Insights From Our Editors

How to Train Employees to Respond to Patient Questions & Requests

By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD,
and Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD

Nov. 10, 2021

Patients come to your employees with many questions and requests. Have you trained your staff to answer these questions and requests in ways that are fun, reliable, knowledgeable and engaging, with the result of growing patient loyalty? Here is how to do that, so patients feel they have been heard, and that their needs are being addressed.

Every year the Lego Group receives over four million calls. As many as one third of these are about lost pieces. With so many calls each year, the Lego Group built one of the best examples of a customer service organization, revolving around these four words: fun, reliable, knowledgeable and engaging.i

Most of the time the calls are not about situations that are the company’s fault. It’s about someone who got out an old Lego set and realized that the main character is missing. It’s not unusual that the missing piece is no longer made. The first step Lego starts with is to look internally. Often Lego manages to find the discontinued, missing piece in an employee’s office and sends it off to the customer at no charge. Instead of hearing the piece has been discontinued and no longer available, the customer receives the missing piece in the mail at no charge.

Can you imagine what happens to loyalty at the moment the customer realizes what Lego has done?

In our world, having satisfied patients is not enough. We must create loyal patients. The Lego Group gives us an excellent example of how to create loyal patients. Far too often, we train staff to strictly follow office policy. From the patient’s side of the equation, as soon as they hear the words “office policy” they translate that phrase into “no” and patient loyalty plummets.

Can you imagine how you would feel if you were the customer with the missing Lego piece and were told, “Sorry, that piece has been discontinued”?

Here’s an example of a frequent exchange in practices. It’s been three years since the patient has been into the office for an examination. They call today with this request:

Let’s take this week to revisit how we are teaching staff to respond to patient questions and requests. Let’s make sure to include training on how to utilize the Lego Group’s four words – fun, reliable, knowledgeable and engaging – to make sure we are growing loyalty with every patient encounter.

References
i. Lego Customers Lose Millions of Pieces a Year. The Company’s 4-Word Response Is the Best I’ve Ever Seen | Inc.com

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