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  • Kristin McNealus, DPT, MBA

You’re Providing a Service

Customer service. This can often be neglected, especially if your patients are getting referred to you or if you are the contracted clinic for a particular payer. Do not forget that patients are your customers.

How are your patients greeted when they arrive at your clinic? Is there a receptionist who may or may not welcome them by name? Do they have to wait at a counter to check in? This is the first impression client have of your clinic… and it is often overlooked because we don’t often think of customer service.

Let’s take a step back, and I want you to think about going to the salon or the day spa. I am sure you can think of the places you immediately liked – as well as the ones you quickly decided you didn’t want to return to after this visit. Make your clients feel like you are happy they came in, that you are excited to see them, that you are glad they chose your clinic!

Then take this same approach in evaluating how the phones are answered… is the phone call friendly and welcoming? Because you won’t even get people in the door if they didn’t like how they were treated on the phone.

After the initial evaluation, don’t make them sit and wait for you. Let them know that when they arrive, they should hop on the stationary bike (or other appropriate equipment) to get warmed up for the session. This way if you are running a bit behind, your clients are not watching the clock. And you are incorporating the wellness education you had previously discussed.

This also demonstrates that you are respectful of their time. Just as you find time to be a precious commodity, your customers do not want any part of their day wasted in some waiting room. Or if they do, that is their choice, but make it an option rather than mandatory.

Even if you provide top notch physical therapy, you risk losing patients because you didn’t treat them like your customers. You could lose the word of mouth referrals. And if they don’t enjoy the experience they had at your clinic, you may not even get the chance to show off your PT skills. Don’t forget customer service.

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