An insight into your brand in a competitive 2021 marketplace
What is your patient’s experience with your brand? Does it give them confidence in your clinical services and will they choose you over your competitors?
There are a number of different touch points on the patient journey before they even see the clinician, and these are all influencing factors over whether they decide to choose to use your service.
Medical practices have undergone significant changes during 2020 in response to COVID 19, so it’s important to check on what your patient is experiencing.
Current marketplace data
Current marketplace data highlights that more and more potential patients are either doctor shopping, shopping on price, or wanting to find out more about the doctor they are visiting. Due to an abundance of online resources and increased expectations, patients are now able to make more informed decisions about their health.
“COULD YOU BE LOSING POTENTIAL PATIENTS?”
Your online presence
The first thing most potential patients are going to do is to ‘Google’ you. If you don’t have a solid online presence with a modern, professional website and a Google listing, then they tend to believe you are not credible and out of date with modern practice. Although this might be an unrealistic assumption, it is nevertheless what market research data tells us is occurring. Think of your website as today’s version of a business card. It can also be a 24-hour shopfront with the ability to have patients make appointments at any time of the day, 365 days a year. For GP practices and some specialist practices this is a fantastic, cost saving resource.
Have you checked your Google reviews? They can be a true insight into your patient’s experience with your practice and shouldn’t be ignored, and most importantly have you responded to the comments?
All reviews should be responded to, whether positive or negative as it shows that you are invested and interested. It’s important not to breach privacy so if the reviewer is giving out information that could compromise themselves, please respond asking them to call the practice to discuss and respectfully ask they remove the review to protect their privacy.
Mystery shopping programs are the perfect tool to test your patient experience and check how you compare to your competitors.
First contact with your practice
The next step for potential patients can be to call your practice. This is where there is enormous opportunity to really stand out from your competitors and start building a relationship with a potential patient.
Most mystery shops tend to deliver similar results. The call is usually answered promptly. For the times when it isn’t, this really makes a practice stand out badly when compared to their competitors.
What happens when your patient is put on hold?
Many mystery shops have had us experience elevator music rather than informative on hold messages that can tell us more about the practice. This is a real lost opportunity for an effective resource to convey important information. On hold messaging should be making your patient feel valued, letting them know they will be attended to shortly, key aspects of the practice and any update of services as well as mandatory messages regarding medical emergencies.
Your reception staff are your sales team
Although this may feel uncomfortable, in today’s medical businesses an essential part of your reception’s role is to be your sales team.
In most mystery shops when we speak to one of the practice team and explain what we want to know, the responses are often similar. The ‘fall back’ position is to provide just the bare minimum. This includes stating the costs, how much can be claimed from Medicare and when the next available appointment is. Although we always make it obvious that we are open to being persuaded to make this the practice of choice, it is rare for the receptionist to say anything that endorses the doctors outside of the basics of what they do. It is also seldom that there is reassurance about the doctor’s experience or how well they are regarded and respected by patients.
On the rare occasion that a reception gets involved with our caller, it immediately highlights the positive image of the practice. For a real caller, your receptionist’s call answering ability will make a significant difference as to how they view the practice as a whole and by implication, the care that they can expect to be provided by the doctor.
The sweetest sound in the world…
Dale Carnegie, renowned author of ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ tells us that the sweetest sound in the world is….
“A PERSON’S NAME”
The simple act of asking a persons name and using it in the conversation will really make your practice stand out from your competitors. It is a delight when we are referred to by our name and demonstrates that the receptionist has interest in us as a human being. Using someone’s name is very powerful as it moves the conversation away from being transactional in nature.
Data, Data, Data
Practices that ask our mystery caller for contact details are a rarity and invariably those in a competitive speciality. They are also usually those that are already experiencing good levels of success.
Why data capture? If someone is shopping around, they may not be ready to commit right away. By capturing their details, you can then continue to communicate by providing useful information via email or other communication pieces which may be just the touchpoint to use your service. Having your team take the time to follow them up in a positive, respectful manner will show a sense of caring and going the extra mile – again giving an insight into the type of service and treatment they can expect to receive at your practice.