Ever needed information, asked several different people, and received several different answers?
Even more confusing, how about asking several different people who work in the same office and still receive several different answers?
This happened to me in a practice I was with. It concerned bleaching or whitening the teeth. The patient had received instructions from the assistant as she was being dismissed in the back.
As the patient was checking out, she asked the front desk to explain it to her again and received a different set of instructions.
Confused by the information, when the patient got home, she called the office, spoke to another person and received…you guessed it…. a third set of instructions different from the first two.
This time she asked to speak to the office manager, explained to me what had happened, and expressed her disappointment in the office.
You can believe at that point we had a team meeting, determined how we were going to present this information in the future, printed the information to become part of our procedures, and developed a hand out to our patients.
Now anyone inquiring about or actually whitening hears the same message no matter which team member is asked.
This type of situation happens all to often. Having a patient receive conflicting information is bad enough, but what’s worse is the trust the patient loses in their perception of the team and the practice. Trust you worked hard to develop…..gone in just a few sentences.
Whitening instructions is just one situation for consistency. Doing the same procedures over and over, we have a tendency to just take it for granted everybody knows how to explain or present needed information to the patient.
Think about the many different areas developing consistent information would be beneficial: New Patient inquiry’s, Office policy on Accepting Insurance, Financial Arrangements, Emergency Patient inquiry’s, Hygiene visits, Operative procedures…and this is just for starters.
Are you sure your front office (and clinical team) are all giving the same (consistent) information in response to patient inquiry’s? Do you have written responses in place clearly stating the practice vision with specific information for training new (and existing) team members?
What systems do you have in place for making sure this specific information is being consistently used by all team members? How are they receiving the information? Do you have scheduled training sessions that include role playing?
Is the person training new employees doing so representing the practice vision or is the person training with their own ideas on how something should be presented?
This area of communication doesn’t need to be left to chance in the hope or assumption that everyone is responding with your practice’s vision or best interest.
“Internal communications” is a crucial part of (internal) marketing. You wouldn’t allow any external advertising (marketing) to be placed without your final approval in making sure it represented the practice at it’s best.
External advertising is usually a monthly or possibly a one time advertisement. Internal communications are daily…presented over and over…”advertisements” for the practice.
Developing your practice’s internal communications (as well as external communications) is a critically important step within your office policy and procedures. If you don’t have the time or feel confident enough to write your own content, contact a reliable copywriter.
Your response to specific situations and procedures is how patients perceive your team, their perception of you, and their overall view of your practice. With Consistency…everyone is on the same page!
Livvie Matthews, freelance writing services/Owner of Write Business has been helping businesses with their online and printed marketing content including Brochures, Web Site content, White Pages, e-mail Marketing, and Newsletters since the late ’90’s. e-mail Livvie@writebusiness.net or Visit http://www.WriteBusiness.net.
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