At least half of your patients may not be thrilled with you. According to Jobson Optical Research’s Waiting Game report, some 47.3 percent of consumers are “very satisfied” with their current eye doctor. Some 28.1 percent have no opinion, while 21.1 percent say they are “somewhat satisfied.” The good news is just 1.6 percent say they are “very unsatisfied” and just 1.3 percent say they are “somewhat unsatisfied.”
There is a significant difference between satisfaction and loyalty. Satisfied patients are OK with the care received in the practice. On the other hand, loyal patients return and send others. That is an important difference. We want to create loyal patients. This is a topic we need to be able to understand and implement. Here’s how to make it happen.
Frederick Reichheld is perhaps the best expert on this subject. He’s written the following books on this subject: The Loyalty Effect, Loyalty Rules!, The Ultimate Question: Driving Profits and True Growth, and The Ultimate Question 2.0: How Net Promoter Companies Thrive in a Customer-Driven World. In this last book he focuses on the Net Promoter System. It starts with the Net Promoter Score (NPS).
The Net Promoter Score permits a practice to see itself through the eyes of the patients. All patients in a practice can be divided into three categories:
1. Promoters: Loyal patients who return and bring others with them.
2. Passives: Satisfied patients who can be tempted to leave the practice.
3. Detractors: Unhappy patients who will most probably leave.
How can you determine what percentage of patients are in each group? Simply survey your patients asking the following question:
How likely are you to recommend us to a friend?
Extremely 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Extremely
Promoters will give you a 9 or 10 score. Detractors will give a 0-6 score. Passives will give you a 7 or 8 score. Your Net Promoter Score is found by taking subtracting your percentage of Detractors from your percentage of Promoters.
% Promoters – % Detractors = Net Promoter Score
What’s a good score? Amazon, Charles Schwab, Costco, Dell, Harley-Davidson, and Zappos have Net Promoter Scores of 50 percent to 80 percent while the average company has an NPS of 5 percent to 10 percent. You don’t want to be average. If your NPS is under 50 percent, then make an NPS of 50 percent your first goal. Obviously, we want to move that number even higher and get as close to 100 percent as possible.
So what do we do? This is not yet quite enough information to make a change in the practice. You need to follow up with one more question on your survey. The question is: Why? The answer to this question gives insight into what each group actually thinks about the practice.
Now that we have more information, we can begin to put together a Net Promoter System for the practice. The Net Promoter System drives every part of the practice to pay consistent attention to the quality of patient relationships. This is essential to making loyal patients.
Your action plan this week is to implement the three steps of the Net Promoter System:
1. Sort patients (and staff) into promoters, passives and detractors.
2. Create a closed-loop feedback system by …
a. Sharing the patient feedback with the staff member or doctor most responsible for creating the patient experience.
b. Finding the cause of the patient’s problem.
c. Fixing the problem.
d. Fixing the underlying system so that every patient has a better experience.
3. Make this approach a top priority for everyone in the practice.
Do this and you will change satisfied patients into loyal patients.