I think businesses like restaurants or retail stores have a huge advantage when trying to make a customer feel comfortable at their location or making customers’ experience exceptional. And the reason for their advantage is because customers actually want to be there.
We go to a restaurant because we’ve heard it was good, we’re hungry, it’s convenient, cheap, offers great service or hundreds of other reasons. Bottom line, we decided to go there, thus our expectations are different than if we were there because we had to go.
Same goes for retail stores. We visit a store because we are looking for something to buy. And for the most part, our expectations have already been set. For example, when we go to buy clothes at Target, we have different expectations as when we go buy something at Nordstrom’s. Customers know what to expect.
Medical field is different
In the medical field, we don’t have that same benefit. If you think about it, nobody, and I mean nobody really wants to be at the doctor’s office.
It is like working at the lost baggage desk at the airport. Every customer that approaches your desk has a problem. And a large percentage (if not all) are already annoyed and mad that their luggage was lost. Nobody is there to thank the representative. Nobody is there because they want to. So offering an exceptional experience is an even harder challenge because the customer’s state of mind is in a negative state.
In the medical field, the challenges are worst because people have more negative and preconceived notions such as apprehension, fear, concerns, angst, worry, uneasiness, anxiety, discomfort, and who knows what else. Even if they are coming in for a physical, which in theory is a good thing, they are still poked, touched, questioned and lectured about keeping a healthy lifestyle.
On top of that, here we come in asking people to fill out long forms, asking patients/parents questions about insurance, money they owe, things we can’t do for them and making them wait ungodly hours to be seen. Only to be barely engaged during the visit and then sending them off with little or no explanation and most often feeling exactly the way they felt before they walked in, if not 10x worse; which leads to confusion.
So what do we do?
We have to work harder on making people feel comfortable. We have to work harder at managing people’s expectations. We have to work harder in explaining, educating, and advising. We have to work harder to understand patients rather be doing a million other things than to be at the doctor’s office.
But that is why you became a doctor, wouldn’t you say? That is why you are a nurse, right? That is why you wanted to work as a receptionist at a doctor’s office, isn’t that so?
What are your thoughts? I’d love to read them.