You work hard every day to ensure your practice runs efficiently, your patients are happy and your business is thriving. Financial stability is key to your long term success. Rather than discussing how-to’s on marketing more effectively or how to retain and acquire patients in order to accomplish this, how about a little advice on ways you can actually save money, which is almost as important.
Anything you can do to cut costs by improving office efficiency is worth taking the time to look at and consider implementing, as poor practice management has a ripple effect among staff, provider, patients and your practice’s long-term success.
Here are 5 practice saving tips that can have a significant impact on your bottom line:
1. Create and stick to a budget- Sitting down to hash out a budget is a good opportunity to see where time, money and other resources are being maximized as well as wasted. If you haven’t taken a good look at the areas suggested below, and aren’t implementing them into your current budget, it may take a year or two to see a reflection of an overall savings.
2. Eliminate overtime- If you regularly have employees who are working overtime, it is likely that poor organization skills and/or job performance are the culprits. Evaluate the reasons staff members end up needing to stay past normal office hours. Come up with solutions on how you can work together as a team better in order that you can all get out of there on time! Reassign duties and responsibilities if necessary.
As technology continues to advance, creative minds seem to be ever more creative in dreaming up new products and services to help businesses and practices today to operate and succeed at a higher level than they have were before. But an innovative idea doesn’t always translate into a successful, thriving business. Hands down, exceptional customer service is a critical factor to keeping your doors open long term. Here are a few more examples from satisfied customers as to why we have been in business for over 15 years and are still leading the industry in patient relationship management:
I’m Tyrone from Campbell Medical Clinic and I deal with the marketing side of our business. I am emailing you in order to praise Alyssa on such superb customer service! She was so courteous and patient with all of my questions and I really appreciated the accurate, step-by-step guidance she gave me when navigating through your website.
Alyssa even went above and beyond, linking the sites we needed to be linked on our survey and calling us back upon completion. She did it so swiftly, that I wasn’t expecting to hear back from her so soon! If Alyssa represents what Solutionreach is all about, then I can speak from all of us at Campbell Medical Clinic when I say, “We chose the right company to service our patient management needs!”
Thank you for a job well done!
There is always room to improve your bottom line. Fortunately, there are so many new ways to achieve this in our digital era. Whether you own a new practice or an established one, everyone could use a little help brushing up on their marketing skills. With technology evolving at a rapid pace, it is important to evaluate your current marketing strategies every quarter to be sure you are keeping your practice relevant.
Here are five questions to help you evaluate your current marketing strategies:
1. What is working and what is not? Taking the time to reflect on your practice’s current pros and cons is the ideal way to get the ball rolling. Once you have a firm understanding of the office’s strengths and weaknesses you can move forward with ideas to improve.
2. How can you improve your current standing? Now that you have examined the current state of your practice, it is time to set a plan for improvement into place. Meet with your staff and partners and create a detailed business strategy for each quarter. Include various goals and benchmarks you would like to meet and consider the methods by which you may achieve them. For example, if a weakness of the practice is missed appointments, set a goal to cut missed appointments in half by implementing an automated appointment reminder service.
How well does your community know you and your practice staff?
Would you like to be the practice people are talking about or the name people give to friends and family who ask for a referral for a good dentist in town?
Here’s an idea of how to get your practice to be the talk of the town– take your practice on the road!
Today’s Marketing Monday suggests visiting a local school and giving kids something from your practice that they can enjoy, but that they can also bring home to their parents. Here are some ideas:
This small act will give you the opportunity to show the people in your community the difference between your practice and the other local providers in town. Make sure when they come in, they feel comfortable and welcome and you may just find yourself winning over many new clients! Try something new! You may have an even better idea–think big–but if you want your community to know you, it might be a good idea to get out and get to know those in your community.
“Solutionreach saved our office a full time employee salary! She never took off ill, never was in a bad mood, never took unscheduled vacation… What else could I tell you?”
- Sherran Bard, Office Manager
Dr. Michael Reece, DDS
“With Solutionreach, we are able to communicate with 95% of our patients instantly with ease and accuracy. Solutionreach has paid for itself many times over with the increase in patient retention and significant decrease in wasted marketing dollars. Solutionreach is on my ‘Most Highly Recommended’ list.”
- Dr. Andy Doerfler, DDS
Patients LOVE it! With Solutionreach our patients can tailor how they wish to be connected with our office. They already knew that we were cutting edge, but they feel we have taken it to the next level with Solutionreach. Way to go Solutionreach!”
- Dr. Roger Macias, San Antonio, Texas
Our recall patients have increased from 80 a month, back when we were manually calling patients, up to 125 a month [64% increase] with no phone calls from us. This frees up time for the front office to work on other things.”
- Ryan Campbell, Regional Office Manager
We have been using Solutionreach for over 5 years. This has been the best marketing tool we have ever used. Considering our practice has tried all of them in the last 25 year, I would not be without Solutionreach!
- Dr. Paul Taxin
Ensuring your practices’ success is what we are all about. To take your practice to the next level or to make sure you are taking full advantage of all our platform has to offer, take a demo or reach out to revolutionary customer support for maximum results!
We’ve talked before about the importance of communicating with potential and existing patients. In fact, we’ve even discussed the many tools Solutionreach offers to make this easier. However, we have yet to thoroughly discuss the benefits of mapping.
Google Places helps new patients find and connect with your practice. According to Google, 97% of consumers search for local businesses online, so a Google Places Page can help boost your regional presence online.
Solutionreach service complements the Google Local Listing capability and takes your marketing efforts to the next level by helping you create and manage images, videos, reviews and keyword optimization.
“Maps” is the Solutionreach feature that allows you to detect exactly where your patients are coming from. For example, let’s assume your marketing efforts paid off and you receive an influx of 30 new patients this month. Maps allows you to see where those new patients are coming from.
How does this benefit your practice? Well, let’s say you find that the majority of those new patients are hailing from the same neighborhood. This is incredibly valuable marketing insight because it allows you target your potential patient-base even better. You can create local deals for that area or simply appeal to their specific needs. On the contrary, it also can give you insight into which areas could use more attention. Essentially, mapping is like high-tech marketing research to allow you to turn a good thing into something even better, and reevaluate your past tactics in areas that are lacking.
Even when you are running behind schedule, the waiting room experience for your patients doesn’t have to be boring and unproductive.
A typical patient’s visit to your office might look like this: 20 minutes of “wait time” and about 10 minutes of actual one-on-one time with you as their provider. Although this may be a confirmed statistic, that doesn’t have to translate into inadequate patient care. Due to consistent innovations in technology, you now have the ability to provide patient care even before sitting down face-to-face with them.
With the multitude of advances in technology, including the ability for you to connect with your patients through mobile devices, there is little excuse for failing to keep your patients engaged with your practice and their health, both in between their regular care appointments as well as during their scheduled visit (including during their “wait time”.) All you need do is to make sure you are utilizing the tools available to do so.
How up-to-date is your office?
Research shows that 1 in 5 patients use their mobile devices to research information related to the reason for their visit, while waiting to see their provider. And of those patients, 82% felt better prepared and had a better understanding of their condition before meeting with their provider which in turn could lead to a heightened awareness and better attention to their health after they leave your office.
How then can you engage your patients while they wait?
Today, practices are implementing the use of Tablets during their check-in process which, provides a powerful method for collecting and providing critical information for their patients. Refusing to be intimidated by technology and instead embracing its capabilities can result in benefits that will transform your practice and turn even long wait times into productive, positive experiences for your patients.
What are some of the features and benefits that are available to patient and provider with the use of a “waiting room” tablet?
All of these tools improve your patient’s overall experience, which typically translates into referrals and a growing practice. Happy and satisfied patients share the value they feel as your patient with others because you took the time to connect in ways that are meaningful, effective, and much more personal.
Some practices have a difficult time embracing technology and all it has to offer as it can seem intimidating and less personal, however, those that recognize that if you aren’t keeping up with the way your patients are connecting every day, they will likely find a provider that will. These are the practices that will experience long term success and loyal lifetime patients. Result? A healthy, thriving practice.
Unproductive waiting rooms are a thing of the past.
While you might not have heard the term “SEO” three years ago, it’s one of the most critical elements of marketing your practice in 2015. More importantly, improving your SEO is also tantamount to connecting patients with their providers (aka: you.)
There are things people see when they find you online (like the words and graphics on your website,) and then there are the elements that lurk behind the scenes; critical components to optimizing the success of your Web space.
Understanding the basics of effective website SEO doesn’t need to be difficult, with the right information on your side.
The most important thing to know:
Just having a website doesn’t mean that anyone is ever going to see it.
Before evaluating common mistakes, it’s important to understand how people can get to your site in the first place.
Inbound Links: When another website links to your website, browsers can click and be directed–either within the same tab, or a new tab that opens up–to you.
Intentional Arrival: If someone knows the URL (the online address that shows up in the bar at the top of the page) to your website, they can type it in directly. For example, if you knew you wanted to view the Practice Solutions blog, you could type in http://www.solutionreach.com/COMPANY/Blog, and it would direct you here.
Organic Search: This is the elusive element. When someone lands on your page because they typed words into the search bar, (i.e. doctor in Park City, UT,) it is considered an “organic” arrival. In this case, the search engine has evaluated the search term and determined that there is a match between what they are looking for and what your website provides.
So how does the search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) decide whether or not your website fits the bill for the prospective visitor? This is where it gets tricky. The engines use “spiders” to “crawl” the web, investigating each page and forming opinions. Every year, understanding how to convince Google becomes more difficult because the Search Engine Giant just keeps getting smarter. They don’t tell us exactly what algorithms they are using.
However, there are a few SEO mistakes that we know will absolutely work to your detriment. Rather than trying to trick the system, start by doing your best not to be your own worst enemy with these mistakes:
One of the biggest challenges facing new clinics–or established clinics, for that matter–is often retaining patients after the initial appointment. While a patient tends to be loyal to a practitioner they have been seeing for years, it’s more difficult to get brand new patients on the bandwagon enough that you can use them as a beneficial tool for referrals, reviews, or even just return appointments.
There are a few things clinics are doing differently to retain patients, so I’ve created a small list of things you can begin adopting to get on the right track.
Collect Patient Feedback
Not to beat a dead horse, but let me tell you again: Clinics of every vertical should be asking patients for feedback at every opportunity. This gives your practice staff very clear direction about what they can do differently to improve the level of service patient experience they provide. The most important factor is offering quality care, and a quick survey to new patients is a powerful tool for understanding how you are doing. Some practices choose to ask 3-5 questions before the patient leaves the practice, but the best practice for surveys is to let the patient know a survey will be coming and immediately send one to them via email. Beyond just giving you direction, you automatically let your patients know that you value them–another great retention tool.
Implement a New Patient Follow-Up Plan
Immediately following up with new patients is always a smart idea. You can use your automated service to send a special “New Patient Survey”, or elect to take the time to reach out personally. Keep in mind that patients are more and more receptive to digital communication, so cater to these preferences by considering emails and texts in the place of calls and voicemails. New patient follow-up helps to build faster and stronger patient relationships, building loyalty and increasing retention.
Whether you put images into Facebook albums or onto Pinterest boards, pictures are an absolute must for social media campaigns!
Remember: social media is free practice marketing. More importantly, it’s effective practice marketing when done correctly. It can easily facilitate patient engagement, satisfaction and loyalty - all of which encourage patient retention, patient referrals, patient acquisition, and patient recall/recare. Take the time to do it right!
The “bounce rate” is how many people leave your site immediately without clicking around; the lower the number, the better. Including pictures on your site will drastically lower your bounce rate.
Reason #1: People Love Pictures Even when the image has nothing to do with their needs!
Posting pictures that depict products, services or medications that you offer is a great way to generate click-through traffic from browsers that are interested in the content you are posting about.
The thing to recognize is that people are drawn to pictures whether or not the subject pertains to them. Photos on your Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, personal website or blog will draw a significant amount of traffic to your space on the web, even if the browser isn’t looking for that service/product/etc., merely because people like pictures.
Viewing pictures is a mindless act that requires no effort, so while patients and prospective patients might not skim through all of the marketing text you’ve drafted so carefully, they will scroll through your photo albums.