Get Beyond the Bottlenecks and Run Your Practice Like a Well-Oiled Machine
Your practice is at a critical tipping point. Your staff is busy (which is a good thing) but they are at their maximum capacity just handling day-to-day operations. You know you need to replace the temporary bubble-gum and duct-tape patches with a solid structure of people, processes, and services to successfully scale your business. Here are key ways to manage growth and launch your practice to the next level:
The very first step in making a change is evaluating the current performance of your practice across the board. Marketing reports should provide concrete data on the channels driving quality traffic and leads to your website. One of the best indicators of the effective usage of your marketing dollars is by calculating the Cost Per Lead for each channel. To calculate the Cost Per Lead, divide the cost of the channel (ex. social media, pay-per-click) by the number of patient leads received. Comparing Cost Per Lead across different channels can be one of the best indicators of where your marketing dollars are most effective.
Measuring leads that call your practice can be more difficult. This is where conducting a phone assessment can help reveal if leads are falling through the cracks. A significant amount of revenue can be lost through improper call handling. Unanswered calls, excessive hold time, or less-than-exceptional customer service all lead to a failure to harvest the leads seeded by your marketing investment.
Also understand how your practice is performing at the office. Conduct patient surveys and request reviews. Interview staff to determine where they are spending their time and how many responsibilities they cover.
2. Identify the Gaps
There could be several reasons beyond your control that patients may not book, such as high cost or it may not be the right time for them. However, a simple, high-level analysis across the board should reveal gaps and inefficiencies requiring improvement.
|Little or low website traffic or call volume||This usually means your marketing needs attention. People simply do not know about you.|
|High traffic, but patients are not contacting you||Content or the user experience on your site is lacking. Are patients able to find the information they need quickly and easily?|
|Patients are contacting you through your website or over the phone, but low or no scheduled consultations||Indicates patients in their research process are either slipping through the cracks, not getting the information they need, or they did not have a great experience when they contacted your practice. This does not necessarily mean they had a bad experience. However, if they are evaluating other practices, this could be where another practice made a better impression. This is the gap where office training and effective processes are needed.|
|Scheduled consultations, but little to no booked procedures||Typically means the experience in the office is not meeting their needs or expectations. Perhaps they did not get to answer all their questions or somehow were not made to feel comfortable enough to take that next step.|
|You never hear or see the patient again||Sure, they may have had their procedure performed elsewhere. But this is where your practice is lacking an effective follow-up plan to know for sure.|
While these are very general examples, you should be able to identify the weak areas where patients seem to be dropping off by using your marketing reports, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, and your business evaluation.
3. Define Roles & Responsibilities
Practices fall short when staff is managing too many different things or when they are unclear about where to prioritize their time. Is the person in charge of the phones also managing the front desk? Are people who are not trained well enough answering technical questions? Having people who can “wear a lot of hats” is necessary, but at a point it can cause more chaos than good. Without clearly defined structure, staff can become stressed and overwhelmed potentially transferring that frustration toward patients. This tense environment ultimately provides a poor experience for clients. Ideally, having someone exclusively focused on managing new patient calls, away from the busy front desk, helps ensure the best first impression and that they are given the appropriate time and consideration.
4. Develop Consistent Processes
The concept of “maximizing the patient experience” should be represented in your processes. What happens when patients are checking in for their appointment, the phones are ringing, and paperwork needs to be filed? Do staff know where to prioritize workflow to make sure patients are addressed?
Does your practice have a script for handling different types of patient calls? Do they know to collect patient information (name, phone number and email) and input this into your CRM? This process is critical to continually gather data to track performance and for future follow-up.
What happens after the procedure? At this point, there should be requests for reviews and feedback.
Repeat clients are a huge component to growing a profitable practice. There should be automated reminders put in place for any necessary follow-up appointments.
“Overall OptiCall has given us the tools necessary to take our practice to the next level.”
– Tracy Kenniff, Practice Administrator of Eye & LASIK Center
Regular training and shadowing ensures your staff is well informed about as many aspects of the patient experience as possible. Schedule morning huddles or weekly meetings to update everyone on changes. Ensure all staff members are informed of their priorities and how their roles contribute to the team to deliver the best impression to patients. Finally, debrief patient interactions: What went well? What did you observe that the staff could do better? Establishing patient-centered processes and goals will keep your staff focused on what matters most in your practice.
A reason practices never get beyond a certain size is because they try to manage as much as possible internally with limited time, training, and staffing. Outsourcing to trusted agencies and companies that specialize in serving elective medical practices can be hugely beneficial. Leveraging billing and payroll services can save time on tedious administrative tasks. Hiring a marketing agency can generate significantly more quality leads for your business. Outsourcing your call handling to trained phone staff, who are available when more prospective patients have time to call or when the staff is tied up, ensures you never miss a lead. Most importantly, outsourcing allows your staff to focus on patients in the office. OptiCall has an exclusive list of industry leaders providing specialized products and services proven to streamline practice operations and increase profitability. Click here for our list of 5-Star Partners.
Having a busy practice can be a great problem, as long as it’s managed with the right tools, services, and systems that streamline your business and allow you to make the patient your focus.
If you’d like help understanding where your business needs a boost, contact us for a phone assessment. You’ll gain valuable insights that will directly impact your operations and revenue.Contact Us to Get Started