Attracting new patients to your practice is a hard slog. It takes a huge investment of time, energy and money. If you are investing any of these things into acquiring new patients you really need to look at the results you are seeing to make sure you are not throwing your time and money away.
Acquiring new patients is a process that needs to be followed through from start to finish.
More often than not we focus our energy and money into driving visitors to our website or calling our practice but often we overlook the important part of actually converting the patient after they get in touch.
What systems do you have in place to facilitate this conversion? Do you track enquiries and monitor conversion? Is your team trained to handle enquiries, overcome objections and build and nurture the patient relationship? What happens when the enquiry doesn't immediately convert, do you have a system in place to follow up and nurture the lead into conversion? Often I find that these systems are just not in place and I cannot tell you just how much potential business you are missing out on!
To address these questions, over the years I have developed and perfected a robust, structured system that has been designed to track and manage the entire new patient process leading to maximum conversion and a phenomenal patient experience that will not only land you that new patient but will help build your practices reputation and attract even patients to your door.
What we need to understand is that some people are just not ready to buy, for whatever reason they just don't have the desire to actually come in and speak to you (don't take it personally).
How many times have you had a website enquiry come through (usually at some odd hour), someone telling you their story and asking you for a solution. You dutifully respond with a helpful reply and offer of a telephone conversation or even a free consult to gently find out more, days go by and you never hear from them again! I find this is particularly common with dental implant enquiries and I know just how frustrating this can be.
It is my belief that these people are simply not ready to commit, they had a brave moment but this quickly passed and now they just want to continue their fact finding and are just not ready to do any more than shop around or information gather. You might assume they are just not interested, maybe they went elsewhere or they might just be complete time-wasters, you might be right but on the other hand maybe they are your dream patient and just need a bit of gentle encouragement? You need to have a system in place to follow up these enquiries and try to build and nurture the relationship with these potential patients.
More often than not conversion is a process that happens over time, it's rarely instant and like anything worth having it takes time and effort.
If you'd like help designing and implementing systems and training for handling & nurturing enquiries get in touch to find out how I could help you.
If there is one thing that is going to make or break your practice it is your team! In this blog post I will be sharing some of the common habits I see amongst awesome teams.
Habit # 1 Clarity of purpose & direction
If you don't know where you are going how do you expect to get there? The same applies to your team. A vision & purpose developed in partnership with your team is an essential step to achieve this. As Simon Sinek says 'people don't buy what you do they buy why you do it'! Make sure your team understands and appreciates why you all do what you do and set a clear vision of what you are trying to achieve.
Habit # 2 Clarity of Responsibility
Does everyone in your team understand their job? They know what their key responsibilities are and they know when and how they are expected to deliver them? I'm not talking about having job descriptions, of course these are an important tool but don't assume because someone has a job description they understand their job. Once everyone understands the expectations of their own role they must also understand the role of their team mates. It's great to have reliable team members who are great at their job however a back up plan is a necessity.
Habit # 3 Empowerment
An empowered team is an essential element of a successful practice. Once your team understand their responsibilities and there are clear expectations for delivery of a role give them the trust and ownership to do a good job. Micro-management is a real problem in many practices and it stamps out empowerment resulting in teams reluctant to go that extra mile.
Habit # 4 Seek first to understand then to be understood
One of the 7 habits of highly effective people identified by Stephen Covey is hugely relevant in building an awesome team. If you are genuinely interested in your team members, you listen to their problems and triumphs and I mean sincerely listen, your team will appreciate you all the more for it. The real benefit is that by demonstrating understanding your team will mimic this behaviour and your team and patients will be feel better understood resulting in improved trust and relationships.
Habit # 5 Synergy
A team that truly understands their purpose and direction as well as each others responsibilities ultimately leads to better collaboration. A collaborative team works together in synergy, they feed off each other making decisions together. The benefit of a collaborative approach is a more efficient workflow and increased productivity. By working together to achieve a common goal and utilising everyone's skills to full effect your team will be truly awesome.
Habit # 6 Prioritise
An awesome team knows what is important. This comes from a clear understanding of purpose, direction & responsibilities. By knowing what is important your team will be able to prioritise workloads to achieve success.
Habit # 7 System driven
A practice runs on systems, good systems are the key to success. Systems should be clear and straightforward and regularly reviewed to make sure they are working. Systems should make life easier and help the business run smoothly. Each team member should be fully trained in all systems relevant to their role and should have a good understanding of all systems outside the scope of their role.
Habit# 8 Proactive not reactive
Have you ever come into work on a Monday morning and thought 'why are there so many gaps in my book this week'? The likelihood is that the thought will then disappear until you find yourself in that gap because you get 'busy' with the day. The problem with this is that the gap will not be filled. If your team are working proactively, looking ahead to identify gaps and collaborating to fill those gaps the problem is solved. Proactive teams identify problems before they become problems and use systems to beat the problems.
If you would like help to build an awesome team feel free to get in touch.
Do you have satisfied customers?
Are you offering a level of service that your patients are happy with?
Have you found out what your patients think of your service?
Are you listening to what is not being said?
Most practices will have ‘satisfied’ customers but ask yourself this....is satisfied good enough?
Satisfied means they expect nothing more, their standards are mediocre and no-one else is doing it any worse.
Satisfied does not create loyal patients who are ambassadors of your practice, satisfied creates patients that are happy with the status-quo but who will jump ship when a better opportunity presents itself.
Your patients are your customers and they are buying a SERVICE and to keep them coming back that service needs to be top notch, anything less and that loyal patient will eventually take their business elsewhere.
If you are trying to improve your patient experience I would highly recommend a book called ‘Raving Fans’ by Ken Blanchard.
We can help you transform your patient experience and give you not satisfied customers, but raving fans who will recommend you time and time again. Call us today on 07703627873 or email email@example.com
In order to maximise your appointment book and develop amazing relationships with your patients your team need to master the art of follow up.
Follow up is something I cannot impress enough upon my team and my clients. I strongly believe that there should always be a next step and you should be the one in control. Success does not just happen it is something that takes hard work and dedication.
Every patient whether new or existing should be part of a system and everyone in the practice should know where they are in this system. A traditional recall system is not sufficient to maximise patient retention and it does not demonstrate first class level service to your patients. A robust follow up system is necessary to capture every step of your patient journey and ensure no-body falls through the cracks.
A multi-level follow up system captures patients from the moment they get in touch until the moment they leave your practice for good (which is hopefully never!).
A follow up system is a fundamental part of good practice management and will ultimately lead to higher performance and productivity as well as amazing client relationships.
With an effective follow up system patients feel important, cared for and that you really do have their best interest at heart.
I recommended you identify the key follow up points in your patient journey for example enquiries that have not yielded bookings should always be followed up, as should patients who have cancelled and not re-booked an appointment.
Having a good system is only the first step the most important part of making a follow up system work is ensuring everyone in the practice knows HOW it works. Follow up communications are worthless when the message is wrong, in fact they can be worse than worthless they can be harmful, patients can feel hounded and harassed and this impression will not help patient retention. Your team need to know how to communicate effectively to ensure patients understand the nature of the follow up communication and that it is intended as a tool for improved customer service and efficiency rather than to ‘fill the book’. It is vitally important to know and respect the patients contact preference, many patients don’t like phone calls they may prefer to communicate by email where possible and it is so important to offer a method of communication that the patient is comfortable with.
Scripting is an effective way to ensure your message is being received, identify with your team the need for a follow up system, examine your patient journey to determine appropriate points for follow up and agree a system. You can then work together to create procedures, scripts and even email or letter templates to assist in the process. Make sure your team is on board with the new system and practice with each other (yes the dreaded role play that we all love so much, but it really does work!) after all practice makes perfect.
If you’d like to find out more about evaluating and improving your administrative systems and increase productivity please firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.practice-perfection.co.uk
The way a patient perceives your service could make or break the success of your business.
The patient experience is one of the most (if not THE most) important aspect of what your practice has to offer.
The patient experience covers every angle of a patients journey through your practice, from the moment they find out about you, how their initial enquiry is handled, their first and subsequent visits and every piece of communication that they receive from you.
We are in a 'service' industry, people are paying for a service and they will expect a good one.
So how do you measure and evaluate the service that your patients are receiving? Are your marketing strategies making you visible to potential patients and putting you ahead of the competition? Are your team handling new patient enquiries effectively? Are you communicating effectively with your customers? The most important question is are you providing a truly EXCEPTIONAL service?
There is no doubt that we are facing difficult times ahead in this struggling economy, with less disposable income patients are prioritising their spending and investing their money in a trusted, consistent service. It will be survival of the fittest and those practices that are custom focused and constantly striving to provide an exceptional service will prosper and grow.
What would you say if I told you it was possible to evaluate your Patient Experience through the eyes of a patient?
Practice Perfections 'Patient Experience Evaluation' allows you to see your service through the patients eyes. We will send a 'mystery patient' to assess your service and will provide you with a detailed report to highlight your strengths and weaknesses in specific areas. Our Patient Experience Evaluations are conducted by experienced dental professionals, people who know how it should be done. Our report comes complete with recommendations packed full of proven strategies for success.
In conjunction with our Patient Experience Evaluations we offer the added option of bespoke team and individual training to help you implement and train your team on our recommendations.
With the obligation to compliance in mind, we have designed our evaluations and reports to act as evidence towards CQC Outcome 1- 'Respecting & Involving people who uses the service'.
We offer a range of options from a simple telephone evaluation to a full patient experience evaluation. Prices start from as little as £49.99 and packages can be tailored to suit your needs.
Visit www.practice-perfection.co.uk or email email@example.com for more information.
Welcome to the Blog!
I want to help you build the practice of your dreams, I hope you find insight and inspiration in my blog.