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Understanding how effective your practice is at providing an optimal patient experience can seem like a nebulous task. After all, it is difficult to know how well your practice is tracking without any supporting metrics to objectively measure performance.

Here at HealthEngine, we strive to help practices keep their finger on the pulse of their patient experience.

With this in mind, we’d like to introduce you to Feedback, our patient survey and feedback management system that will provide practices with meaningful, real-time insights via patient feedback.

After their appointment, your patients can receive a short 3 question survey via SMS, email, and soon it will also be integrated into the HealthEngine app.

Feedback surveys can be sent to all patients attending your practice, regardless of whether or not they used HealthEngine to book – giving you regular feedback from your whole patient base.

“Feedback is an opportunity to be a fly on the wall when your patients are out in the community. It’s an opportunity to gain visibility on word of mouth that has never previously been available,” says Dr Marcus Tan, founder and CEO of HealthEngine.

Importance of Word of Mouth

Fundamental to Patient Pulse is the Word of Mouth Score. This is simply your patient’s opinion on whether your practice is providing an experience worth recommending –  an experience that will keep bringing in new patients, and make your existing patients want to stay.

Word of mouth has a powerful effect on your bottom line. Traditional marketing methods cannot compete with the power of a personal recommendation from a trusted family member or friend. This free source of organic business growth can help your business to flourish.

But unless you actively measure post appointment sentiment, then you have no clarity on the likelihood of your patient base to recommend your practice.

That’s where the Word of Mouth Score comes in.

By tapping into your audience of promoters, you can gain free reviews, organic brand mentions, patient referrals and more.

“From a practitioner’s standpoint, the ability to track and measure my Word of Mouth Score over time is extremely exciting,” continues Dr Marcus Tan, “because we all know that we can’t improve what we don’t measure.”

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Word of Mouth Score and NPS

The Word of Mouth Score is also known as a Net Promoter Score (NPS), a globally recognised metric for measuring customer experience, loyalty, and predicting growth. It has been widely adopted by more than two thirds of Fortune 1000 companies.

Patients are asked the simple 0-10 scale question, “Based on your appointment today, how likely are you to recommend us to a friend, family member or colleague?”. Responses then fall into one of three categories:

  • Promoters (give a score of 9-10): These people will keep using your service, but more importantly, they’re likely to refer others
  • Passives (give a score of 7-8): These customers are satisfied but may move to another provider
  • Detractors (give a score of 0-6): These customers are unhappy and often spread negative word-of-mouth.

To work out your practice’s Word of Mouth Score you look at what percentage of patients are Promoters (9-10) and subtract the percentage who are Detractors (0-6).

For example, if 65% of your patients rate you a 9 or a 10, but 20% rate you a 0 to 6,  then your Word of Mouth Score is 65-20 = 45.

Research has shown that Word of Mouth surveys have a higher rate of completion due to their simplicity and shorter length. The 0-10 scale is easy for customers to understand, similar to the 0-10 scale used by medical practitioners when asking a patient to rate the extent of their pain. This increased completion rate means you will receive a clearer picture of your customer loyalty.

Patients are then asked a follow up question to explain the rating they gave, as well as a direct yes/no on whether they would recommend this practice. This provides key actionable insights by generating unprompted dialogue around what customers liked or didn’t like, and perhaps what changes you can make to keep improving.

Benefits of Word of Mouth Score to your practice

Measure, evaluate and build patient loyalty

Word of Mouth (WoM) Score is the most effective metric to measure customer loyalty. Customer satisfaction isn’t enough; it is loyalty levels that truly drive business growth.

By benchmarking this score and then comparing it over time, you and your staff can be accountable for having a positive or negative impact on your patient experiences. The results are data driven and easy to track.

Create more advocates

The Word of Mouth Score gives a reliable indication of how many of your patients are advocates of your practice.

A WoM Score of 50 or above is considered excellent, as it means a majority of your customers are happy with your product or service. (As a benchmarking guide, Apple, one of the most successful customer service companies in the world, has a score of 72).

Using WoM Scores regularly means you can see if you’re creating more advocates or losing them. Advocates spread positive word of mouth and are less likely to leave your practice. Plus you can leverage their positive feedback to create new online reviews and build a circle of new advocates.

Get more feedback by closing the loop

Actionable customer feedback enables businesses to improve their service. Listening to WoM Score feedback will allow you to make the changes required to increase promoters, growing both your business and patient retention levels.

WoM Score ‘closes the loop’ by encouraging customers to leave additional feedback based on their score. This feedback can then be shared back through your staff so you can proactively address problems and focus on creating a first-class patient experience. And with the final yes/no question, practices are also able to understand exactly what proportion of their attending patients would recommend them.

Patients are more likely to be honest

You may believe your patients will already let you know directly if they are not happy with the service they receive. The reality is, not everyone feels comfortable providing feedback in person. Often as they are leaving the practice, patients are preoccupied with paying their account, wrangling children or are simply conscious of not holding up other people waiting behind them.

Receiving a Patient Pulse survey direct to their phone allows patients to respond in their own time, and to give honest feedback – including positive recognition of helpful staff!

If you’re looking to improve retention within your practice while offering your patients a better booking experience, talk to our team today.

Contact us to learn more.

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