Now that you’re in chiropractic college, you’ll benefit from the more than 4,200 hours of class and lab time that will lead you toward providing better health and wellness options for your patients. And yes, your talented professors will prepare you for the rewarding life of being a doctor of chiropractic. To be that “great” doctor, though, means learning all you can about patient-centered customer service.
Customer Service: Actions + Attitude
Studies continue to show the #1 reason a patient will leave a doctor’s practice is lack of customer service. So, in addition to technical skills and knowledge, you need to absorb all you can about what “customer service” means to the patient.
There’s more to doing it well than you may realize, and learning it while you’re in chiropractic college is the place to begin. You can elevate your customer service abilities by learning and mastering essential behaviors and mindsets every day: in diagnostic learning scenarios, the techniques lab, and while in the student clinic and your clinical internship.
5 Customer Service Actions and Behaviors to Master
1. Demonstrate Respect to Everyone
Everyone desires respect. You’ll likely be treating people of all ages and from all walks of life. Give everyone who walks through your door respect by listening and paying attention to their needs. Introduce yourself, confirm their name, and be sure you’re saying their name correctly.
The best predictor of success in today’s borderless world is not your resume or your expertise, but cultural intelligence (CQ), says social scientist David Livermore in The Cultural Intelligence Difference.
2. Practice Your Perception
Yes, when you’re in student clinic and techniques lab, you’re testing your diagnostic and adjusting skills. It’s also an excellent time to test your ability to communicate in various ways. Some new patients will be familiar with chiropractic techniques; others might need to know more about what you’re recommending and how treatments will benefit them before allowing treatment.
Ask other students to act out certain behaviors or attitudes you believe you might have difficulty handling. Ask your student “patients” if they felt welcomed and appreciated by your approach to chiropractic care.
3. Communicate to be Understood
Experts say effective communication breaks out this way: 55% for the visual clues your body is presenting, and 38% is the tone of voice you use. Only 7% of communication is the actual words you use. Eye contact and having an “open” posture will pay big dividends towards establishing a trusting doctor-patient relationship.
Also, practice the art of communicating without leaning on technical terminology. If you determine a patient doesn’t understand something, don’t keep talking. Learn to translate what you want a patient to hear into common words or offer alternative explanations.
4. Show Consideration and Appreciation
Do you know your patients’ preferences? You should. For example, one patient may like an email appointment reminder; another may be OK with a text.
Also, make sure you know how to show patients you appreciate them. It can be as simple as recognizing their birthday or upcoming anniversary, telling them about a local seminar on a health topic specific to them, and thanking them for a referral.
5. Be Open to Feedback
No patient likes to be talked down to, regardless of how much technical knowledge you have. Learn to encourage a two-way dialog with patients and provide ways for patients to offer feedback about your approach and mannerisms.
When you receive negative feedback (and it’ll happen at some point), it’s important to respond promptly, politely, and with an open mind to do better next time.
Customer Service Lessons Via Shadowing and Internship Opportunities
You will likely feel time pressure in chiropractic college because of the comprehensive and fast-paced curriculum, but customer service aspects are just as important. When you graduate with that Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree, meeting your patients’ expectations will set you up for greater success.
Lucky for you, alumni doctors from your chiropractic college should be eager to teach you the best customer service practices they’ve learned along the way. Seeking out shadowing opportunities and internship-like experiences will allow you to see first-hand how patients want to be treated.
To find out about these openings, make sure your chiropractic college is well connected to area chiropractic alumni. Seeing how experienced chiropractors care for their chiropractic patients in real-time reinforces what you learn in class, in labs, and in time spent at the in-school chiropractic health center.
For more strategies to help you achieve your dream, check out this blog.
The College of Chiropractic at Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC)
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a private, nonprofit, healthcare-focused university specializing in the chiropractic and health sciences. Our chiropractic history started in 1922, and today, there are more than 11,000 alumni who have earned the Doctor of Chiropractic degree from our College of Chiropractic.
To you, chiropractic college was the right choice, so perhaps you know someone who might find this career choice just as attractive. If so, refer them to this “Learn more” link, and have them download this free eBook: Your Complete Guide to the Chiropractic Profession.