You may not have a 5-star facility, but you can always offer 5-star patient service.
Want better ratings, reviews and referrals? It all starts with being ready to wow your patients.
Have you heard of the Ritz-Carlton Hotels? How would you like to be the Ritz-Carlton of your industry? Whether you’ve stayed there or not, most people associate the hotel chain as one of the classiest and fanciest hospitality options. According to Satmetrix benchmarks, Ritz Carlton reportedly has an average Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 75, one of the highest known NPS scores in the hotel industry. The average for hotels is 40.
However, not everyone knows what makes the hotel chain’s clock truly tick
Ritz-Carlton operates luxury hotels and five-star resorts worldwide and has long since demonstrated an organizational culture based on outstanding customer service. Besides holding one of the highest J.D. Power and NPS rankings for guest satisfaction, the renowned chain has received all the significant awards the hospitality industry can bestow.
Let’s take a page out of the Ritz-Carlton playbook on customer service “Gold Standards” they use to deliver 5-star experiences. Borrowing practices from great companies outside of your industry can provide game-changing results. The Ritz’s Gold Standards are simple, well-established, and easy to follow.
The Ritz-Carlong “Credo” is:
- The Ritz-Carlton is a place where the genuine care and comfort of our guests is our highest mission.
- We pledge to provide the finest personal service and facilities for our guests who will always enjoy a warm, relaxed, yet refined ambience.
- The Ritz-Carlton experience enlivens the senses, instils well-being, and fulfills even the unexpressed wishes and needs of our guests.
It’s easy to imagine how you could apply this Credo to your clinic with minimal adaptations.
The Ritz-Carlton “Motto” is
At The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., “We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen.” This motto exemplifies the anticipatory service provided by all staff members.
Furthermore, they list “Three Steps Of Service”
- A warm and sincere greeting.
- Use the guest’s name. Anticipation and fulfilment of each guest’s needs.
- Fond farewell. Give a warm goodbye and use the guest’s name.
The best receptionist we ever worked with
We’ve had the privilege of visiting hundreds of eye clinics over the past 20 years. We’ve had the opportunity to observe many receptionists, some of whom we’ve personally recruited, trained and managed for their jobs.
When I think of the best receptionist I’ve ever worked with, I think of Carey from my early experiences managing Professor Dan Reinstein’s London Vision Clinic. Carey was a superstar, and if I were to ever look for a receptionist again, I would use Carey as my model.
Carey built strong relationships and created London Vision Clinic patients for life. 10 years later, patients would come in for their annual check-ups and still ask about Carey, who had since moved on. She was always responsive to our patients’ expressed and unexpressed wishes and needs.
Carey was empowered to create unique, memorable and personal experiences for our patients. She continuously sought opportunities to innovate and improve the London Vision Clinic experience. Carey owned and immediately resolved patient problems.
She helped to create a work environment of teamwork and lateral service so that the needs of our patients and each other were met. Carey had the opportunity to continuously learn and grow. She was involved in the planning of the work that affected her.
Carey was proud of her professional appearance, language and behaviour. She protected the privacy and security of our patients, her fellow employees and the company’s confidential information and assets. Carey was responsible for uncompromising cleanliness levels and creating a safe and accident-free environment.
And today, the London Vision Clinic has one of the best reputations of any independent clinic in the UK. Their ratings and reviews are excellent, and they receive almost half of their new patients from patient and optometric referrals.
Carey was one of the very best receptionists I’ve ever observed, and she embodied the Ritz-Carlton “Service Values”. Consider your receptionists, patient liaisons, healthcare techs, optometrists and surgeons. Can you say they do all of that? I hope so, but it’s up to the leaders.
What’s your role in delivering Ritz-Carlton patient service?
As leaders of your organisations, employers must acknowledge that your team is the most important resource in your patient service commitment to your patients. By applying principles of trust, honesty, respect, integrity, and commitment, you must nurture and maximise talent to benefit each individual and your clinic.
Your clinic must foster a work environment where you value diversity, enhance the quality of life, and fulfil individual aspirations. And by doing so, you will strengthen your brand beyond the capabilities of any marketing campaign.
Encourage your team to engage with your guests in any way possible—pre-arrival, while they’re with you, and during post-op. Whether positive or constructive feedback is critical for their development and growth. Respond to all guest feedback. Analyse the data from your reviews and surveys and use it to prioritise investment and promotion decisions. Be consistent in your patient service and approach to making your brand successful. Instil a culture of engineering Ah-ha moments and delighting the patient every time.
Now let’s get into the proactive effort of asking for ratings, reviews and referrals.
It usually takes patients a couple of weeks to adjust to their new after-state after treatment. Once the patient begins to enjoy the benefits of their treatment, you should ask for ratings, reviews and referrals.
You don’t want to wait too long before asking for referrals. People tend to adapt to their new circumstances fairly quickly. The excitement and enthusiasm usually start to fade between one to three months post-op. Depending on the nature of the treatment and the recovery, the best time to ask for a referral is usually after the first month.
I recommend that the patient liaison who formed the initial bond with the prospect during the discovery ask for ratings, reviews, and referrals. But the receptionist can also play this part.