happy, not happy patientThis question is a tantalizing, but kinda-easy, riddle. How can the largest retail operation in the US have no stores? The answer, of course, is that the Internet (and online shopping) has given us Amazon.com. And, by market value, it’s bigger than Walmart.

But Amazon and other online shopping centers have a high-priority need to remain connected with the customers they never see or meet, and to earn their loyalty, repeat business and referrals from a distance. Here’s a small but effective technique that transfers from their retail playbook to healthcare.

You can “borrow” this easy and quick technique today. Use it to gauge and grow a positive patient experience and to inspire positive patient reviews.

“Borrow” this easy technique from online retailers. Adapt it for a positive patient experience… Click To Tweet

The HAPPY or NOT HAPPY card…

Products purchased online often have a small note enclosed that asks the most fundamental consumer survey questions: Happy? (or) Not Happy? Plus, it provides instructions about what to do in either case. One side of the card reads:

HAPPY? We’re just happy that you’re happy. If you don’t know how to express your newfound joy, we’ve got a few suggestions…

  • Tell your friends and family.
  • Share your experience by writing a review on ___ (site and address).
  • Connect with us via our website [address], Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

NOT HAPPY? Our friendly customer service team will work hard to put a smile back on your face. Here’s how we can connect:

  • 1-800 Phone number with hours of operation.
  • Email address for support.
  • Link from website.

A healthcare provider’s office has the additional benefit of asking for “Happy / Not Happy” patient feedback in person and in the office (while the experience is fresh and motivation to act is high.)

  1. Designate one or more people to be responsible, and make this a regular routine in the office.
  2. Ask each patient, personally and directly: Happy? Not Happy?
  3. Provide everyone with an index size card, printed two-sided, with the instructions.
  4. If they are not happy, you have an immediate opportunity to address the problem and turn “Not Happy” into “Happy.” (Then refer to the HAPPY instructions.)

Why this works…

Patients who you have helped are generally pleased to be asked, and are receptive to making a positive online review. But the common stumbling blocks are that:

  • Unhappy patients often don’t say anything; you never hear their concerns or have an opportunity to rectify. They quietly disappear forever;
  • Happy patients do not know how or where (or don’t remember) to go online to provide a review. The majority of physician reviews are positive, by the way, but the printed card, with the URL link/address, reminds and instructs.

For related reading, click through to The Paradox of Disappearing Patients and What Doctors Can Learn From Unhappy Patients.

Kathy Gaughran

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Kathy Roy Gaughran
In her career, Kathy has helped over 4,000 clients all over North America achieve their growth goals. As an award-winning strategic marketing planner, Kathy has been involved in both the high level strategies required for long-term sustainability, plus the tactical execution used to accomplish day-to-day successes.
Kathy Roy Gaughran
Kathy Roy Gaughran


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