Patients have always shared their medical practice experiences with friends and family. Now, they share them with the entire world. Patient and customer complaints can easily reach an audience of thousands through your Google My Business page and other sites, such as Yelp.
This can be pretty bad for your practice. However, we also think that—with the right approach—getting and handling customer complaints can ultimately enhance your practice.
There Will Always Be Complaints
First, let’s get this fact out of the way: there is nothing you can do, no approach you can take, that will prevent 100% of patient complaints. There will always be someone who comes in with unrealistic expectations, or who is just having a bad day and decides that Yelp is the place to let off some steam.
And, if we are being honest, you too will have bad days where your service just isn’t what you want it to be, and patients will rightly complain about that. But it is important to remember that complaints aren’t just negatives; they are also tools for improving your practice.
Complaints Highlight Problems
To be fair, not always. Sometimes, patients are upset about things outside your control. But in many cases, they highlight problems you do have control over. When you listen to feedback, it helps you see things you might otherwise be blind to.
They say knowledge is power, and they’re right. The better you understand where your practice is failing, the better you will be at making targeted changes. And in many cases, making these changes and validating the patient can turn them into a dedicated part of your practice.
Not quite convinced that complaints are good for growth? Here are a few things to consider.
• Complaints Are a Reality Check: It is easy to believe all is well and good if no one is telling you anything different.
• Healthcare Call Centers Can Help Manage Them: If you don’t have the bandwidth to process negative feedback directly, you can outsource complaints to a specialized call center.
• You Learn About Your Patients: It is easy to assume that since you know your field, you know what patients want and need, but we promise, there are some gaps in your knowledge.
• They Open Other Lines of Conversation: Patient engagement solutions can cover a lot, but listening to and validating a complaint will do far more in getting a patient to open up.