From time to time my wife needs to visit an internist for digestive issues. Suffice to say the level of service and support is poor. In my work with doctors when I see poor customer service as well as poor marketing techniques there is nothing else to depict this other than to call it SAD, an acrostic for stupid ass doctoring. Healthcare and physician practices are a business just like anything else and when doctors do a poor job with patient acquisition and retention its their fault. The practice exists for one thing – patients. And, when there was a disassociation of patients to profitability the practice will fail. Here are 5 SAD issues with some healthcare practices.
- All the Money in the World Can’t Overcome Bad Advertising - Just the other day I was watching television and a pain management company stated that they were now accepting new patients. This type of advertising for any doctor, dentist or even chiropractor is exceedingly poor. Doctors should always be accepting new patients. Secondly, stop talking in terms of what is best for your practice but what is in the best interest of the patient. In other words how does your practice help the patient get through their current issue?
- Stop them at Hello – The most daunting thing about certain medical practices is about how poor the customer service is. When nurses and receptionists cannot answer a phone call with a smile will not greet patients upon entry conversationally then all they are doing is negatively impacting the business. If you really want to retain your patients, service with a smile.
- If you ain’t busy marketing you ain’t busy – Many doctors today are cash poor because they are not focusing on the most vital asset of their business-marketing. When you have no clients you have no cash, and when you have no cash you lack complete confidence. Unfortunately marketing is never taught in any medical program; however, it must be done. If you are not busy building business then you will never be busy building revenue.
- Dear Lord stop the prescriptions and think about patients - If you think that marketing is a problem, then you really need to look at your marketing messages. One of the saddest principles about marketing today is that medicos do a very poor job at marketing to the demographic. Most doctors spend most times prescribing things rather than dealing with the results and benefits to the patient. If you really want to capture more patients then you will stop talking about features, and start talking about the value and benefits you provide to your prospective patient.
- When you don’t care neither do they - I mentioned my wife earlier in this article. She has been waiting for her physician to get back with her about a prescription because she cannot sleep at night. Another doctor called this internist 4 times and both my wife and the other doctor have never received a reply. Worse yet, he is out of the country for the next 7 weeks! The thing about stupid assed doctors is that if they don’t care why should anyone else. Therefore, if you want to see a SAD practice, then take a look at the staff. If the doctor doesn’t care, neither will they.
- Know Thy Patient – Many doctors typically utilize bromide tactics in order to convey marketing messages to prospective patients. However, if you don’t understand your demographic then you will never understand how to drive the emotion that will attract them to you. I know one healthcare practice that utilizes Internet marketing to the senior community whose population very rarely if ever uses the Internet. Rather than making assumptions it is always best to walk the path of your prospective patients so that you can understand how to appeal to.
- Know Thy Schedule – Early on in medical school one learns that you are to conduct no unjust harm to the patient. You typically find that many doctors are implicitly rude to patients. I know one healthcare practice that always books appointments just after rounds and 90% of the time the physicians are over 90 minutes late with appointments. Who does the booking a pair of monkeys? Patients have choices and when your business choices are not centered around patient services then your patients will be serviced by someone else.
© 2012. Drew Stevens PhD, all rights reserved.