As far as you’re concerned, your hearing care practice has it all. Your training, skill, and experience. The latest technology and a friendly, efficient staff. Unfortunately, your offices might look a bit different from the perspective of a new or returning patient. When you think of all the doctors’ and dentists’ offices you have visited, what were the little things that you remember about your experience?
Like any business, one of the keys to running a successful hearing care practice is to consider the customer experience and remove any roadblocks to positive and productive office visits. Let’s discuss some of the roadblocks inherent to your practice and how to remove them.
An Unsightly Online Profile
When prospective patients search for your practice, what will they find? In “Managing Your Online Reputation to Elevate Your Practice,” 4MyHearingBiz discussed the growing role reputation management plays in attracting new customers in the Digital Age. Searching for your practice on Google Reviews and Yelp should reveal whether any customers (or competitors) have posted negative information online. Setting up Google alerts for your name and your business name ensures you are notified when new information—good or bad—appears.
Next, take a look at your website. If you were a patient seeking hearing care, would it be clear how your practice could help him or her? Be sure your website describes your business, projects a professional image, and includes all the information patients need to contact you and find your office. Finally, be sure your website is “responsive.” This means that it can be viewed on mobile devices as well as desktop computers
A Bad First Impression
When a prospective patient calls your office, they should be greeted with a friendly, knowledgeable voice and all the information they need to book an appointment. If they are immediately put on hold or sent to voicemail, they might call another practice. If they are treated rudely or told the information they seek can be found on your website, they might be insulted. Either way, they’re gone.
When a new patient shows up for their first appointment, they should find a clean, well-organized office and be greeted by a friendly staff member. Magazines, hot coffee, and cold water should be freely available. If you can offer access to free Wi-Fi, post a sign with the network name and password. When leading them to a patient suite, every space they see—from the hallways to the examination room—should be clean and uncluttered.
Should a prospective patient decide to drop into your office on a whim, welcome them. Don’t lecture them for failing to make an appointment or tell them they must do so to see you. If they are willing to wait, be willing to take a few minutes to meet and greet them between appointments. It could be the difference between keeping and losing a new patient.
A Lack of Information
Sticker shock is an unfortunate reality in the hearing care game. Patients are often unable to easily afford the devices they need to protect and improve their hearing. If you offer financing through a partnership with a health and wellness credit card provider, such as CareCredit, consider making that information known to anyone who spends time in your waiting room.
Hearing care providers who partner with CareCredit are provided with a range of materials that can be used to familiarize patients with the option to finance the cost of their visits and devices. This includes everything from door decals to displays to brochures. All for no cost to you and your patients!
Whether a patient has visited you once or 100 times, follow-up is crucial! This ensures that they are following your treatment plan and will return for their next appointment. Create a follow-up schedule and stick to it.
If you can, make the first follow-up call to each new patient yourself. They will be impressed! When your staff makes follow-up calls on your behalf, be sure they stick to the proverbial script. It’s also important that they remain friendly and encouraging at all times. They should be prepared to stay on the phone for as long as it takes to answer any questions a patient may have.
Viewing your practice through your patients’ eyes can be illuminating. If you don’t like what you see, take whatever steps are necessary to correct it. You deserve a full patient roster, and they deserve the care you provide. Don’t allow roadblocks to get in the way of your success.