Undercover Boss: What Your Patients Actually Think About Your Practice

“Well, the phone was answered by the second ring, voice on the line was pleasant, introducing your office name and personal name so I knew I had the right office, any hesitations I had about scheduling to come in were washed away within seconds as I felt like this is where I was meant to go…”

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This is the type of report I’m sure you would love to hear about your CHA’s at the front desk, but unfortunately, when it gets to be quite hectic in the office, we, as CHA’s sometimes are not able to hide our frustration or stress behind our voice.

In fact, at times it can be all too apparent. This is actually a skill that is acquired through a lot of practice, time and patience.

I’m sure you have heard about “mystery shoppers”; where a person is hired to go into a store as an anonymous shopper and then report back as to how the customer service was.  Well, this idea is not only great to get feedback for retail businesses, but your chiropractic office as well!

Don’t think of this as a means to “spy” on your team mates but rather to help them become aware of where their strengths and weaknesses lie, and how your office can serve your patients better. Remember, you cannot leave a place you do not know exists, awareness is always the first step towards change.

As an undercover Boss, you could ask a friend to find an anonymous patient you have not previously met and ask them to call in to come in to your office as a new patient. Get them to do this at least two different days and times, with documentation of when they called, so you can get a better report of your CHA’s phone etiquette and sales approach.

Take it to the next level and get them to actually show up for an introductory exam so they can do a mystery shop of your CHA in person, your office flow, and even feedback on your own customer service as the office role model. In return, offer to reimburse any introductory exam fees and take them both out for dinner for participating and helping you improve your services!

Imagine a “mystery patient” coming into your office to report on what your patients really think about your practice!  This mystery patient may come in for 1-2 visits in order to give you a report on:

First impression via phone- Phone etiquettes: 

    • Was phone answered immediately?
    • Was phone answered in professional manner, with introduction of office name and personal name, followed with a “how may I help you?”
    • Was patient made to feel like the CHA was in a rush?
    • Were all questions asked by patient answered well?

First impression in office– What do the patients think about your office the first time they walk in as a new patient:

    • Was the office clean or cluttered?
    • Did the office feel tight with too many chairs or open and spacious?
    • Was it a warm welcome?
    • Was the office waiting room and reception area pleasing to the eyes?

First impression of Team- How were they welcomed into the office:

    • How was the introduction to the CHA?
    • How was the introduction to the DC?
    • How did the patient see the relationship between the DC and CHA?
    • What first impressions could be upgraded?

Office Flow – How was the flow of care:

    • Were other patients waiting a long time in the waiting room?
    • Did the new patient have to wait a long time before they were taken care of?
    • Did other patients look happy to be there or upset by the wait?

Office ProceduresHow well were the procedures communicated:

    • As a new patient were the procedures and fees explained well  in advance?
    • Were there any surprises?
    • Was there too much info too fast?

These are just a few of the aspects you could touch upon.  Remember, if you receive positive feedback, it is a time to celebrate!  If you receive any feedback for improvement, it is the perfect opportunity to welcome some change into your office for not only the patient’s benefit, but for your team’s benefit as well!  Then again, time to celebrate!  This process gives you an interesting perspective you wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to see yourself.

Hopefully on a regular basis, our patients are asked to give us feedback of some sort, however, some patients may feel like they need to share what you want to hear.  With a mystery patient, they can be as honest as they want without feeling obligated to say only what they think they are suppose to say.  We shouldn’t be afraid to hear the truth in order to make changes for improvement.  Now I’m not talking about major changes (unless necessary), even the most subtle change can make a difference.  As Winston Churchill has said “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”

As CHA’s, we are the face of our chiropractic office.  We are usually the first to speak with the new patients and usually the first to welcome them and meet them in person, meaning our first impressions are lasting impressions that can make or break a New Patient.  It is our responsibility to wear the many hats of a successful CHA in order to be a part of a successful office!  And as a DC, what better way to play Undercover Boss than to receive feedback not only on your team’s performance, but your interactions with your patients as well!  Treat each patient (new or returning) as if they are a mystery patient and give them your best every time!

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