Unfortunately, something I know that's a failure in a lot of physician's practices is the concept of good customer service. I know this because I've not only worked with a lot of physicians, but I've seen how the process works when I've gone with my mother and grandmother to their appointments. For some reason I only ever encountered bad customer service once personally, probably because I'll leave a doctor in a heartbeat.

As with every other industry, customer service can make or break a physician's practice. Whether it's the physician or the staff supporting the physician, great care needs to be taken when it comes to how one treats their patients. The truth is that for most specialties there's someone else just waiting to take patients away from them, and it often comes down to one of two things, with the other being how good someone thinks their physician might be.

Why do some physicians offices fall down on the job when it comes to customer service? An article written by Brandon Belancourt on KevinMD believes physicians and their offices get overwhelmed because this is the day and age of trying to get as many patients in the door as possible to maximize that almighty dollar. The days of spending 15 to 30 minutes with a patient and talking with them about their issues are gone for the most part. One expects a physician to try to see 10 patients an hour sometimes, which leads to snap judgments and bad health care. It also leaves patients feeling like no one is taking them seriously.

I know what this is like as well. Though I like my physician, most of the few times I've seen him over the years have lasted less than 5 minutes. Quick diagnosis, correct or not, means he can get to the next patient quicker and thus make more money every day. At least my doctor will stop to answer questions if I have any.

This feeling gets passed along to the customer service staff. Bad behavior goes downstream, and if the staff sees that doctors don't treat patients well, they're going to do the same. Bad customer service leads to bad billing and collections, and eventually it leads to patients not only leaving, but telling their friends about the horrible treatment. How long before that impacts revenue and cash?

Though good customer service takes diligence, it's also one of the easiest things to fix, and one of the most beneficial; this applies to all businesses. People tend to be more forgiving if they are made to feel comfortable in other ways. It might not be an immediate revenue generator, but it definitely should be near the top of any concerns.

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