Even If Patients Who Have A Negative Experience With Us Tell Their Friends And Family,
It Won’t Have Much Of An Impact On Our Growth (Lesson 3)

Have you ever had a friend tell you about a terrible experience they’ve been through with an organisation, whether it’s a utilities company, a car hire firm, or a hospital?

Let’s say that this friend is the local shop owner, and they tell the story of their bad experience over and over again to hundreds of their customers. Now imagine they are talking about your organisation, and your services.

Does it shake you to know that you might have lost hundreds of potential patients? All because one person had a bad experience!

Ripples Of Negativity

These things happen all the time. It might be that losing hundreds of patients wouldn’t be a big deal for you in the grand scheme of your growth plans. However, would you be able to brush it off so easily if it was a thousand patients? Or ten thousand? Or more?

What if the person who had the bad experience wasn’t a shop owner with an audience of hundreds, but an active social media user with a potential audience of millions?

We are all so connected to one another these days. This means that if someone has a bad experience in your organisation, there is a very real chance their story will end up on Facebook, Twitter, or even in the mainstream media.

The ripples that can spread from even just one negative patient experience may be difficult to contain. When this happens, the impact on your organisation can be devastating.

There Is Always A Choice

The reality is that as many as 63% of total surgeries are elective. These patients are choosing to have procedures, or are choosing the extent and type of their surgery. As part of any choice, there will be an impact or influence from outside. These may include references, media, and the thoughts and feelings of close trusted sources such as family and friends.

Patients have a choice, and if they are upset with you, they will not choose you to provide their services. Can you really afford to lose up to 63% of surgical income?

Do You Know What A Bad Experience Looks Like?

One problem that healthcare organisations often face is that they don’t have a clear understanding of what a negative patient experience looks like. You don’t need to leave a surgical instrument inside a patient after an operation or have a member of staff speak rudely to someone they should be helping in order to create a bad experience.

A bad patient experience can occur purely as the result of a failure to recognise what a particular individual wanted and needed from you.

For example, imagine that there is a road traffic accident. A patient is brought in with a severely damaged leg. They may never walk again. The doctors are confident they can repair the damage to the leg by using a major muscle from the patient’s arm. The arm will be weakened, but the patient will still be able to use it.

Doing the surgery to save the leg is a no-brainer. Isn’t it?

Now imagine that this patient is a professional musician. If their arm is weakened, they will be unable to play their instrument. By carrying out the procedure, your hospital will cause them to lose their livelihood. Although most people might want the surgery, this particular person may prefer to lose the use of their leg in order to retain the use of their arm.

If you don’t see the individual, then you cannot act in their best interests. And if you don’t act in their best interests, then you create the possibility that they will have a bad experience.