At What Point Do Patients Finally Respond to Poor Customer Service?

Most have a varying degree of composure and patience when it comes to dealing with bad or poor customer service.  While some consumers are quick to state their point, others prefer to avoid conflict and work through the situation at hand without speaking up.  Healthcare is certainly no different; while some receiving poor care will immediately seek out a new provider, others are content with continuing care.

serviceA recent conversation brought to light the severity of this tendency to comply.  A friend having health issues for the past several years noted they had yet to find relief from the variety of tests and treatment “recommendations” given by their physician.  Upon further discussion, it became clear the visits they were undergoing simply went as follows, “I see that didn’t work for you… let’s try this.  My nurse will be in shortly.  Hope that helps.”  While trial and error is a natural aspect of healthcare, a lack of interest in patients’ needs and overall health is certainly not.  Over the three years this patient has seen the particular physician, thousands of dollars in procedures have been spent and still the time spent with the physician during an appointment dwindles.

When asked why they continue to see this physician and put up with such a low level of care they say, “It is the physician I was referred to.”  In many cases, even though quality of care and bedside manner fall on the wayside, patients continue to come back to physicians due to a lack of information or time spent further investigating additional providers.  With a wide range of information available, patients must take control of their health and use the resources they have been given.  Through the use of online reviews, detailed practice websites and social media; patients are provided with information to make informed decisions about their health and whom they choose to handle their healthcare needs.

Physicians must also keep in mind the shift of power toward the consumer.  A general disinterest in patient care can quickly lead to negative patient reviews online and off.  Even with the rapid increase in online information, healthcare remains an industry rooted in word of mouth referrals.  For physicians, failing to take the time to nurture patient/physician relationships can lead to setbacks and a negative reputation that make take years to recover from.

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