The prophets of doom and gloom have raised their ugly heads again, and are predicting a major recession. Yawn.
The Art Of Management worked with clients throughout the severe “recession” of the early 90’s and saw strong growth by our clients throughout those 5 years. Yet at the same time, most other practitioners suffered losses. From our experience, it is just a matter of having certain basic things in place in order to grow at any time, but in particular during a “recession”.
We gave our clients management and executive training, accompanied by tailored consulting to address the weak areas in their practice. In other words, they learned how to control their own practice’s production at a higher, stable level.
Meanwhile, here are some of factors that you should pay attention to:
1. Quality of care and service
WOW your patients and make their experience in your practice one that they will not forget.
Per the Needham White Paper:
“Consumers are looking for reassurance during recessions. The feeling that risks are great prevent more buying than does actual financial hardship.”
Be sure that your patients are reassured and impressed by the service of your staff and you. This starts with how the phone is answered (a receptionist who sounds like the caller is bothering her or annoying her is not the first impression that you want). It continues through all aspects of the practice and is generally achieved by using good manners or treating others in the way that you yourself want to be treated. Be punctual and show the patient that you value their time.
Work out with your staff how each of them can contribute to making every patient visit something that the patient will talk about favourably to others.
The best, most effective and least expensive promotion is that of word of mouth. This is generated by a very high quality of care and service being provided by you and your staff.
Any promotion that you are doing needs to be maintained, and even strengthened and reinforced. Do not cut back on promotion, as that is the most deadly mistake there is.
Monitor your promotion both with regards to the vehicle being used (i.e. newspaper column, newspaper ad, radio spots, TV ad, fliers, etc.) as well as the content of the messages that are drawing in new business. Survey all new patients concerning what brought them to your practice. You want to strengthen the messages and choose the vehicle producing the best results, but you must have the data in order to make these decisions.
Don’t forget all those patients that you have already provided services to. They trust you and will buy from you again. Contact these patients and get them in for their annual recalls. By continuing to contact your existing patients you keep your name in front of them and they are less likely to go somewhere else.
3. Train your staff
Ensure that your receptionist and any others who deal with the patients know their jobs completely and can answer common questions. They must know how to deal with the common objections, reservations, etc. that patients have and be able to deal with them in an effective and pleasant manner.
During recessions, patients are less likely to spend on discretionary goods. You must be able to establish with your patients that new dentures are not discretionary but are actually a necessity. A friendly smile and their ability to eat comfortably, etc. are necessary for each patient.
4. Don’t Agree
It is too easy to agree with the recession and the fact that you can’t do anything about it. This becomes an excuse not to make your practice grow.
Per Ed McCabe, Founding Partner Scali, McCabe, Sloves:
“Corporate giants got where they are in recession and depressions by making bold moves when their competition was paralyzed by fear and insecurity.”
Be bold and decisive. Make your practice grow.
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