Are you ready to wow? Learn how to earn patient ratings, reviews and referrals
How we learned how to WOW patients at the London Vision Clinic
One of our earliest experiences in laser eye surgery that I will always treasure is our opportunity to start a brand-new clinic in the centre of London, which would end up becoming the London Vision Clinic. And during that experience, we had an open opportunity to do what it took to provide five-star Ritz Carlton service and bring that to a clinical environment. And we were quite fortunate that we were able to have people in place and hire some really great people who could deliver on that service and that standard.
How can you empower your people to WOW?
Now, one of the things that I found in retrospect that enabled us to do just that, and I can’t take credit entirely for myself, certainly, or even Laura, but rather the credit is due to those people who delivered that service. But one thing that we did do right, is we empowered those people to make their own decisions, to make their own calls.
And we allowed them to use their judgment to treat people just as they themselves would like to be treated or as if they were to treat a family member.
I think that is the number one thing that people have to understand about service. It’s not so much about routine protocols, although that matters. It’s not so much about standards, although you need those in order to know whether you’re doing it right. It’s not so much about scripts and plans, however, those are really handy when trying to recover things, especially when you’re on your feet.
What most matters is hiring those folks and giving them the power to be able to exercise their good judgment.
And when you do that, when you back up your staff, but also treat them more importantly than you would treat your own clients, customers, or patients, then they’re going to be able to feel like it’s worth it to them, personally, to treat all of your patients just as good as they’re treated.
And I think that if you think about that, that’s going to get you down the right track when it comes to customer service. And then you can layer in all the training and all the standards and all the protocols and all the routines and all the plans and all the procedures. Those things are all vital but start with that foundation in place. Be a good person, be a good boss, be a good leader, and then you can expect your people to be fantastic to those people you value just as much like your customers.
(NOTE: Want to see how your practice marketing measures up against the best in class? Take this 5-minute quiz to see how you stack up in the 9 areas of practice marketing and get specific tips and advice on how you can improve your weak points and better leverage your strengths).
How can you get ready to WOW your patients?
How do you get ready to wow in a clinic? It’s similar to remarkable – “able to remark upon” – but it’s even more than that. If you have a WOW response, something has happened to you during that service experience.
Suppose you think about taking a flight or going to a hotel or going to a spa or doing something where you expect a higher level of service. To be wowed nowadays is rare. So if you think about making WOW a target for you and your clinic, this is a competitive tool that you can use to help you stand apart.
And the aim of everything that we’re trying to do is to help you stand apart from the evoked set of two to three other clinics that a patient is considering when they’re coming in. They’re looking around, and they’re saying, “Are these the guys? Are these the guys that are going to best help me transform my life?”
So getting ready to WOW is putting on your thinking cap and saying, “How can we do something that’s not a box check?”
Yes, of course, you gave them coffee, and of course, you have a fresh lick of paint on the wall, and of course, you have tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, all the everyday things.
This is going above and beyond that. A great book on this subject and a very, very early forerunner of customer experience are “Raving Fans” by Kenneth Blanchard. And it is the same idea. WOW, raving fans, it sounds like a raving lunatic, doesn’t it? So raving, you cannot help telling people about the experience. So you’ve got to think to do that, “I do need to put some processes and systems in place so that I have planned out exactly what’s going to happen and so that I make an emotional connection with the customer.”
What is that first experience like from the moment they call you?
What are you going to do on the telephone to make them feel like, “Wow, this is a different experience than the guy I called and just said it was 4,000, and then I hung up? Oh, this is very, very different. Wow, they ask me questions, they engage me. They asked me about my life. What can I do when they first come in?” Yes, of course, give them coffee, but some of the clinics we work with, have a menu. And some of the clinics have a magazine subscription to every single magazine that you could imagine. And of course, including visually relevant magazines with travel and lifestyle and that kind of thing makes you experience the after.
Before you’ve even had your consultation, you see all these beautiful magazine covers and everything that can happen. Some clinics have in-waiting room videos. If you feel your waiting room experience will be a long time, you can offer some activities to lessen the wait—obviously, exceptional Wi-Fi.
But going beyond that, there are things that you can do at every different stage of the procedure, even on the surgery day. Some clinics do little massages before surgery. Some people give you a little bit of chocolate to relax you. There are many different little things that you can do that you systematically implement so that when people remark, they remark well about you. They have the WOW experience, and ultimately, ready to WOW is you’re forming a relationship, you’re forming trust, but you’re stimulating a recommendation.
You’re stimulating a referral, and hopefully, that referral is to friends and family. Hopefully, it ends up online and you start to create really, really cost-effective leads. Because at the end of the day, customer service serves to drive down your cost per lead. Because you don’t have to generate a cold lead, you’re generating a constant stream of warm leads for you at a much cheaper rate. So really look at your customer experience and think, “How can I wow my patients?”
How can you convert your happy patients into positive ratings, reviews and referrals?
So I like to look at that as an opportunity because you have such a great high level of happiness already, but what you need to do now is you need to convert that into positive ratings, positive reviews, and good referrals.
And how you do that is this, first of all, you want to make sure that you’re asking early and asking frequently. So some people ask me, I had a question from a customer the other day saying, “When should we start collecting reviews?” And I said to them, “As soon as they come in.” So, they come in, they have their first appointment, they have their experience, assumably, you’ve treated them very well, and when you’ve done that, you can ask them to rate their experience.
There’s no need to wait until they have a life-changing experience like having laser eye surgery and being able to see 20/20 to then ask for that experiential review. You can begin from the outset. And then what you’ve done now is you’ve gotten people accustomed to you asking.
How I would ask is in-person, certainly, but you can also set up mechanisms that everybody who attends an appointment gets a very, very quick questionnaire, “How likely would you be to recommend our service to a friend or a family member? Zero to 10.”
And based on that rating, the ones that give you nines and 10s, those are the ones you want to then further request a review. And you want to make it easy. You want to send them to your Google property on Google My Business. You want to send them to Facebook pages to leave a review there. After you’ve had somebody leave a positive review and a good rating on your social media properties, then if you’re really bold, you can then later turn that into potentially an opportunity to ask for referrals.
And that’s something many, many people don’t do. But, still, having seen it done effectively, I can attest that it’s a great practice. People will be more than happy to share the story of their transformation with all of their friends and family if you only just prompt them and give them the tools that they need to do this effectively. So I encourage you to seek that out.
About the author
LiveseySolar’s mission is to double the size of 150 cataract and refractive surgery practices. Using our proven marketing frameworks and deep market knowledge, our customers can predictably and sustainably grow their practices so that they can enjoy a healthy balance between both worlds – a successful private practice and a happy life.
Meet our Founders
Founder & Fractional CMO
Rod co-founded LiveseySolar and acts as a Fractional CMO for our customers. He’s on a mission to help transform the lives of 10,000 people with vision correction surgery by 2024. To achieve that, he inspires his customers to make confident decisions that will help 50,000 people take the first step towards vision correction.
LiveseySolar completely transformed the way we were approaching this… We’ve gone from having just the dream of having a practice to having a practice up and running with people making inquiries and booking for procedures… It’s extremely pleasing. We feel lucky we connected with LiveseySolar.
— Dr Matthew Russell, MBChB, FRANZCO, specialist ophthalmic surgeon and founder of VSON and OKKO
Founder & CEO
Laura Livesey is the co-founder & CEO of LiveseySolar. She has developed powerful refractive surgery marketing systems that increase patient volumes and profits for doctors, clinics, and hospitals, since 1997.
Rod and Laura know as much about marketing surgery to patients as I know about performing it. They are an expert in the field of laser eye surgery marketing. They know this industry inside out. I believe that they could help many companies in a variety of areas including marketing materials, sales training and marketing support for doctors.
— Prof. Dan Reinstein, MD MA FRSC DABO, founder of the London Vision Clinic, UK