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Show Them You Care and They'll Keep Coming Back Health Care providers should never take their out-of-network patients for granted.

By Karen Mishra Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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I have been looking for an outstanding health and wellness practitioner this past year. I've met several physicians in the outstanding healthcare practices we have in the Triangle in North Carolina, but I've also met a few entrepreneurial healthcare providers along the way. If you have ever been to a healthcare provider outside of your insurance system, you know that it automatically costs more because you have to pay "out of pocket" and your insurance may or may not reimburse you.

Some of these healthcare providers really "get" that their service has to be outstanding in order to compensate for this extra cost, yet sadly, some have still not figured this out. I quickly moved on from those who arrogantly think that because they have an MD next to their name that they don't need to work hard to earn my trust and my business. As insurance rates continue to climb, more and more healthcare entrepreneurial opportunities will emerge.

Related: How to Become a Healthcare Innovator

Here is what the best entrepreneurial healthcare providers do to keep my business:

Be prepared.

The first time I met with a new primary care doctor at Duke, Dr. Verka, she had already read my file and had good questions for me. She immediately earned my trust because she entered into our conversation well-prepared and ready to listen to my concerns.

Related: 5 Trends Reinventing Healthcare

Provide a quick win.

Because boutique healthcare is so expensive, you want to feel that you are making a worthwhile investment. When you spend extra money on that first visit, you will schedule a second if you experience a quick win between the first and the second. That can be something as simple as providing an explanation of your labs between visits or actually starting to feel better from that first supplement that they recommend.

Really listen and respond.

We've all experienced many physicians and other service providers who don't really listen to our concerns and try to make us fit into what they provide, rather than solving our unique concerns. The best healthcare providers truly listen and come up with innovative solutions based on what is best for us and not what is based on what is best for other patients in their practice.

Related: Retail, Health Care and Sports: 3 Industries That Need Customer Love

Don't give up.

When something doesn't work the first time, truly excellent healthcare providers demonstrate the depth of their knowledge by having other solutions ready. This does not mean they should try anything to keep our business, but it means demonstrating a depth of knowledge that allows them to be innovative and flexible to try new things to keep customers happy and satisfied. Healthcare is already a place where people feel more vulnerable. If providers show that they won't give up on us, then they will earn our trust.

While these lessons came from healthcare providers, they apply to anyone who wants to provide high quality service to retain happy customers. Show customers you care and they will keep coming back.

Karen Mishra

Assistant Professor of Marketing

Karen Mishra teaches digital marketing in the MBA program at Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C. She also runs a leadership and marketing consulting firm called Total Trust, based in Durham, N.C.

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