It comes as no shock that our patients possess a variety of personality types and traits. Some consumers’ lives are filled with a steady stream of appointments and “must-dos”, while others lead a more leisurely lifestyle. There are patients who are repulsed by the thought of having to sit through a congenial conversation with a nurse while waiting for the physician to enter the room; while others look forward to a chance to engage others in routine chatter.
The difficulty in serving your patients and creating memorable patient experiences is that your staff members are dealing with a wide range of these personalities one after the other! Not all patients entering the exam room will be pleased when offered small talk, while others would be offended if a nurse was short and to the point. It is important for healthcare professionals to take a moment to gauge a customer’s personality; often this can be done by simply observing body language and opening remarks to questions asked.
I found a prime example of this variety of opinions a few days ago while listening to some of our mystery shopper calls to a particular organization. One gentleman made a call to a family medicine office and provided positive feedback about his experience, stating, “The call was quick, efficient and timely!” He went on to provide praise on various questions throughout the survey based upon the scheduler’s quick nature and efficient manner. As, I was listening to the call (I, myself, am more of a self-diagnosed “Chatty Cathy”), I couldn’t help but feel like the scheduler was being short and rushing through the call offering no personality or compassion.
After reading through our shopper’s survey and listening to the same call he had experienced, I realized we had completely opposite opinions on what “great customer service is…” To him, he wanted a fast, timely, efficient scheduler to make an appointment and tell him when to be there; while I would have wanted a scheduler to joke with me, ask me questions about myself and converse in a personal manner.
How do you like your healthcare experiences? Are you eager for conversation or looking to be on your way to your next “to-do” in a timely manner? Whichever you are, healthcare professionals must be sure to adapt to your needs in order to provide you with what would be considered a great healthcare experience.
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