Mrs. Jones just pulled you aside and let you know in no uncertain terms that she was none too pleased with the way your finance coordinator handled her account the last time she had some major work done.
In fact, she goes on to tell you, she considered taking her business elsewhere. Now you’re standing there, tail firmly planted between your legs, and you’re not sure if you would rather rough up the employee who set Mrs. Jones off or simply kill the messenger. Choose to do neither.
The best way to look at the complaint is to consider it a compliment and handle it. The complainers are concerned enough to clue you into a problem that may have sent 10 or more other patients packing already.
Even though it’s not easy, intellectually, you know you are supposed to stay calm and not react negatively. Here are a few other tips to keep in mind when managing an unhappy patient:
- You or someone in the practice should listen fully to the grievance. Take the complaint seriously.
DO NOT blow it off with the attitude of “Oh, that’s just Mrs. Jones.”
- Handle the complaint in a professional and timely manner.
- Inform the patient as to how the issue is being handled and let them know about the outcome.
Do more than just manage complaints as they arise. Ask for feedback regularly from your patients. They feel valued and you will receive insights into any number of relatively minor adjustments your practice can make to further improve the experience for your patients. Anticipate potential problem areas.
Ask yourself if the practice is truly patient friendly. Are the staff welcoming and helpful? Are patients treated the way you would want to be? If not, take steps to address the problems.