Bear with me. This introduction is not about a doctor-patient interaction. But, it will illustrate a core principle on “best practices” in asking patients for feedback or reviews. Actually, it will illustrate “worst practices.
I went to upgrade a phone with my carrier; a carrier that shall not be named – but it rhymes with lint. I had interacted with this customer service rep previously; an interaction that ending in my spending two hours on the phone with customer support addressing charges that never should have been billed. What a time-waster.
This time around, I again thought the service was poor.
I just wanted to leave. But no such luck. She said I’d be receiving a survey. She said “Can I count on you to say that I gave excellent service?” I should have just said no.
She was entirely oblivious to how she had treated me. My body language couldn’t have been more obvious if she had just been paying attention.
If these surveys are to mean anything, they don’t need to be prefaced with “Can I count on you to say that I gave excellent service?” How about something like “I hope I’ve met your expectations.”
Well, she didn’t like the answer I did give. Then she became confrontational. I asked that she “de-escalate” this back and forth. I think smoke was coming out of my ears.
Back to doctor-patient interactions. We advocate asking patients for feedback. Done properly, most of this information is constructive. Most patients like – even love – their doctors – and want their practices to succeed.
That said, the time to ask a patient to complete a survey is NOT when you see smoke coming out of their ears. The smoke is a subtle hint. Just fix their problem; exceed their expectations; ask again at a later date; and the response will be glowing. This is intuitive to most people. But, more and more frequently I see requests to post comments on the Internet – with the ask – “nothing but glowing comments, please.”
Knowing when and how to ask for feedback is as important as the feedback itself.
Bear with me. This introduction is not about a doctor-patient interaction. But, it will illustrate a core principle on “best practices” in asking patients for feedback or reviews. Actually, it will illustrate “worst practices.”