If You Want Satisfied Patients, Treat Them Like Dogs

Treat your patients like dogs?

Yes, if you want them to return! 

Tongue in cheek of course, but what am I referring to? The wonderful treatment that most of our furry friends receive when we visit our veterinarian. 

Skeptical? Watch a preview of the "It's a dog's world" video. It is a superb customer service awareness video. I am not a paid spokesperson for the video, just someone who chuckles every time I go to the doctor or the vet and experience the parallels. It demonstrates the contrast between the human's care and the care his lovable pet receives. It's a great illustration of customer service from a patient's point of view.

What are some of the hallmarks of my vet experience? I get friendly appointment reminders. I find the reception to be warm and welcoming. Fido gets the vet's full attention. Specialists are coordinated. There is always post visit follow-up.

What is the defining characteristic of a vet? As a board member at Gulf Coast Humane Society in Ft. Myers, FL, I've noticed that our vets seem to have a tangible sense of love and caring for animals. This is not to say that there aren't enumerable dedicated healthcare professionals, but vets just genuinely love animals and it shows. Animals are certainly more innocent and dependent, but it’s a point worth pondering.

The reality is that patients by and large do not judge the quality of their healthcare by clinical expertise alone. Rather, feelings about an encounter are based largely on the customer service provided. Patient experience and satisfaction cannot be understated for the long term survival of healthcare organizations, particularly FQHCs who didn't have to compete for patients in the past. Many of our previously uninsured patients now have insurance and other providers want to see them.

In the dog-eat-dog world of healthcare, how does your customer service stand up?


Lesa Peterson is a Sr. Consultant for FQHC Associates and Merces Consulting. Previously, as the Director of Operations for a community health center, she was responsible for the administrative operations of the organization, including a Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® program.

Read more about Lesa here.

To contact Lesa, email her at LPeterson@FQHC.org.

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