Total Dermatology, in Irvine, California, is a full-service dermatological clinic that treats about two hundred patients a week, roughly half of them new ones. The person in charge of drawing these new patients and turning them into regulars is a marketing consultant named Jennifer Park, who in 2004 went into the clinic for a treatment and came out with a contract.
16100 Sand Canyon Avenue, Suite 190
Irvine, CA 92618
Early in establishing the marketing program for Total Dermatology, Park decided that it was important to survey patients, especially first-time patients, to find what they thought about the clinic and its service.
"I’ve always believed in surveys," she says. "I believe people give the most honest opinions when queried on an anonymous basis. People typically won’t express negative opinions when directly asked in person, but they will in another venue if they feel they won’t be placed in a defensive or confrontational situation. Online surveys are the perfect venue and one I’d recommend to every service business... not just doctors."
Park found Key Survey while Googling for an online survey tool. Key Survey wasn’t the only company she looked at, but after some comparison shopping she’d made her decision.
"I explored several services out there and was astonished at the prohibitive costs which, frankly, most smaller companies simply can’t justify. I was thrilled to find Key Survey because their pricing was really reasonable and the surveys are highly professional. What you get for your money, I think, is outstanding. The price of the other comparable-level survey systems were four or five times what they were at Key Survey, for basically the same things."
Patient email addresses are collected by the receptionists of the clinic, and given to Park on a regular basis. As soon as she receives these email addresses, the new customers are sent a survey embedded in the email itself. "I’m fortunate to have a great business name, Dermatologist News, so patients feel sure they are dealing with a professional company and have little trepidation in honestly answering the survey questions."
"I keep the surveys simple - no branching, mostly just yes/no and multiple choice," she says. "I ask them what they thought of their visit, if they had any complaints. There were some common themes - some patients were feeling a bit rushed, for instance. Without the survey, the directing physician would not have known this was an important issue to be dealt with. Actually, the most valuable feedback we get is the ‘negative’ kind. You can’t make things better if you don’t know you need to!"
The survey also included an option the respondent could check to have the physician’s office call them back, meaning that customers asking for special attention could easily receive it.
In addition to surveying new customers, Park also creates the clinic’s email newsletter, which goes out monthly to about 4,500 people. Key Survey has allowed her to poll those recipients for feedback, and get information that’s made the newsletter "more useful and more relevant," keeping Total Dermatology high in customers’ minds and encouraging word-of-mouth.
While a majority of Park’s regular consulting work is Total Dermatology, it’s not the entirety of her work. Especially early on, she couldn’t afford a long learning curve for the survey software; she was glad to find that this wasn’t the case.
"I picked it up in a very short time. It’s very user-friendly," she said. "And I’m just delighted with the customer service. Any time I ever need something from Key Survey, I call John and it just happens. He’s really been very, very helpful. Great customer service has become a rarity, but for certain, one place I’ve found it is at Key Survey."