Patient satisfaction is the cornerstone of my philosophy on practice building. Also known as customer service in the business world, I believe this is the single most important factor in generating referrals, which is how most optometric practices are built. I advise doctors to look hard at their policies to make sure they’re patient friendly and to train staff members to always adopt a kind, caring attitude.
This area is so important that I don’t think it is enough to just assume we are meeting our goal of providing extremely high levels of patient service – we need to measure it. You could do this by sending out a survey to a random sample of patients, but I decided long ago to monitor satisfaction continuously with every patient.
We use a simple post card, which we have printed with 7 quick questions and a space for write-in comments. A card is given to every patient seen in our practice, either at the end of their eye exam or when they pick up new glasses, and the assistant stresses how important their opinion is to us and how we really hope they will take the time to complete the card. She often says “this is our report card”! The card is pre-addressed to my office and is postage paid via business reply mail, which means our office only pays postage on cards that are actually mailed back (check with your local post office on how to do this).
We get a big return on these cards – at least 5 or 6 per day. I credit this to the easy yes or no questions, the postage-free aspect and the ability to be completely anonymous. Obviously, you should receive a very high percentage of good responses and comments. We share all the cards with the staff and they serve as great morale boosters, especially when the name of a good employee is written in. If we receive a complaint, we try to resolve it for the patient and we learn from it and often discuss it in general at staff meetings.
The card and questions were actually designed by my friend and colleague, Dr. Terry Hawks, of Overland Park, Kansas and it has been shared with ODs all over the country. Here is the exact wording as printed on one side of the 4 by 6 inch card. The other side is for the address and postal information.
|Was our staff courteous and helpful?||Yes||No|
|Were you seen in a timely manner?||Yes||No|
|Was your examination thorough?||Yes||No|
|Were you satisfied with the explanation of your visual conditions and treatment options?||Yes||No|
If fit with contact lenses or glasses, did the service
and quality meet your expectations?
|Would you refer a friend to our office for eye care?||Yes||No|
|How would you rate your overall satisfaction with our office?||Yes||No|