Reputations can be brutal

Reputations can be brutal, and at times they can be impossible to live up to. I know none of us like to think back that far, but remember the days of high school when someone’s reputation spread like wildfire through the halls?

It didn’t matter if you knew that person or not, you felt like you did because of what you heard. Even to this day (however many years later…) you may still hear an old classmate’s name and think of that same reputation.

They aren’t always fair. They may not always be accurate. Sometimes it can be really hard to escape one.

However, when you are a physician and own a practice, reputations matter. You can’t outrun them and you shouldn’t hide from them. Taking control of your reputation can be one of the fastest ways to grow your practice!

If you don’t really know your reputation, it may be time to find out.

Experiences build reputations

Reputations are the collection of opinions, and opinions are shaped by experiences. It all starts with an experience. 

Someone experiences a place, a person, an event, a business, etc. Those experiences culminate into reputations.

If you’re looking for a way to shape your reputation, either as an eye care physician or as a practice owner, start with focusing on the experiences of your patients, your staff and the public around you.

Control the experiences to can control your reputation.

From bad experiences comes bad reputations

What do Comcast, United Airlines, and Verizon have in common? Each of them provides a product or service that is inherently valuable to the public.

However, they are all companies that continually struggle with their corporate reputations. Each of them is consistently graded poorly on customer satisfaction studies. Each of them spends hundreds of millions on advertising to try and combat negative perceptions.

So where do they go wrong? The answer lies in their customer experiences. By and large, they drop the ball somewhere along the line.

Installation techs not showing up on time, unfriendly ticket agents at the terminal gate or unhelpful customer service agents. These companies all offer something that people need/want, but somewhere along the road, they lost their way.

Somewhere along the way, they shifted from being customer-focused to being corporately-focused, and that shift has cost them their reputations.

Patient-focused vs practice-focused

The question for you in your practice is whether you are truly patient-focused or if you have become more practice-focused? Thinking through every step in your patient experience, where does the focus really lie?

  • Work hard to avoid your reputation of being the practice that _____:
  • Isn’t friendly when they answer the phone
  • Has high staff turnover
  • Messes up your glasses
  • Takes two months to get an appointment
  • Overcharges you for eyewear
  • Has a terrible website

Take notes from those who “get it”

Think of companies such as Chick-fil-A, Publix, and Amazon. In contrast to the aforementioned businesses, these are all companies with incredible public reputations.

These are companies that have written the book on how to provide great customer experiences too. You bet your socks they all make tons of mistakes.

Chick-fil-A doesn’t always make the perfect chicken sandwich. Publix doesn’t always sell perfect head of lettuce. Amazon doesn’t always ship the perfect last minute anniversary present. 

But what sets these companies apart and earns them consistently high satisfaction ratings is the fact that they remain customer-focused. They believe so strongly in the concept of positive customer experiences that they have engrained it into the very fabric of who they are corporately. 

They too all spend millions of advertising dollars each year. However, one of their greatest advertisements has become the droves of people singing the praises of great reputations.

In a classic example of being ‘proactive vs. reactive’, some companies understand that the bigger long-term return on investment comes from the proactive use of great customer experiences.

Realize the power of fully investing into patient experiences. Be the practice that people are happy to come to and the practice they’re eager to share with others!

  • Make sure your reputation if of being the practice that _____:
  • Has great customer service
  • Has an incredible frame selection
  • Has doctors that really care about you
  • Offers specialty services like VT or low vision
  • Is fun to follow on Facebook and Instagram
  • Goes above and beyond for us!

Define your reputation and actively manage it

A practice reputation doesn’t appear from a mission statement you hang on your wall and it isn’t something you can buy. A practice reputation is earned.

It can take a long time to build a good reputation and only a handful of dissatisfied patients to ruin it. Remember that reputations are built on what you do and not just what you think or say.

Reputations are fluid and can change. If you want a great reputation then run a great business, hire great people and provide great patient care.

Thankfully reputations all start with experiences, and ultimately you can control that!