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How To Handle Patient Complaints

We don’t live in a perfect world (I know, shocking!) So there are always going to be a few patient complaints in your lifetime. It’s unavoidable, but it’s your response to them that determines the outcome and the future. We’ve put together some of the best tips to help you handle those patient complaints so they don’t turn into something disastrous. 

  • Be Empathetic – If a patient is complaining about a filler or injection treatment they had, they are scared and vulnerable. They may have not been in a situation like this before and they don’t know what to do. The patient may feel powerless so by being empathetic you can get a better understanding of what the patient is going through.
  • Listen – this is the time to let your patients vent so you can get a better understanding on how the patient is feeling and their thoughts. Ask them questions and get them talking. This process is always better if it is in person, and not over the phone. 
  • Summarize – After listening to everything the patient has to say, it’s important to summarize what you heard in your own words. That way you can ensure you are understanding what the patient says and develop a course of action based on that. It not only allows the patient to feel like they are being heard, but also for you to acknowledge that you heard them and know what they are talking about.
  • Time – Don’t jump into solving the issue right away. Take some time to process all the data you received and what you are going to do with that data. Let them know when they can expect to hear from you and what they should be expecting.
  • Develop an Action Plan – It’s important to establish what the patient wants as an outcome. Do they just want a refund or do they want the problem solved? How can you correct the problem if it is correctable? You must find a tailored solution that will make both you and the patient satisfied. 

Complaints are a given with some people but your response will likely determine the outcome of the situation. The last thing you want is someone blasting you in reviews or talking badly about you and ruining your reputation. You want people to know you care about your clients and that you’ll do anything to make it right and make them happy. Another big thing that you can do to manage complaints is to help minimize them in the first place by setting expectations upfront. While this might not prevent every complaint, managing expectations does truly help keep patients satisfied when they know what to expect. It’s often when they are expecting something different that they feel slighted or upset.