Personalized Care Improves Outcomes, Grows Business
I had an experience getting some prescriptions filled: The technician was working with me to get a discount card to work that I could not use at another pharmacy. It turned out that the other pharmacy just did not know to make a phone call required to activate the card. It cost them a customer. The extra 10 minutes this person spent with me not only made me a customer but has prompted me to recommnd this particular pharmacy to others.
The same personal care is true with our sleep lab. I spend at least an hour a day on the phone with patients answering questions and getting them the help they need to be successful with their CPAP. Ultimately this time has also resulted in new patients because people talk.
Word-of-mouth recommendations are the best. They will not just attract people who are going for a sleep study already but they will attract people who did not know it is not normal to snore or gasp or feel tired all the time to talk to their doctor. Patients in turn may tell the doctor that they want to go to a specific lab. The doctor hears this from patients a couple of times and begins to wonder what is so special about the lab. This could lead to a new referral source.
Managers must teach night technicians to understand the important role they play in this whole process. It is not just about doing a good study, it is about taking the time to talk to patients and make them comfortable. That little bit of personal time can make all the difference in a patient's experience. The happier patients are the more they will share this information and the busier your lab will become, which gives you job security.
A technician going that extra step should always be rewarded, even if it is just words of praise. An occasional chocolate does not hurt either (M&Ms do not last long in our lab.) Giving techs get positive input results in consistent positive comments on our exit surveys. The word of mouth has resulted in two patients just this week that were referred by past patients. We have also had two new referral sources this month because patients requested they come to our facility.
As this field grows tighter and tighter, only the labs that give consistently exceptional service will grow. Taking time to use praise staff and give small rewards when they go the extra mile will pay for itself many times over.