10 Best Practices For Patient Retention In A Modern Hearing Aid Practice
I undertook a post a good while ago and it has proved to be one of the most popular on the blog. It was in relation to ten tips or best practices for Patient retention. I always meant to revisit it in order to expand on the points that were raised. So here goes, I shall expand on the first four points here. I shall finish the rest over the next week.
So in essence, what can you do to retain those Patients and in fact hopefully increase your referrals through them?
1. Mark out your brand strategy, remember that everything and I mean everything about your business is your brand. From the standard of the decor of your practice right through to how somebody interacts on a phone call, all of these elements make your perceived brand. Ensure that every point of contact with your Patient is fully versed and on Brand.
I can not emphasise this enough, I have said before that your brand is what your Patient says about you. This is a truism, but you can shape the things that your Patient say about you. I was today in two different modern Practices, one that was deployed on the consultative destination model and the other which was deployed on the modern High Street concept model. They were both radically different premises, but in both, you immediately got the sense that you were going to be looked after. The decor in both contributed to this, the small touches in comfort and service also contributed, but the biggest contributor to the sense of well being was the welcome of the staff.
In both places you are dealt with quickly and consistently in a friendly and courteous manner. Even though you are being handled in a well designed process, there is no sense of rush or loss of individualised care. The decor and layout immediately set the tone and the staff round it out. They are well turned out, friendly, efficient and never give the feeling of rush or loss of control. In essence, you feel cared for, that is a powerful feeling, it is a feeling that will bring you back time after time. These Practices completely understand the need to shape the perceptions of their Patients, in both case they have set out to deploy a brand that impacts their Patient in the manner which they have chosen. This brand strategy covers everything in their branch and in their dealings with their Patients.
You need to carefully consider this and then you need to carefully assess your Practice for impact. The assessment should cover decor, staff, communications and point of sales. You should ensure that all facets of your Practice are on brand, that they are consistent with the perception you want to shape.
2. Deliver service levels that consistently amaze your Patients. Always display that can do, nothing is too much attitude; ensure every person within the organisation displays it just as effectively.
This again speaks to your brand perception among your Patients, when you amaze your Patients with your levels of service they will become ambassadors for your brand. They will speak about you to anyone who is interested, they may even speak about you to people who aren’t interested. I read a lot and research a lot in relation to customer service. There is a guy named Shep Hyken in the states and he pretty much is the guru of customer service. He is worth a read, his ideas are not industry specific and can be applied to ours easily.
So how do you put this idea into Practice, with consistent customer centric service delivery. A Patient returns an aid for repair, supply them with a loaner to get them through. A Patient needs service quickly, ensure that they get that service same day if necessary. A Patient rings to speak to you, return that call within a set time period every time. Ensure that all your staff take responsibility for actioning and following up on any issue. This is imperative, customer service fails when people don’t take responsibility for the rectifying of an issue. Ensure every member of your organisation takes responsibility, make it part of your company ethos.
3. Engage your Patients regularly at a human level, with compassion, interest and empathy.
This is one of the most powerful things that you and your staff can do. It is simple human engagement, ask them how they are, remember their name. Converse with them in a simple human manner, discuss family, the weather, holidays, hobbies, last weekend, this weekend, all of the things that you would discuss with somebody you knew.
Give of yourself in conversation, they will reciprocate, it is how these things work. Engage people, not in a commercial sense, but in a simple human sense. Your Patients will respect you, dare I say, like you and your staff. This helps to build your Patients into a community, part of an extended group. It is nice, it will enrich your life, it will make your working life easier, it will also by chance make your bottom line healthier.
4. In order to engage your Patients at this consistent level ensure that you acquire really good CRM software, customise it to your needs and make sure every person in your organisation uses it to record all contacts with and details of your Patients.
This is imperative, a CRM will allow your business to function at its optimum. It will ensure that all your communications are managed and recorded. It will allow you to automate a lot of the processes and reminders in your Practice. It will allow you to record information pertaining to your Patients that will allow you and your staff engage them in a more in depth manner. A CRM gives you massive power to manage your Practice and your Patients.
The data that you enter into a CRM will also allow you to define your searches for your mail marketing. Defined and targeted mail marketing still gives some of the best returns on investment. But results are only as good as the power of your defined search. So ensure you enter the data in the first place, the more data you enter, the more defined your search results are. The more refined your search results are, the better your returns.