Dreadful as it is, the Covid-19 outbreak offers a good chance to let your patients know you care about them—if you do it right.
WE’RE IN UNPRECEDENTED TIMES. Even the best crisis and business-continuity plans are likely being tested right now. Some businesses have reopened to a degree, but many others have not. Now is not the time to panic, though, particularly when people are looking to businesses for confidence and guidance. This is, in fact, the optimal moment to focus on customer experience and to show patients you’re there for them.
People want to feel calm and confident, and watching the news unfold every day isn’t allowing that to happen. One can look to family and friends, but they’re just as concerned. As businesspeople, how we react right now will go a long way toward determining how loyal our patients remain when the Covid-19 crisis is finally over.
Here are five things you can do right now to be truly helpful and supportive to those who matter most:
1. Remain calm. Panic emerged in the early days of the crisis. Remember supermarket fights over toilet paper, or tales of people selling their entire stock portfolio? A recent piece in the Journal of Neuroscience noted that anxiety can negatively affect our decision making by rendering us less flexible. Think through your business decisions thoroughly, and discuss everything with your trusted advisers before you take any decisive action. Know that as a medical professional, you’ll be looked to for calm and confidence. Be sure all your patient communications reflect this.
2. Take care of your employees. Happy employees equal happy customers. Unfortunately, the inverse is true as well, so be sure your employees feel healthy and safe. Allow your team to take care of their families during these stressful times, and try to find work for them to do at home—digital-file organization, developing or updating automated-email campaigns, contacting patients or obtaining CE credits.
3. Don’t just check the box. All our inboxes have been inundated with urgent announcements about coronavirus measures. Most say the same thing. Charles Schwab took a different approach, acknowledging the fear and un-certainty a volatile market engenders, and sharing resources to help its clients navigate turbulent investing seas.
How are your patients feeling right now? What questions might they have? What virtual resources can you provide them until you can see them in person? Many companies simply joined the herd and sent recycled email blather so they could check one item off their crisis to-do list. Schwab gave its customers confidence when they needed it most, and so can you.
4. Check in with your patients. Take the time to reach out one-on-one if possible. That can go a lot way to-ward letting your patients know you care about them on a human level, not just an economic one. Your team members can help here as well.
5. Find out what else you can do. Whether with money, supplies, facilities or expertise, evaluate how your practice can help your local community’s response to Covid-19. Your patients and prospects will thank you when this is all over, and you will have engendered deep loyalty that will last for years.
Stay healthy. As my grandmother used to say: This too shall pass.
DAN GINGISS is the Interim Director of Branding & Communications at Benco Dental, and an independent speaker and customer-experience coach. To learn more, please visit dangingiss.com.