Part Two, Applying Commercial Strategy To Your Hearing Healthcare Practice, Re-visiting The Ten Best Practices

10 Best Practices For Patient Retention In A Modern Hearing Aid Practice

This is the second and last part of this article.
5. Employ a loyalty scheme for your Patients, whilst discount reductions on ancillary products such as batteries and cleaning care equipment should be a given, think about monetary thank you vouchers for referral of new Patients or even a scheme where every referral attracts a higher level of discount on the next product purchase.

A loyalty scheme can meet both strategic and tactical needs within your business. The strategic element is long term customer engagement and the encouragement of loyalty to your Practice. The tactical need that it serves is the generation of extra ancillary revenue. It also serves the purpose of keeping you fresh in a Patient’s mind consistently over the lifetime of the hearing instrument. The deployment of a loyalty scheme increases you Patient’s engagement with your Practice and with your staff. It also encourages referral by Patients because of the increased satisfaction with and buy in to your Practice.

6. At every appointment ensure your Patient leaves smiling, a nice chat, some kind words and a cheap giveaway. Spare tubes and tips for thin tube devices, pack of batteries, refill drying tablets, mould cleansing tablets, it does not have to be much, nor does it have to be costly, it just has to be consistent and given with a smile.

Set out a process or script for every standard recall appointment on your Patient journey. Don’t forget to ask about the family, revisit your last conversation based on the notes that you made on your CRM. Ensure that undertake actions that are perceived to give value. A typical recall visit should contain the following,

Take the instruments from the Patient, clean the instruments, clean and retube molds if necessary, change thin tubes and tips if necessary, change wax guards if necessary. Whilst undertaking the cleaning discuss on-going benefit and trouble areas. Connect to instruments, query the sound diary and discuss usage patterns and sound environments with Patient. Make any fine tuning changes needed and discuss on-going coping techniques. At the end of the appointment give the Patient a small free gift, a pack of batteries, some cleaning accessories etc.

This type of structured recall appointment allows you to give perceived on-going value to a  Patient. It also fosters a perception of professional on-going care, this will again foster referrals and retention.

7. Try to build a community, ask your Patients would they be interested in talking to some people who are starting out on the journey of better hearing, if so put a buddy system in place. If it begins to take off, organize coffee mornings, you don’t necessarily have to pay for them but if you do it will not cost the earth.

We as human beings have an overwhelming urge to belong, it is in built in our genetic code. A community is a powerful entity, when you feel that you belong to a community it changes your outlook and perceptions. Hearing loss still has some stigma attached to it in the mind of our Patients. Introducing them to other people with hearing loss in a structured manner can reduce the psychological impact of newly discovered hearing loss.

If you can change the relationship of your Patients with your business to a community built around your business you will be rewarded with extreme loyalty. It will also encourage referral, people will want to tell their friends about your business and your community or Patient days.

8. Ask your Patients for referrals and favourable reviews, don’t be afraid, don’t think its cheap, don’t be embarrassed. If you are as good as you think you are they will be happy to help out by referring the people they know or writing a few lines for your webpage or a letter for display in your practice.

Your Patients, if satisfied, will have no issue with referring people to you, so ask them. When they say, I can’t thank you enough, I wish I could do something for you. Say you can, if you would I would appreciate if you would refer anybody you think I can assist to me. They will also be only too happy to write testimonials that they will stand by, testimonials are probably the best way you can enforce your on-going efficacy.

9. Ensure you connect with associated medical professionals in your area, be they MDs, Opticians or Pharmacists. If the relationship becomes strong enough consider how you both may leverage that relationship to improve both your practices.

Ensure that you connect with any and all associated medical professionals in your area. This can be a difficult process particularly with M.D.s, but it is a worthwhile process. A relationship with any associated professional can enforce your professional image and also drive a referral route. Opticians in particular can be an excellent source of cross referral, the trick is that you must also refer back. You can even formalise and leverage the relationship to drive both businesses. Perhaps part of your next campaign could be a voucher for optical services with every instrument purchase. They could offer a voucher for hearing care services with every set of spectacles.

10. Finally and I think the most important, offer good instruments at fair prices, fit them well, and work real hard to deliver on your Patient’s expectations. This is what gave me the most satisfaction in practice and also the most referrals.

I think this one speaks for itself really.

Take a look at your Practice with new eyes, identify the processes and procedures that work and leverage them for benefit. Introduce new processes and procedures that will enforce your Patient retention and referral strategy and dump any processes and procedures that threaten your success.

The key to your success is amazing your customer, wowing them, never forget that and you will be on the right track.

About Geoffrey Cooling

Geoffrey Cooling is an Irish hearing care blogger and the author of The Little Book of Hearing Aids and Audiology Marketing in a Digital World. He has been involved in the Hearing Healthcare Profession since 2007 when he qualified as a hearing aid audiologist. He has worked in private practice and for a major hearing aid manufacturer. He has become recognised as an authority within the field of hearing care and hearing aids.

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