Your Brand, Your Promise

Posted Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Creating and Managing Expectations

Patient expectations are created through a wealth of experiences and or interactions. Whether correct or not, these shape perception, satisfaction, and ultimately loyalty. It is the responsibility of the practice to do all that it can to set, influence, and manage expectations. A patient whose expectations are consistently met or exceeded is one that will remain loyal.

The organization’s brand is everyone’s responsibility; maintain service continuity and schedule re-occurring meetings with the team to discuss concerns and future branding opportunities.

Mistakenly referred to as the aesthetics of an organization, a brand is “¹the intangible
sum of a product’s attributes.” For a medical practice, its brand is the promise made
to its patients on the type of service they can expect while under its care.

It is important to review and, if necessary, modify a practice’s communication approach
in order to exploit its ability to shape expectations.

Tips for Improving Communication:

• Build Knowledge
     --Invest in a company website: Include applicable policies, contact
       information, forms, staff bios, and frequently asked questions. Make this
       information readily accessible and set the standard for the type of service
       the patient can expect prior to their visit.
     --Office Signage: Use the walls of the various examination and waiting
       rooms as your canvas and post educational information, company mission
       statements and past letters of recommendation. Take advantage of the
       time spent waiting and set the proper expectations.

• Past Experiences
     --Discuss prior experiences: Poor past experiences of care can be
       detrimental in achieving future satisfaction. Discuss past experiences
       with the patient and if necessary, take advantage of this opportunity to
       re-educate, ease concerns, and set new expectations.
• Follow Up
     --After the visit: Reach out through postcards, surveys or by scheduling
       follow up appointments. Use these tools to stay top of mind and remind
       patients of what sets you apart.
• Conflicting Expectations
     --Prioritize: Patients may have multiple, and sometimes conflicting,
       expectations. ²Help the patient prioritize what’s more important to them. You
       may ask, “What’s more important to you, seeing the same doctor every time
       you visit or obtaining the first valuable appointment with any of the doctors?”. 

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2- Managing Patient Expectations: The Art of Finding and Keeping Loyal Patients: Susan Keane Baker. Copyright ©1998 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved.

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