What Do Your Clients Think of You?

by Rebecca on August 5, 2013

iStock_000016864858XSmallI had the pleasure of having annual exams with two doctors this past Friday and wow what a contrast in experiences! I don’t know about you, but it is always a little odd for me to be the one getting the exam instead of giving it.

First, I went to my ophthalmologist’s office.  The nurse who took me back to the exam room never introduced herself or gave me any run-down about what to expect.  Her part of the exam was uneventful, and then I waited to see the doctor.

I have been going to this ophthalmologist for a few years, but since I see him only once a year, I expected him to introduce himself- but he did not.  Actually, I am not 100% of his name so we will call him Dr. X.

Dr. X. did his exam and during the exam he asked me if my eyes had been bothering me.  I told him a little but did not think much of it.  The next thing I knew, he told me I had inflammation in both eyes, I would need to pick up some drops at the pharmacy, and he would need to see me on Monday for a recheck appointment.

Interestingly, Dr. X did not explain what was going on (keratitis) nor what he thought was the cause.   He also did not explain anything about the medication.  I had no idea what I was going to be putting into my eyes until I googled it after I left his office.

Later that day, I had my yearly appointment with my OB-GYN- Dr. H.  The nurse, who brought me back, introduced herself, explained what they would be doing and had time for small talk too.

I was at ease by the time I made it back to see Dr. H.  Dr. H took me to his office first to see how I had been doing and to see if there was anything I needed from him.  Then he asked me how my dog’s surgery went last year. Yes, this doctor, who I had not seen in over a year, asked me how my dog’s surgery went- unbelievable!

During my exam, Dr. H seemed to be listening to my heart for a longer time than usual and I was starting to get a little concerned.  Once he finished, he asked me if I ran.  Because my heart rate was so slow, he had to listen for a long time to make sure all was within normal limits.  Thankfully, the rest of the exam proceeded uneventfully.

Today my eyes feel a lot better, and I certainly don’t doubt my ophthalmologist ‘s competence as a doctor- he did a great job with that, but he and his nurse really dropped the ball when it came to the bedside manner.  Because of my experience in his office, I would not go out of my way to recommend him to someone else.

There was absolutely nothing positively memorable about my interactions with anyone in their office.

I did have a positively memorable experience at my OB-GYN’s office.  He, of course, is a competent doctor but his bedside manner showed me that he knows who I am, and he cares about me as his patient.  I am sure he makes all his patients feel this way.  I would recommend Dr. H to anyone who needs a great doctor, and I actually do all the time!

 Are you and your staff creating positively memorable experiences or is everyone just doing their job?

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily August 5, 2013 at 11:44 am

One of my professors in vet school told us once we had DVM behind our names, our clients will simply assume we’re competent (and likely don’t have the medical knowledge to determine if we really are or not!), so the biggest way they’ll judge us on whether or not we’re a “good” doctor is our bedside manner. What he didn’t mention and is equally important as you demonstrated, is that EVERY TEAM MEMBER needs to have a great bedside manner, not just the doctor. I for one also have firsthand experience with the importance of this. I had an incredible eye doctor growing up, she gave very thorough exams and had excellent bedside manner so I had a lot of confidence in her and even came back to her for my annual visits when I couldn’t find someone of her caliber in the town I moved to 3 hours away! Unfortunately, when she branched out on her own, she inherited the most sour-puss receptionist I’ve ever met. And since Dr. R. was building up her new practice this lady was also her ONLY receptionist so you had no other option but to deal with her. The woman was always angry and acted put-upon, like she was doing you some huge favor by making an appointment for you or accepting your payment. If Dr. R. had not been such a phenomenal person I would have definitely switched doctors! And even though her practice grew and flourished, I have no doubt it grew slower because of that receptionist as she undoubtedly scared away several new patients. In fact, I always made sure when I referred someone to Dr. R. I warned them about her. I told them it would be worth it to get past that horrible woman in order to see Dr. R. I was never so relieved as when I went in for an appointment and saw the mean receptionist had been replaced with an incredibly sweet one. It made the whole experience ever better and I have no doubt it contributed to Dr. R.’s practice growing so much she had to hire an additional eye doctor! Remember, if your gate keeper is a dragon, people won’t even make it in to discover how wonderful you are!


Rebecca August 5, 2013 at 1:49 pm

That is so true ! Great story- thanks for sharing it!


Marie August 5, 2013 at 7:36 pm

I know since I have become a practice owner, I am always observing how I am treated at my other doctors office. I have a great dentist but am intimidated by his receptionist. My internal medicine doctor had a fill in nurse and she was very rude and condescending until I asked her her name. (she was not wearing her identification badge). I try to convey to my team that EACH and everyone has an important role to play in client and patient care. I tell everyone that when you answer the phone, the person on the other end needs to know you have a smile on your face. I had one of my client send me a great email, at first it was hard to read, as she pointed out problems she had encountered at the front and in an exam room. It was great in the fact she offered very detailed suggestions to how to improve some of our problems.I would love to have “a secret shopper” as they were called when I worked retail where the store would hire someone to come in and shop and then evaluate their experience. Hey, I may need to do just that!!


Rebecca August 5, 2013 at 8:29 pm

I agree I am def. more aware of how I am treated since becoming a practice owner. Man, that is so awesome you had a client who was comfortable enough to send an email and give you feedback- that is so very helpful. I know there are secret shoppers out there- maybe you guys in your community group could do that for each other??? Thanks for commenting!!


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