Once known as a “category killer” for crushing the competition, Toys “R” Us announced last month it has officially closed all stores. Like so many other companies, Toys “R” Us failed to keep pace with changing times and lost its edge to the competitors who did – mainly Amazon.
While different industries, medical practices can learn key lessons from the rise of one and the downfall of another. Here are 6 ways you can stay ahead of your competitors.
1. Don’t Bet on Tomorrow
In its prime, Toys “R” Us was one of the hottest companies on the New York stock exchange. At its peak, its founder said it didn’t have competitors.
Just because your practice is successful now, doesn’t guarantee it will be tomorrow. In fact, success has often been a culprit of failure when corporations become complacent and stick to their old ways of doing things. To stay ahead of the pack, you need to continually evolve and constantly be in tune with customer needs to show up in ways others don’t.
2. Lead with a Mission & Standards
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos points to high corporate standards as one of the reasons for the company’s success. “Bring a new person onto a high standards team, and they’ll quickly adapt. The opposite is also true.”
Practice owners and managers lay the foundation of company vision, values, culture, and standards which translates down to staff and ultimately dictates how patients experience your office. How you manage employees, set expectations and define job roles, can have a significant impact on success.
3. Focus on the Customer
Toys “R” Us didn’t fail overnight. For years, the company was too nearsighted to see how consumer preferences and technology were shaping the latest trends until it was too late. It didn’t invest in maintaining or modernizing its stores; it didn’t focus on creating unique customer experiences – which would have given it a leg up to online competitors.
Practices won’t survive if they aren’t thinking of the patient first and relentlessly striving to meet their needs. Maximizing every touch point in the patient journey – from your online presence, to the moment they walk in your office, to the follow-up after the procedure – is critical.
4. Make the Right Investments
Paper files, fax machines, and the days of tracking information in an Excel spreadsheet are long gone – and it’s safe to say, they won’t be coming back. Replacing outdated software and evaluating where you can automate certain processes to save your staff time, can be one of the best things you can do to set your business up for success.
Some hesitate to make large investments, but operating day-to-day with archaic programs and platforms, or sticking with a system that slows your business down, is slowly devouring your staff’s productivity and crippling your growth.
5. Don’t Sit on the Sidelines
Successful practices don’t stand by while others think of the next best thing to attract and retain clients. Like Amazon, they’re always thinking ahead. They develop their strategy and “pivot” or adapt to change and take advantage of new trends.
They realize the power of new platforms on social media like Instagram stories and Facebook Live to use video and content marketing as tools that help them stay relevant to their audiences and grow their business. As such, they don’t hesitate to try them.
The practices who simply react to industry changes and trends will find themselves continually struggling at every turn – never prepared and always vulnerable to things going south. Others who wait in the wings, or are late to the game, simply don’t see the same impact.
6. Move Quickly
Amazon Prime is arguably feeding the consumer demand for everything right now. Nearly four in 10 online shoppers say they now expect retailers to offer free two-day delivery.
How does this apply to your practice? It means your prospective patients aren’t that patient, and if you want to win, you need to hustle. The goal is to always be there so you never miss a lead, but if you do, a timely follow-up could be the difference between a prospective patient choosing you or a competitor. According to a Lead Response Management Study, the odds of successfully converting a lead decrease by over 10 times in the 1st hour.
The art of running a solid practice includes prioritizing the things that drive growth. Every phone call should be answered promptly. Every web contact form needs immediate follow-up.
Lessons from a once thriving company like Toys “R” Us proves competing in today’s changing times is no child’s play. A successful practice is one that never ceases to ask the question, “What more can I do to provide value?” They are always rethinking their business, doing things differently, and innovating to make their practice stand out.
How are you responding to leads?
Request a free lead response assessment. We’ll determine how many leads are either contacted too late or never followed up on so you can understand the impact on your practice’s bottom line. Complete the form below to request your free Capture assessment.