Improve Relationships with Customer Service

ORLANDO, Fla. – Sometimes when things do not go as planned, we are better off taking a positive attitude about it and finding ways to get around the challenges, according to a customer service presentation here.

In her presentation to the 2010 American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association’s National Assembly, Diana Faulkner, RN of Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics, asked the attendees to identify who their customers really are – a demographic which also includes internal customers, the company’s employees. Then she stressed the importance of holding onto the only job security in O&P – the patients

“We are all customers,” she said. “If our internal customer is not functioning well … what do you think our approach is going to be like to our external customers?”

Teamwork and first impressions were a main theme in her presentation. She explained that customer service – essentially kindness, respect, understanding, appreciation – can make or break relationships.

“You can do the best clinical work you know how but if somebody is rude to [the patients], it’s not going to matter,” Faulkner said. “They’ll find somewhere else to go.”

To alleviate this concern she says to examine the internal struggles first. She recommends walking in the front door of your practice to see the environment from a patient’s perspective and find ways to make that first interaction inviting. Additionally, how patients are greeted and the attitude of front office staff is vitally important in securing return customers.

“Very often, before the patient sees you -— the clinician who will provide care — they will see other members of your team,” she said.

She encouraged attendees to readjust their attitudes toward work to see better results.

“We all have challenges … at work and at home but we work through them,” she said. “The only way we are really going to be successful is if we work together as a team. None of us can survive in life alone. You’re going to have a much better team environment and a much better customer environment if you’ve got a workplace that’s good to work.”…

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