Whether you work in the health care sector, or in regulation, being an expert is tricky. You are in a position where you need to guide your clients to do what is required, and without effective management, they can be left feeling helpless, angry or actually in a lot of trouble.
I found myself in this situation recently when I went to the dentist – I’d been recommended to book in for a clean and, being somewhat of an expert when it comes to my dental health (insert sarcasm emoji), I told him it wasn’t necessary. However, when I turned up for my next check-up I was livid to find out that he had ‘tentatively’ booked me in anyway. It got me thinking, why was I so annoyed? It wasn’t the money, and it wasn’t that I knew better (nope, no secret Doctorate) – it was because I didn’t feel like I was given the choice.
But how do you give choice to someone when you know best? It’s all about engagement. For my experience, it was what my dentist did next that showed he understood me. He sat down, he listened, and he talked through his point of view, previous experience and my individual situation. I left feeling like my opinion mattered, I was understood, and importantly, that I had the option to choose.
Choice shouldn’t be limited to the relationship between patient and doctor either. Health care providers can give choice to patients in other ways too – allowing them to feel control of their experience. Take Bupa for example, a health insurance company that provides the option to tailor your extras. Or clinics such as the University of Melbourne, that have created online appointment booking systems to help patients choose how they interact with their provider.
Providing choice contributes to a feeling of control over the process, and ultimately leads to a better customer experience. Importantly, it allows patients and clients to feel like they are part of their journey, rather than a spectator.
Written by Stacey.