Are you getting serious about the impact that patient experience plays in your reputation and your ability to attract new patients and retain the ones you’ve got?
You’re not alone.
In today’s healthcare landscape, the most successful medical practices realize their entire team now plays a role in marketing and managing their medical practice including customer service, communication, patient expectations, and reputation management. That’s where good training and an ongoing engagement strategy come into play.
If you’re like us, you get bombarded daily with services to help you manage your reputation online. And yes, you do need to have a system in place to ensure your information is correct and to help you solicit and respond to reviews. But what if you looked at it differently? What if you actually invested in getting to the root of 1-star reviews instead of merely managing your reputation by trying to push down the negative with more positive?
Having a strategy in place to engage and educate employees is the difference between a 3-star and a 5+-star review. Engaging your employees with the right kind of training and professional development programs will help them understand the critical role they play in the overall patient experience and equip them with the knowledge and tools to deliver the goods. Before launching your strategy, here are three things to consider.
1. Know Your Point Person
Every great team needs a captain, and your training initiative is no different. Before you embark on any employee training initiative, you’ll need to identify who will serve as the point person at your practice. That resource person will play a critical role in ensuring that everything is running smoothly, addressing questions or concerns, and taking the initiative to the next level should you wish to incorporate other in-house training elements or implement an internal follow-up plan within your practice.
Your go-to person should be someone who can step back, reflect, and look at the long game of where your practice is headed and where it wants to go. They should also be action-oriented and able to make decisions when needed. In short, they need to be your star player.
Medical practices are embarking on ongoing employee training to help them:
- Deliver exceptional customer service
- Enhance the entire patient experience
- Positively impact online reviews
- Strengthen employee retention
Training and engagement initiatives ensure that your employees know where they stand as a member of your team and understand how their role plays into the bigger picture of marketing your practice.
These unique types of employee training programs also represent an investment in the professional development of your staff. They will help you attract and retain the best talent out there over the long term. In today’s overheated employment market with people willing to jump ship for as little as fifty cents an hour, you need every advantage you can muster to keep the great employees that you have and draw the best candidates from the field.
So be sure to select the best person in your office to run point on the initiative and act as cheerleader and champion of the project.
2. Have a Communication Plan in Place
Working hand in hand with practice administrators, local managers, and physicians, we’ve received invaluable feedback. We trust our efforts will yield impactful results and show practice employees we want to invest in them so they can perform at their very best.
Another best practice we’ve witnessed is that it’s critical to have a communication plan in place when launching your training program to make sure everyone at your practice is on the same page. The training platform we’ve designed already has everything built into it, and is ready to go once you sign up. When you register, your employees receive an email based on the frequency you choose, and that fits your schedule.
However, a critical piece of the puzzle is making sure that your physicians, your employees, and your mid-level managers are all on board with the initiative. You want your docs and managers to fully understand what your employees will be doing and how they can offer encouragement and feedback to your staff as they go through the process. So before setting foot out of the gate, you’ll need to identify who will communicate those expectations to your mid-level staff.
With that critical need in mind, we went back to the drawing board and developed a comprehensive training program for trainers. Its goal is to ensure that everyone at your practice from the docs to the managers understand how they can help maximize employee training and engagement.
3. Identify Who Will Take the Training
It may seem obvious, but you need to answer a simple yet vital question: who is going to take the training? Will everyone at your practice be responsible for taking it? And will they all take it in the same way?
The Insight Training Solutions patient experience training program is broken up into five modules consisting of less than ten minutes each. However, your physicians may not have the time to take all five modules spread out over five weeks; they may prefer to take them all upfront. Perhaps your mid-level managers would also favor taking the training up front to know in advance what the employees will experience and be able to support them along the way.
From what we’ve seen, medical practices who have excelled at implementing their training programs have had everyone at their practice undergo the same training content, from the front desk staff to the nurses, to the billing department.
The patient experience training places your patient at the epicenter of all your marketing and customer service efforts. Today, a patient can interact with your practice in a myriad of ways even before they walk into the doctor’s office whether it’s on your website or through social media, offline, at the front desk, or in the back office. You just never know what can influence your patients’ experience. It could even be the cleanliness of your restroom, the size of the font on your invoices, or an interaction on social media that leave its mark on the patient. In short, you need to cover all your bases.
Marketing your medical practice today is about customer service and community, and how effectively you maximize both. Your employees are your front-line customer service advocates as well as the pillars onto which you can build and strengthen your community. And your entire organization needs to know, learn, and embody that philosophy in order to thrive and succeed.
Join us next week when we’ll share more insights directly from medical practices that have launched or plan to launch their own training initiatives. We are grateful for the feedback we’ve received that will enable us to ultimately deliver a better product. Whether you’re a physician, practice manager, or an employee just following along, we hope you can take some of the ideas presented here and use them to improve the patient experience at your own practice.
If you need anything at all or have any questions, please feel free to contact us.