Whether you agree with calling patients customers or not; the reality is that patients are customers. They routinely shop for value, for better and more relevant information, for treatment that not only meets their expectations, but exceeds it, and for genuine care of their whole person. They also want to be able to communicate with their providers via several options and use the technology they are used to using, in their health care world, as they are using it in their daily experiences with other business.
It has always been interesting to me what the specialty of plastic surgery has done with their practices to make it more "customer" appealing. Their offices are richly designed and decorated, their staff in stylish color coordinated outfits give patients personalized care and the physician takes time to provide the "customer" with options and ideas with which the patient can make an informed decision. What a concept!!
Now I can hear you now with your objections........my practices sees 25 patients a day the plastic surgeon 5.....so of course can spend more time with patients.....and his patients are paying cash up front so he never has to wait for payment.....and his wife is an interior decorator so of course the office looks plush.
Just consider raising the bar in your own practice........doesn't have to be 10 feet......could be 1. Enhance the customer experience, offer new ways of scheduling appointments, at the very least re-cover those worn out chairs. Engage patients in their wellness process. Make sure your front desk staff are friendly, helpful, and they smile. Just a few things to think about.