We all do it.
We get caught up with the big projects and the bigger deadlines – our everyday business that causes some of the smaller things to fall through the cracks.
Years ago someone came up with the slogan “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”; books and seminars based on this philosophy are prevalent and in many cases valid. However, as a business owner, if you are not paying attention to the small stuff, big numbers could be falling off your bottom line.
Why the Small Stuff Can Be a Very Big Deal
As a hearing care primary provider, your job is to sweat the big stuff – learning about the latest and greatest technology, making sure payroll and bills are paid, and of course seeing patients (many times back to back without a break).
But if you aren’t “sweating the small stuff”, your staff might be falling into little bad habits that result in unhappy, disgruntled patients.
No matter how hard you work on the big picture, it can be the little things that can either turn your prospects in to loyal patients – or send them running to your competitor.
If you are a single provider in a small office, you might not have the time to make sure the person answering your phones is always answering them in a way that promotes your business.
Sometimes it’s the smallest things, such as basic manners (yes, saying please and thank you does make a difference) that can slowly cause your business to drift away.
Put Yourself in Your Patient’s Shoes
Do at least a quarterly review of how a patient enters and is treated at your practice. Remember, first impressions make a big impact.
Ask yourself how it would sound calling your practice.
Pretend you are a person who has waited 7 years, knowing you need help with your hearing. You have finally reached out to get help with this sensitive issue, your hearing. You finally decide to pick up the phone and call for hearing help.
Is the phone answered by the third ring?
(Telling you that the staff is there and wants to help you.)
Are you treated politely on the phone? Using a clear, loud, friendly voice?
(If not, why would you come into the office if the person answering the phone can’t even hear you? Or treats you less than friendly? After all, this is a huge step you are making by picking up the phone. )
There is another call coming in, does your phone staff ask:
“May I please place you on hold?”
Or does he/she say “One minute” and hit the hold button?
If your receptionist is just “sticking you on hold”, you are left to figure out what is going on. By the time your receptionist gets back on the phone to answer their question, you may be frustrated and questioning whether you called the right place (if you haven’t hung up already).
Or does an answering machine or service greet you? After the phone has wrung multiple times, are you asked to leave a message with someone who isn’t trained on communicating with the hearing impaired?
And if you do reach a staff member, does he/she have the tools and empowerment to book an appointment immediately? Or are you told that the staff member needs to check and call you back later at your (in) convenience?
You may be surprised if you listened to your business’ phone calls for just one day. Most likely you will find that you have many more leads than you realize.
If no one is “sweating the small stuff,” many of your leads will not turn into appointments.
Are you utilizing call tracking? If not, to make matters worse, your prospects names, addresses’ and phone numbers are not getting captured so you aren’t even aware that they called AND you are not able to market to them in the future.
So what can you do about this situation?
If you are feeling in over your head with the big stuff and don’t have time to “sweat the small stuff”?
Never fear. There are many technological and marketing solutions that will allow you to record your incoming calls so that you can monitor them and provide your staff with feedback.
Or you can use a company, like Beeman Marketing, that will provide the call coaching and tracking for you.
At the very least, take an hour or two to be a bystander in your practice. Look at your practice through your patient’s eyes. Even if you are not going to sweat it, pay attention to the small stuff because it truly will contribute to your bottom line one way or another.