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November 6th, 2017
Medical professionals spend years in study, but as a doctor, your medical education probably didn’t directly prepare you for running a business. Growing a medical practice can be a challenge in a competitive environment, but it’s achievable if you have the right strategy. As we’ll see, getting the right team together and becoming customer-centric can enable your practice to not only grow but thrive.
Before you consider practical strategies to grow your medical practice, have you examined your own beliefs? As the owner, your internal stories, fears, and perceived limitations can hold back your potential, and you might not even be aware of them. Consider any beliefs you have about challenges in your practice. Do you have unconscious beliefs about great people being hard to find? Are you being held back by thinking you have to stay in the inner city and pay high overheads, so that you’re not exploring other options? Do you have a belief that customers can never be satisfied?
Take the first step by realizing these beliefs could be wrong. A willingness to shift away from limiting beliefs means you’re ready to stop them holding you back and start focusing on practical strategies.
To stay competitive, you need to find ways to meet your customer’s requirements better than your competitors. In addition, offering a superior service contributes to goodwill and business value. Explore ways to meet your patient’s needs better, whether it’s offering complementary services in the same building, new technologies, and better communication.
Marketing is essential to growing your medical practice because it allows you to reach more people than before. How you do it is the question, so as the practice owners, you should have a clear vision for your brand. Work with marketing experts to develop a coherent marketing strategy, which should include a strong online presence and local marketing initiatives.
A customer-centric medical practice reflects its appreciation for customers at every stage. From booking an appointment to settling their account, your customer must feel appreciated and pleased with the quality of the service. Make sure staff members, processes, and marketing materials emphasis your customer centricity, and your customers will happily return and refer your practice to others.
Equally important is understanding who your customers are. What do they want and what are their expectations? How do they think you can improve? The best ways to find out more about your customer is to seek feedback. Ask customers to complete a survey after each appoint. Seek feedback at every opportunity, whether it’s with a prompt at the reception desk or during the appointment. Review the feedback you get and adjust and change to continuously improve.
Hire the right people at your practice to support your growth. An effective practice manager, personable and capable medical assistants, and customer-facing staff with excellent people skills can drive growth by providing outstanding service. Your staff should have the right technical skills as well as great people skills to help them develop rapport with patients. Support your team with the right tools and training to help them succeed.
In addition to your practice team, work with advisors who can support your practice strategy. Expert advice on the insurance, accounting, and financial aspects of your practice help you address risks as well as having a solid financial plan for driving growth.
Build a strong online presence so you can easily be found by potential patients. Your online presence will also help you sustain stronger relationships with existing patients, as you can use tools like social media to engage in conversations and share practical tips about health and well-being.
Reputation management is essential so check your reviews regularly. Responding to reviews from unhappy customers can reduce their negative impact. At the same time, encourage happy customers to leave positive reviews.
Look for technology tools to complement your services. For example, offering a patient or appointment portal makes it easy for patients to book or access information as they require. Pre-appointment text confirmations could reduce no-shows. The technology tools you use can enhance the patient experience, making way for a happy patient who’s more likely to recommend your practice to others.
Look for ways to engage with your local community, whether it’s through sponsorships, public talks, workshops, or fundraising events. Participating in local events raises your medical practice’s profile while broadcasting a positive brand image. By getting out there, you and/or your staff can make your practice known to others in the community – people who are most likely to use your services.
Growing your medical practice can take time and a bit of experimentation, but if you take advantage of the tools at your disposal and work with the right people, you can build a customer-centric practice that attracts loyal customers.
MEDIQ Financial provides premium financial intelligence services to medical professionals. To find out more about how our accounting, investment, and financial services can help your practice thrive, explore our website or contact us for a discussion today.