How businesses respond during this pandemic can influence how they are remembered down the road. Delivering great customer experiences has become infinitely more complex and important during this time, as circumstances change rapidly and emotions run high. The best thing you can do is take a human-centric approach and focus on how you can help your patients and others.
During the pandemic considerations
This is new territory for everyone, and nobody has all the answers. Listen to your patients and what they feel comfortable with to help you continue to provide exceptional care. Here are some ways you can be proactive to let patients know you have their best interests in mind.
- Share information. Clearly communicate service offerings, hours of operation, contact info and onsite protocol to your patients. Post signage in your window(s) or at entrances, update online listings and voicemail. Consider email communication if you have contact info and consent.
- Reach out. Block time each day to call and check in on your most vulnerable patients. This old-school approach to patient care goes a long way.
- Practice empathy. Be mindful of patient anxiety and assure them they are in good hands. Let them know how to reach out if they have questions or concerns.
When we open back up for business, the world we will return to is still unknown and may be permanently impacted by the realities brought to light during the pandemic. We expect that there will be an uptick in awareness around personal health that will include eye health.
As social distancing restrictions are lifted, patients may be apprehensive about being in public spaces. You will need to pay extra attention to making patients feel comfortable in your practice. When your practice reopens to in-person examinations, continue to follow vigilant cleaning rituals and social distancing recommendations as set out by provincial and federal authorities.
Dealing with upset customers
Especially during emotionally turbulent times, when staff are under more pressure than ever, it can be difficult to remain calm while dealing with an unforeseen issue. If you haven’t already done so, consider basic training and escalation protocol for dealing with angry, upset or scared patients.
- Listen first. Sometimes patients just need to feel heard and understood.
- Channel empathy. Try to understand their perspective and reasons behind the feelings.
- Avoid arguing. Let them voice their concerns and remind them you’re there to help.
- Set boundaries. If things escalate to a point where you feel unsafe, politely end the conversation.
Thank you to our partners
The Council for Healthy Eyes Canada (CHEC) very much appreciates ongoing leadership from our industry partners in helping to found the highly successful ThinkAboutYourEyes.ca (TAYE) integrated marketing, communications and data collection campaign. We also would like to thank Canadian eye care professionals such as Optometrists at this very challenging time.
The information provided here is for general informational purposes only. The contents of this document are provided in good faith; however, we make no representation of warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability or completeness of any information in this document. Under no circumstances shall CHEC be held legally liable