Webster’s dictionary describes a commodity as a class of economic goods; especially an item of merchandise (such as soybeans) whose price is the basis for future trading. If you want your clinic to grow, and to get more and better patients, you need to break free of the commodity trap!
We live in a world where your patients have more options than ever before! The fact is that patients are loyal to doctors and not to practices. However, if the only thing that separates you from your competitors is price then you have become a commodity. Your value has been reduced to the lowest common denominator — cash! You will only get more and better patients if you provide value well beyond a price-point.
As you read this, think back to when you initially opened your doors. Did you intend to open a practice that was only distinguishable by the prices you charge for the services you provide? A clinic where the only discernible difference between you and your competitors is that the decor and color of the scrubs you wear?
As you read further, you will see many examples of things you can easily do to connect more fully with your patients. In so doing, you will also gain greater insight of your patient’s needs while reaching them!
First and foremost, to attain the success you desire, you must take personal responsibility for your promotional efforts. You may not be well-versed in marketing and advertising, but you need to align yourself with someone who is. Your clinic’s survival literally depends on it!
Additionally, according to the Harvard Business Review, it is up to 25% more expensive to acquire a new patient than to retain existing patients. Further, Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company states that increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25%-95%. So the motto of the story is, you don’t have to spend time and resources to get new patients, you just have to make the ones you have happy.
Jill Avery (lecturer at Harvard business school) states that “churn rates’ provide important and measurable matrices. This matrix is important because it focuses directly on the lifetime value of a patient and your return on investment. It’s not just marketers who look at churn, many investors use the metric to evaluate the underlying health of a firm. The higher the churn rate, the more they question the companies viability. Therefore, it’s not just understanding that patients leave, it’s about understanding why they leave. Then, you must make a concerted effort to make sure that the rest of your patients don’t follow suit!”
If you have never considered the value, over a lifetime, of each patient you are in for an eye-full! The lifetime value a patient represents is an easily calculated formula. You simply calculate the amount of revenue you receive from a patient each time they visit. You would then multiply that figure by the number of times per year they visit. Finally, you would multiply that amount by the average number of years that you retain your patients. As I’m sure you can see, each patient represents a significant amount of revenue to you.
You will also notice that losing patients means that you are handing over thousands of dollars to your competitors. This is not to say that you can’t be discriminating. There is no reason not to exclusively work with your favorite patients. You simply have to be more astute with your promotion and content. You may even wish to explore strategic affiliations to increase the numbers of desirable patients.
You should now do some calculations to fine-tune and identify more and better patients. You need to evaluate the quality of your current patients. Essentially, you need to determine which patients represent the 20% that provides you with 80% of your annual revenue. Once you establish this number, you then figure out what their primary concerns are. For example, if these patients represent chronic migraines, and you would then target your marketing for that specific ailment.
Stay very close to your patients, so you know their exact needs, today and tomorrow. Your aim is to be irreplaceable as their healthcare provider. Continue reading 10 Proven Business Techniques For More And Better Patients