Your hearing care practice is a product of your hard work, time, and energy, and is intended to function as both a resource for your patients, as well as a lucrative business that will prosper and grow over time. Despite the good intentions that go into making your business a profitable venture, however, there may be inadvertent “hurdles” that are hindering the success of your practice and preventing you from realizing its true potential.
One of the most critical aspects of your business is the way your practice is perceived by current and potential patients. For example, if you asked a client to compose an online review of your business, what do you think they would say? Are there potential areas of improvement when it comes to how your staff interacts with patients, your online presence, or how easy it is to schedule an appointment?
In this article, we’ll explore some common difficulties that practice owners may encounter, as well as quick and easy ways to fix the issues that may be keeping your hearing care practice from functioning optimally.
1) Customer Service
If a customer has the perception that they have been treated rudely or poorly, they are more likely to leave a negative online review or simply boycott your business permanently. An unfriendly interaction with a staff member, long wait times for an appointment, and/or a dismissive attitude toward any concerns they have, may be all it takes for a patient to feel like their business is not needed or appreciated. Training your staff to greet each patient upon arrival and to make themselves available and eager to answer questions and be informative—both in person and on the phone—can go a long way toward assuring your clients that you care about patients as individuals. Create an oasis of comfort in your waiting room by choosing a soothing color palette, offering beverages such as water and/or coffee, and displaying an array of up-to-date reading material so that your clients feel relaxed and happy. And, as there will inevitably be times when you’re running behind schedule, make it a priority to communicate any delays to your waiting patients and thank them for their business, which will help them feel appreciated and valued as customers.
2) Online Presence
Most, if not all, potential patients will research your practice online before contacting you—that may be the way they find out about you initially—so it’s imperative that all your information regarding hours, location, and services offered is accurate and up to date. Additionally, if you have online reviews listed publicly on Yelp or Google Business, check to make sure that what is written is accurate and unbiased; one or two negative reviews posted by angry or unhappy customers may be all it takes to potentially turn someone away from your practice. Addressing these concerns with clients before they leave bad reviews, or asking satisfied clients to leave reviews after an office visit are two ways to make sure your business is portrayed in the best light possible. Creating a website can also be a way for potential patients to get more information on your practice, schedule appointments remotely, or find out about and/or apply for financing options, such as those offered by Ally Lending, quickly and easily. Creating profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are also helpful ways to create avenues of promotion for your services and helping provide clients with additional ways to communicate with your office.
3) Future Visits
Part of the challenge in helping your business thrive is retaining existing clientele. How do you ensure that your clients continue to visit your audiology practice over the long haul? In addition to scheduling follow-up appointments to check whether a particular treatment plan is working for your patient, instructing staff to make regular “check-in” calls can reassure patients that you’re concerned with the resolution of their hearing issue and are invested in their long-term care. Being sensitive to the affordability of out-of-pockets costs for your services is also a consideration. Suggesting a pay-over-time payment option such as an affordable financing solution from Ally Lending which offers easy monthly payments that can be budgeted in with other expenses, can help alleviate any concerns your patients have about the potential costs of a treatment plan. Though none of these tips alone will guarantee success, there is no downside to examining your current business practices and looking for ways to make improvements. Your patients will thank you with their continued business.