How to Increase Productivity with Customer Service - Debra Engelhardt-NashIt’s a given that good customer service should be an important aspect of your business. The question is, what is the difference between good and excellent customer service? Excellence will make your practice successful.

The “human experience” has become very important for customers nowadays. Rather than concentrating on the technical aspect of your practice, why not focus on building long lasting relationships with your patients?

Brilliant service is all around us: Nordstrom, Starbucks, Ritz Carlton and Southwest Airlines, just to name a few. When you consistently provide outstanding service, you and your practice differentiate yourselves – as an individual within the practice and as a practice within the marketplace.

If you want to make a difference in your practice: motivate and inspire your staff. Employees who follow service standards by the book, rarely create memorable moments for their patients, compared to those who passionately believe in the product and service they are selling. Indeed, they will be more creative, innovative and proactive. Brilliant service comes from the heart and the head.

Here are 5 ideas to ensure your team is creating a quality experience for your patients:

1. Invest in employee training

A study conducted in 3,000 organizations by the University of Pennsylvania showed that a 10 percent investment in capital improvement boosted productivity by 3.9 percent, while the same percentage investment in developing people raised productivity by 8.5 percent.

According to the American Society of Training and Development, organizations that spent an average of $900 per employee had 57 percent higher net sales and 37 percent higher gross profits.

Singapore Airlines spends $100 million annually on training – it’s the largest single component of the company’s budget.

Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks is convinced that investing in employee training works:

“Starbucks is not an advertiser; people think we are a great marketing company, but in fact we spend very little money on marketing and more money on training our people than advertising.”

There is no doubt about it: training your team yields measurable results.

2. Empower your employees to solve problems

Train each team member in taking responsibility and finding the right solution for the patients’ problem. Teach them how to avoid quoting “office policy” as an excuse. Build confidence among team members and teach them how to “think on their feet” – knowing the desired outcome and how they can achieve a win/win situation for the practice and patients.

3. Listen to your team members

Maintain quality at the core of all patients’ care by running team meetings to review customer service cues in your practice. For every system, there should be a discussion with your team on how to address office protocols and more importantly, how to make your patients understand them.

Allow time for your team to ask questions and learn the philosophy behind your practice. Help them understand the benefits of your standards so they can talk to patients with more confidence.

We spend 85 percent of our time interacting with patients and only 15 percent in actual clinical applications. More training in communication skills may be needed in your practice to improve Team skills.

4. Learn how “others” are doing it – inside and outside the industry.

Go on a “field trip” to watch exceptional customer service in action. Instruct your Team to watch and learn from great and poor customer service. Remember to report their observations in a team meeting. Remember to conduct a team meeting to create your own quality service cues for your practice.

5. Treat your team members like your patients

Ritz Carlton has a saying: “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen”. Treat your team members the way your practice wants them to treat patients. When your employees feel respected, valued and cared for, they will return the favor with your patients.

Set team members up for success by equipping them with the proper tools to provide brilliant service. This might take the form of ongoing training, more team meetings or personal growth conferences.
Investment in training is a surefire way of developing your practice. If cost consideration is a factor, imagine what it costs to the practice when your Team is not adequately trained. Team inefficiencies and ineffectiveness affect the practice’s revenue. Train the people who take care of your patients, invest in what makes a significant difference in your practice and reap the rewards of excellence.

(Note: This article was originally written for and posted on Nimbyx.com September 27, 2016.  Please click here to view the original Nimbyx post.)