Part 6 of 7: 4 Ways to Lose Wait
7 Ways to Improve Patient Satisfaction
Countless hours of research have gone into the study of waiting, and it isn't surprising that waiting can produce unhappy customers. Based on the 8 factors that make the wait seem longer from World of Psychology on PsychCentral, here are some tips for making it less painful to wait.
Unavoidable waitsSometimes waiting is unavoidable. So how do you manage patient expectations without slowing down the process? Here are four tips for dealing with unavoidable waits:
CommunicateThe aid was supposed to come at 10 a.m. but now it's almost 10:40 a.m. and the patient is feeling like they've been forgotten. Simply letting the person know that you're running late can greatly reduce waiting anxiety. The most common complaint respondents give is that the agency doesn’t communicate with them what time their aide, therapist or nurse will stop by. Find out if the person has a time conflict that is creating stress for them. Reschedule if needed.
Be present and attentiveThe third most common complaint regarding waiting is that when the employee is rushing to get to their next appointment, the patient feels less important or cheated. To avoid this, explain to the patient that you need to take a minute to call the office and let them know you are 30 minutes behind. That way you won’t be rushing in their appointment and the next person will know what to expect. Another thing you can do is let the person know that once you arrive, you will provide them with the best quality of care. This sets the expectation that although you are late, they are important to you.
No excusesIt's no surprise that things don't always work out the way you plan. However, using excuses to justify long wait times can further exacerbate the problem.
Say "Thank you" not "I'm sorry"
When you finally rush in the door, instead of apologizing for running late, thank the patient for their patience. By doing this, it will help you and the patient to transition from the frustration of waiting to the happiness of being assisted. You may want to keep inexpensive but thoughtful items on hand, such as lollipops, to offer to patients as a thank you gift for their patience.
For more ways to improve patient satisfaction, visit part 7: Treat Everyone with Importance.