features/benefits of each treatment.
  • Connect with patients so you can establish trust, and understand their needs/desires.
  • Asking the right questions will help uncover more about them, which gives you the ability to offer the appropriate solution based on their responses. 

5. Treatment plans

Building and presenting treatment plans helps increase patient retention, increases the lifetime value of a patient, and produces the best possible results and outcomes. Presenting a comprehensive treatment plan gains the patient’s trust. Make sure to ask them if you have answered all their questions. Offer solutions including combination therapies and skincare regimens if appropriate. Get their buy-in by asking if they are comfortable with the plan and gain a commitment.  

6. Effective close 

As you are closing a consultation, you will want to address and handle any objections (you can listen to my podcast on this topic here). The most effective way to handle objections is to have pre-emptively explained the features, benefits, value, and the feeling associated with the outcome. Clearly explaining the surgery or treatment and setting proper expectations, credentialing yourself and your practice as to why they should choose you, and asking open-ended questions all help to educate the patient and sell the solution. 

7. Follow-ups

I love the saying, “The fortune is in the follow up” because it is so true. Did you know that 45% of patient inquiries are not followed up with at all?  Mastering the follow-up can set your practice apart from the competition. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Send a handwritten thank you note to new patients after they visit your practice. This is such a nice, personal touch in a digital world. 
  • Schedule a follow-up phone call 1-2 days post-procedure or treatment to check in with the patient. 
  • Schedule a follow-up call 7 days out if the patient did not schedule a service after a consultation. Track and measure your conversion rates. 
  • Stay in touch with your patients via regular monthly newsletters that spotlight upcoming events, new staff, loyalty programs, testimonials, specials, new treatment options, etc. 
  • Send hand-written thank you notes for referrals and perhaps offer the referring patient an extra add-on for their next visit.  

 

Send yourself the LAER method PDF

Overcome Any Objection: Listen, Acknowledge, Explore, and Respond

 
Terri Ross

Terri Ross is a world-renowned practice management consultant, international speaker, and founder of APX Platform. Terri has spent 15+ years working for Fortune 500 companies in the aesthetic industry, leading sales teams to over $20M. She spent 5 years as managing partner for a high-profile medical spa in Beverly Hills and has been helping hundreds of medical aesthetic practices launch, grow, and scale upwards of $1M and beyond. Terri is a leading speaker attending over 20 annual aesthetic conferences and hosts a podcast, Intouch with Terri, where she teaches industry best practices.