What do we mean when we say “quality” and how do you know if you’re delivering it?
Quality can be defined as: “The standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind or the degree of excellence of something. Obviously quality can cover both ends of the spectrum. We’ll take a leap of faith and assume you’ve chosen to provide your patients with superior quality.
Quality of What?
You’ve opted to provide superior quality, but of what? The product, the service or both? In this industry the product is fixed. Vendor XYZ hearing aid, Model ABC is the same no matter where it’s purchased. That leaves you with service.
Time to Revisit Your Office
We become complacent, it’s human nature. In our personal space there is a degree of disorder that we are willing to accept when it’s just “us”. But if “company” is coming over suddenly that degree of disorder is no longer acceptable. Too often we treat our patients more like one of “us” and less like the “company” they really are.
How Patient Friendly is Your Office?
From Wendy Leebov, the following five patient needs are primary in providing an environment conducive to patient comfort, satisfaction and a quality patient experience.
1. Wayfinding: Patients are stressed when they have any sort of problem finding or making their way to your offices. Maps, transportation options, convenient parking, graphics and signs are all important to consider in order to remove impediments and reduce unsettling confusion.
2. Physical Comfort: Chairs, lighting, room arrangements, furniture design, assistive devices and railings, smells, colors, textures, and noise all influence the patient’s comfort level.
3. Privacy and Personal Territory: People appreciate the ability to control the extent to which they interact with other people. The optimal environment caters to people with different preferences.
4. Peace and the Absence of Noise: The Devil’s Dictionary (Ambrose Bierce) defines noise as “a stench in the ear.” Unwanted noise increases people’s perception of pain. Noise interferes with relaxation and often leads to irritability and anxiety. In their doctor’s office and other ambulatory care settings, people expect peace and quiet.
5. Sense of Security: People want to feel protected, protected from slips, slides and falls, confident that the equipment will hold them, and so safe that they can let go of watchfulness and close their eyes.
Use this questionnaire to assess the friendliness of your office.
Special Needs Assessment
Your demographic is older, less mobile and possibly larger (as we age we pack on pounds) than other demographics. Here is a great primer developed by the American Medical Association about how to address the needs of obese patients.
Ensuring that your office is “senior friendly” should be an ongoing process. Use this checklist as a starting point, adding features as they’re identified by you, your staff and your patients.
The criteria customers use to evaluate when making a purchase is rarely just the price point of a product. The decision includes an assessment of store location, convenience, hours, sales help, displays, policies and many more mundane but critical details. Each patient weighs each criterion a little differently (creating niches for you to possibly exploit), but in the end only one store gets the sale. Success in retail doesn’t mean doing it well; it means doing it the best.
Look for more regarding superior quality customer service next week. I realized half way through this blog just how much I could write about providing quality customer service.