At the restaurant
Yesterday, as I was waiting for my wife and kids to return to our table at the restaurant, I noticed a couple being ushered to their table. The host politely waited for the couple to sit down and immediately after sitting, he handed the menus to the couple.
The menus were handed over opened (like an open book) to the couple as a courtesy. After taking a glance at the menu, both of them closed them, put them down on the table and went for their reading glasses.
I observed other people sitting down at their table and similar behaviors occurred. The host waited for the person to sit down (as if saying, hurry up, I need to hand you these things) so he could hand over the open menus. But the majority of the patrons would only take a glance before closing them and setting them down to adjust their seat, find a place for their purse, check their phone, finish up the conversation, or continue their conversation.
A bit rushed?
It appeared to me that the otherwise nice gesture of handing the menus already opened as soon as they sat down was more of an inconvenience and a bit rushed. Most people hurried to sit down (because the guy was hovering), took the menu, closed it and placed it on the table without even looking at them.
Patrons didn’t complain or appeared to be annoyed. I’m probably making a bigger deal about it than it was. But it made me curios about things we do with the best of intentions but really create an inconvenience.
How about us?
So I thought about our demographic forms that we ask parents to update. Forms are a pain for our patients. It kind of ruins the experience. But we need them. There is no around it, right?
That doesn’t mean we can’t try to make them a little better by taking into consideration the behavior I observed at the restaurant.
I started thinking, do parents really have to fill out a form for each one of their children? The home address is the same, so is the phone number and the insurance company… why not make a single form for all those things instead of three forms for three siblings?
And what about requiring parents/patients to fill out where to submit claims and telephone numbers for their insurance company? Is it necessary to ask them to do that if you are going to copy or scan the insurance card anyway?
I decided to change a few things on our demographic forms in an effort to simplify, thus trying to make it more convenient for the parents. Take a look and tell me what you think. (Registration09)
Are you creating inconveniences?
Maybe the form you use is fine. Maybe your forms are as lean as they can be. But the point I’m trying to make doesn’t have to do with how I changed the forms. What I’m encouraging you to do is look at your practice’s way of doing things and identify what you can simplify to enhance the experience your patients have when visiting your practice.
Remarkable or average
Fact is, the majority of practices are average. But taking little extra steps for the patients all of a sudden is the little thing that makes your practice different. And sometimes, it is all about the little things.
How about you? What have you done in your practice to enhance your customer’s experience and minimize the inconveniences?