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How to deal with Complaints & Create a Patient for life
No one likes receiving complaints, it can be uncomfortable, and we can get involved in difficult conversations. However, if dealt with correctly, you have a chance to shine. Here is a personal story to back it up with several lessons that you can use in your own Practice.

A couple of weeks ago, I took Grace away for a short break to a pub called ‘The Inn at Whitewell’. We have eaten many times here, but never stayed and we decided to have a walking holiday. After a long day’s walking, we decided to have a couple of beers in the pub. Grace decided to go and get ready for dinner, I decided to stay and have another beer. After an hour, I walked into our room where Grace shared this story. In short, the handle on the bathroom door broke, which meant she struggled to get out of the bathroom. Her mobile phone was in the bedroom, which meant she could not ring me. After a lot of messing around, using a variety of items in her make up bag, Grace finally managed to get out of the bathroom.

Before we went down to dinner, Grace reported the broken handle to the receptionist. What happened in the next hour blew me away. The Manager of the hotel came to our table in the restaurant, to discuss the matter, he listened attentively as Grace explained what had happened and after listening, he apologised. He then suggested that he called their handy man who was willing to travel that evening to fix the problem. We told him that it could wait till tomorrow when we would be out walking, which he arranged whilst he was still with us. He then did something which blew me away, he told us that we could have a bottle of champagne on the house. Grace and I are now raving fans, that is why hence I am happy to share this with you.

Since Covid, my clients are telling me that patients’ expectations are higher and that they are receiving more complaints than ever before.

So, what can we take away from the actions of the Manager of the ‘The Inn at Whitwell’?

  1. If you receive a complaint act quickly. Don’t delay and don’t procrastinate.
  2. Listen attentively to the clients’ concerns, put yourself in their shoes. As Dale Carnegie states in his classic book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ ‘See things from the other person’s point of view.’ How would you feel if it was you?
  3. After listening attentively, apologise. At the end of the day listening attentively and saying sorry, genuinely will mean so much to your patients.
  4. Put it right. The Manager was willing to get his handy man to fix the problem that evening, the next day was sufficient. I was delighted with either option.

However, what really blew me away was the bottle of champagne he did not need to do this. What can you do that will shock your patient, what will surprise them?

We had a great two nights at Inn at the Whitwell, the rooms are great and the setting and scenery is superb. If you do decide to go, the Cheese Onion Pie is fantastic.

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