Beyond Great Service: 5 Tips to Show Patient Appreciation

When was the last time your practice went the extra mile to express gratitude? Whether it was yesterday, last week, last month, or even last year, the ways in which your clinic shows patients just how much they are appreciated can help provide a positive patient experience and lay the ground work to build a lasting relationship. Genuine expressions of appreciation share three common themes, including:

  • Being grateful In this sense, for their trust and relationship
  • Respecting worth In this case, understanding the importance of the relationship
  • Growing value Specifically, building trust and improving sight.

If your practice can deliver on each of these themes, you will be elevating the patient experience and building symbiosis with those whom you serve. There is no replacement for providing great service and a positive experience, but here are five other ways to help you show appreciation and inject positivity into your practice.

1. Make your practice a space patients want to visit.

Have you ever spent time in your clinic as a patient would? Take notice of each step of the patient consultation, examination, procedure and follow up to find ways to inject some personality into the environment. Small gestures like providing branded bottles of water, validating parking, or having snacks available make patients feel like welcomed guests. Want to take it one step further? Decorate the waiting room for holidays, the change of seasons or to compliment a new marketing promotion? Plan out ways to incorporate your staff into these efforts because if they are having fun, your patients will, too.

2. Don’t miss an opportunity to touch base.

For new patients, make them feel welcome by suggesting they connect with your practice on social media and share their experiences on the page. Established patients will appreciate if you send appointment reminders, birthday cards and thank you notes following procedures or for referrals. Satisfied patients can become your best advocates if you ask them to tell their story and then feature them prominently in your practice by having a brag book in the waiting room or a presentation on a tablet. Every opportunity that your practice has to go the extra mile to make patients feel cared for will help differentiate you.

3. Say “Thank you,” and mean it. 

This seems like such a simple notion, but is one that is often taken for granted. We have all had occasion to spend a long time in a waiting room. If you look back on those experiences, you may recall that what made you feel anxious or annoyed was the thought that you had been forgotten. A simple acknowledgement of the delay in the form of a sincere, “thanks for waiting,” can go a long way. A word of caution: being genuine is very important, and makes the message you are delivering feel personal. If the expression is forced or disingenuous, it can backfire. Empathy is the easiest form of appreciation and helps to recognize inconvenience, acknowledge issues, or explain that you are proactively trying to address patient needs as quickly as possible… in just a few words.

4. Extend your efforts to your staff.

The team in your office is vital to portraying the practice in the best possible light, and can help establish trust. That’s a hefty job, and the best way to be confident that they will deliver on this for you is to be sure you have the right team in place. Approach your relationships with your staff in the same way you do those with your patients. Be more positive than negative, encourage an open and friendly atmosphere, offer compliments and thanks for a job well done and let them know that their efforts are making a difference. A happy team is a successful team, and their happiness will be infectious.

5. Invite people to get together.

Whether its once a quarter or once a year, consider hosting an event to gather your prospects, patients, their families and staff together in a nonclinical way. Host a tailgating barbecue outside in the fall, offer an educational lunch and learn in your office, or host a dinner party at a restaurant for repeat referrers. Think about what talents your coworkers have that you can make use of – if someone is talented with facepaint or likes to bake or takes great photos, give them an opportunity to showcase their talents. Let the event unfold naturally and delegate tasks evenly so that everyone involved gets to enjoy the day.

Whether you select some of these ideas, or come up with your own, if you can find a way to deliver on the three themes of being grateful, respecting worth and growing value, you can ensure positive patient engagement and establish longterm brand loyalty.

– By Rachel Rickert, Creative Marketing Manager for Sightpath Medical

All Sightpath Medical customers receive access to a a full range of practice-building resources. From staff training and sample forms, to video tutorials and monthly webinars, we are here to help. Customers can access the Resource Library, here. Additionally, Sightpath Marketing Services can help create interactions and energize a referral network to drive procedures, with ongoing practice development support on a variety of levels. To learn more aboutSightpath Marketing Services, click here.