Audiology Practice Management, what To Do In 2014

Wake up and smell the coffee

At this time of year it is normal to look both behind us and plan for what is ahead. You can’t plan for 2014 without being completely aware of what happened in 2013. Analyse your data from last year closely, it will give you both the answers you need and inspiration for this year. Phonak have recently published a study on what successful Practices do in the states, the things that make them successful.

There is no real surprises in the survey, these are common sense things that you should all be doing. What did surprise me was the amount of turnover as a percentage spent on advertising. At 3% or $15,000 it seemed exceptionally low, the rule of thumb I use is 10 to 12%. Although perhaps I include much more as marketing than the survey does. For instance I include any cost of loyalty schemes as marketing and nearly all Patient communications. Don’t know, probably won’t find out, no point getting the knickers in a knot!

They did give recommendations in relation to what these successful Practices were doing, they lined up as follows

Develop a formal, detailed marketing activities calendar;
Develop a marketing budget each year;
Develop patient and networking referral programs;
Use more patient testimonials, lead capture system, Web site analytics and search optimization tools to improve marketing functionality of their Web sites;
Compensate with salary plus commission on hearing instrument sales, and provide licensed hearing professionals with health benefits;
Conduct patient satisfaction surveys and shared results with their staff, and
Recall for hearing instrument cleanings semi-annually.

Apart from the salary and commission thing it surprised me that more Practices weren’t doing this, why not? If you aren’t doing this why in god’s name are you not? We have discussed in detail the recommendations here and more on this blog, other blogs and in some of the forums on LinkedIn over the last few years. However still many Practice owners are not using them to manage their Practice. It’s your funeral, this business is evolving at a frightening rate. For many decades the business has been protected because the price of entry was high. With the changes in technology and the constant pressure from industry disruptors that is changing.

These disruptors are serious and hungry for a slice of a multi billion pound market. A market they think they can turn to volume by lowering prices, a market that they think they can grow. They aren’t just interested in the people that purchase hearing aids, they covet the rest, the people with loss that don’t. So believe me, this business is only going to get tougher, we are going to be living in interesting times. So get off your ass, stop whining, get off it and start managing your Practice, because if you don’t your ass is grass.

Regards

Geoff

About Geoffrey Cooling

my name is Geoffrey Cooling and I am the author here at Just Audiology Stuff. I have been involved in the Hearing Healthcare Profession for several years now. I initially worked as a Hearing Healthcare Professional for a large national retailer in Ireland. After several years in Practice I was approached to work for a manufacturer, where I was employed for five years. I am now the Co Founder of a business called Audiology Engine. We design websites, undertake content marketing and generally look after everything digital for audiological practices. I am also a contributor to many hearing profession periodicals and websites. I have written two commercially available books, The Little Book of Hearing Aids which is written for hearing aid consumers and Audiology Marketing in a Digital World which is written for Audiology Practice Owners. They are both available in Paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon. I also write for consumers on the website Hearing Aid Know, which is a website with the mission of demystifying hearing aids, their types and their technology. I have a great interest in commercial strategy as it applies to Healthcare in general and specifically to Hearing Healthcare. I also have a great interest in the psychology of sales and human interaction. I have been involved with social media for some time, both personally and professionally. I find the engagement and discourse on some social media channels fascinating. I instituted social media strategy for the company I worked for as an experiment. That experiment soon spread throughout the company and I am proud to say that the company is probably one of the most active in the industry. I would like to point out that all views, opinions and thoughts here are mine own. Unless of course they have been planted by the pod people, you just can’t take your eyes off the pod people. Those views do not necessarily reflect upon any views or opinions held by my employer, if I ever get another one. I think that our industry is in the middle of a time of huge change, I think that the change will be forced by both internal and external pressure. I think that private Independent Healthcare Practices will have to be smart and lithe of feet in order to meet these changes. I hope that some of my blatherings are of benefit to those Practices, Independent Hearing Healthcare Practices need to survive. I believe that if that occurs it will be of real benefit to Patients. I hope that I, and my writings will play a small part in their continued success.

One Comment

  1. Geoffrey,
    Nice thoughts to think about in 2014. Always good articles Geoffrey!
    Rich

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