Only 19% of patients are satisfied with their healthcare interactions. You can change that.
By Dr. Greg Grillo
Your team shows up every day to give people an exceptional healthcare experience. You know how to look people in the eye, smile, and ask them if they’re doing OK. And your patients consider your slow, painless injection the best they’ve ever had. But many practices act like the patient experience only exists between when someone walks in and out of the front door.
It goes deeper. A truly memorable experience requires care and planning at every touch point a patient has with your practice. You build it by linking critical steps that move people from one satisfying point to the next. Some steps even circle back around in a familiar fashion that never let the journey end. It’s like a hike that you never get tired of taking.
Creating a patient experience that’s pleasant, familiar, and valued involves 8 essential steps and tools to build perpetual growth. Here’s how it works:
STEP #1: GET ATTENTION
If you don’t give prospective patients a reason to take a first look, none of the other steps matter. Over 40% of search engine queries relate to a user’s location or local businesses, so your practice must have a deliberate stake in local searches. Google sets the rules, and the algorithms shift like mysterious quicksand.
STEP #2: GIVE A GOOD IMPRESSION
After grabbing attention, you have a brief window to hold it. A Microsoft study showed that the average attention span lasts 8 seconds, and that’s down from 12 seconds in 2000. The moment a searcher clicks a Google result to visit your website, the clock starts ticking. More than 50% of traffic comes from mobile devices, so make sure your site looks fantastic on a smartphone too.
STEP #3: SCHEDULE ON THEIR TERMS
Getting an engaged website visitor from a few seconds on your website to scheduling an appointment is a giant step forward. Breaking down barriers to making an appointment helps patients commit. One of the biggest complaints of 2 in 3 consumers is being put on hold when they call a business. One study recently showed that 68% of patients are more likely to choose a provider that offers online scheduling.
STEP #4: MAKE INTAKE EASY
There was already a long list of reasons to avoid paper forms in today’s world. Now COVID-19 necessitates removing as many touch-points as possible, especially ones that includes pens and clipboards. Plus, the average practice can save about $10,000 annually by moving to a paperless model. Turns out that no one really misses charts, forms, and plastic x-rays–especially not your pocketbook. Simplifying the step between online scheduling and completing intake forms helps your practice build a critical bridge along a patient’s journey.
STEP #5: PROVIDE COMFORT
Once a patient moves deeper into their interaction with your practice, it’s time to offer a little more “wow.” You send a powerful message by finding out what makes people sweat before their visits, and how you can help. With hundreds of patients to manage every month, how do you make every patient feel like the only one that matters?
STEP #6: GET FEEDBACK
Once you’ve built a memorable experience for a patient, it’s critical to gather information about how you’ve done. 91% of patients conduct online research before choosing a healthcare provider, and 84% trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. Reviews help shape trust and expectations, but they go deeper. People love being asked for their opinion. Tools that personally ask for input send a message that says, “We care about what you think.”
STEP #7: MAKE PAYING EASY
Financial barriers can derail a patient’s experience faster than any other factor. Clear expectations and communication help keep patients happy and on the right track. 61% of patients consider switching healthcare providers simply based on a better payment experience.
STEP #8: BE A RELIABLE SOURCE
Your patients absorb massive amounts of media and content. In fact, the average consumer spends nearly seven hours online every day . Among the noise, it’s sometimes hard to know who and what to believe. When it comes to wellness, you should be that voice. Create a first-class patient experience by providing a steady, reliable source of information in your community. How do you do that without being annoying?
Be The Memorable One
About 81% of patients are dissatisfied with their healthcare experiences, but you can change that. Stand out from the crowd by building a patient experience that begins before their first visit, and lasts for a lifetime. Chart a deliberate set of steps for your patients and pay attention to moments other practices ignore; with that level of care you’ll build fierce loyalty and foster raving fans!
If you’d like more tips for building a great patient experience, check out our webinar, “ How to Craft A Patient Experience Worthy of 5-Star Reviews .”