It is just part of the day in the life of an audiologist: new patients. And inevitably, they will have the same questions and concerns that the person before them had. Losing your hearing is a terrifying prospect, but it’s not the only concern patients will have on their minds. If you want to create a more productive environment, which, in turn, will lead to greater retention, consider leading the appointment by addressing patient’s top five concerns right off the bat. Before your patients even have a chance to ask.
It Costs Too Much
It should come as no surprise that the number one concern of most patients will be cost. Sticker shock is a typical response from many patients confronted with a large bill. But it is important to point out that, while cheaper amplifiers exist, they may be doing more harm than good. Stress to patients that the reason the devices you offer in your office cost more is because they work to preserve hearing while also amplifying sound, unlike some less expensive options.
This is also a good time to bring up services like CareCredit. With this program, you’ll help remove the financial barrier to entry. It gives your patients an alternative that both allows them to get the devices they need while ensuring they can stay on budget. Have a tablet or computer set up in your office where patients can apply—and get approved—securely and quickly. It is a fast, convenient option that will help defray the cost of a hearing treatment plan. No one should have to endure a world that is slowly going silent for lack of funds.
I Don’t Want to be Perceived as “Old”
Many patients remember relatives from previous generations, whose hearing devices were big or clunky, didn’t work very well, and were unattractive. But today’s devices are slim, low-profile, and, in some cases, almost completely hidden. Today, the odds are good no one will realize they are even wearing hearing aids unless they point it out.
It Might Not Work for Me
No one wants to spend a lot of money only to have the devices not work as well as they are expecting. This is where you need to address your patient’s expectations.
Make sure they understand that today’s hearing devices aren’t just amplifiers, but are sophisticated pieces of technology. Many devices will need to be adjusted multiple times to get the optimal output for each patient. While the immediate perception of sound might not be as “dramatic” as they were expecting, they will notice a difference over time as you dial it in. Make sure they understand that getting the best outcome is a process, not a one-time event.
I Don’t Know How to Care for It
The very sophistication that makes today’s devices better than in the past can also be a negative for many. They might see another complicated device they have no hope of ever figuring out, so they reason that they will probably never use it.
This is where you come in. Make sure to stress that you aren’t just there for the fitting or to sell them something, but that your office is always available to answer questions. Have tutorial sessions or set up telemedicine options with Skype or Facetime. Set up a dedicated hotline in your office they can call. The point is to make sure they know they aren’t alone, and that you will be beside them for as long as they need to get the most out of their hearing aid.
What if I Lose or Break It?
Almost all of today’s devices come with a one-year warranty in case of loss or damage. And it is not uncommon for audiologists to extend that to as many as three years. Make sure your patients understand exactly what is covered, and for how long, especially if your practice offers extended warranties. They can also purchase additional warranty coverage, either through your office, if you offer it, or on their own. It is never a bad idea to go over those options as well, so they can feel fully informed and good about their decision.
By addressing the top five concerns right from the start, you free up the time for your patients to ask more individualized questions, which lead to more productive office visits. And that, in turn, will lead to greater retention and more satisfied people.