Acquiring new and existing patients is something on every small medical practice’s list of priorities as offices reopen tailing surges of COVID-19. Over the last several months, many patients are likely feeling apprehensive about returning to medical practices in fear of potential viral exposure. Now that evolving research and procedures are being carried out to reduce the spread of illness, patients are looking to return to their routine medical checkups and procedures – making this the perfect opportunity for small medical practices to shine when it comes to their customer service. But what skills and qualities are needed to stand out?
While it might seem pretty obvious, respect ought to be regarded as the most important quality of anyone in a customer service role. Respect goes beyond simply being kind and saying “please” and “thank you”. Respect also embodies considerations such as asking the patient their name and using it throughout the duration of the interaction, asking them about their day, or not interrupting them while they are speaking. These simple considerations demonstrate a level of respect that helps clients feel their needs are being valued and cared for.
One of the top reasons clients feel frustrated and dissatisfied with their customer service experiences is that they often feel they haven’t really been listened to. The most likely reason this occurs is that the customer service representative misinterpreted what the patient was saying. Active listening is more than just hearing what the individual is saying so that you can respond. Active listening involves intentionally taking the time and effort to truly understand a client’s concerns and circumstances and then letting them know you’re paying attention. This can be easily achieved simply by rephrasing their concerns in your own words or following up with additional, related questions that demonstrate your eagerness to understand the issue.
Many clients will struggle to clearly communicate their plight to their customer service representative. This is especially the case if emotions are running high with questions or concerns. Losing focus, changing the subject, using unclear language, and so many more communication factors can lead to poor customer experiences. Speak with clarity, intention, and with a clear direction that directly pertains to your client’s concerns during your client interactions.
As stressful and anxiety-inducing as customer service can be, it is imperative to be patient with clients, especially in situations that call for clear-minded problem-solving. Keeping your cool is critical to ensuring that an interaction doesn’t get out of hand. One way to do this is to remember that if a patient is concerned or angry, it may have more to do with the issue at hand than it does with you personally. Putting yourself in their shoes can help you remain calm and focused.
Putting yourself in your clients’ shoes leads us to empathy. This is the ability to sense, interpret, and comprehend the emotions that others feel. Putting yourself in the shoes of your clients will enable you to understand their experience and to more clearly think about how to ease their concerns and answer their questions.
Positive Attitude (and Language)
Keeping a positive attitude when clients are calling you with questions and concerns is one thing. But staying positive isn’t just an internal outlook you need to possess: it needs to be outwardly expressed so that your clients will feel positive about the experience as well. Using positive language to keep the interaction upbeat is key. “That’s a great question and I’m happy to get that information for you” or “Your concerns are completely valid, we’ll get this sorted out right way” are both examples of how you can address questions and concerns in a positive way.
The bottom line here is that as everyone may still be feeling some apprehension about continuing aspects of their daily lives such as routine medical office visits. Demonstrating these top customer service characteristics will help to ease your clients back into their routines, address their questions and concerns, and keep them coming back to you because they trust you. Investing in an answering service with trained professionals that specialize in these top customer service skills is a great way to sustain clientele moving forward.
Give Midwest Answer a call today to learn more about how trained specialists with these top skills can serve your business 844-720-1115.