by Gyl Kasewurm, AuD
I’ve been asked many times what is the Secret to Success. One thing I am sure of is “There is No Secret”! It’s just hard work, setting goals and consistently trying to meet them. However, monitoring key elements of success will help make sure a business stays on track.
Here are some suggestions:
Love Your Numbers
I love numbers because numbers tell a story. One quick look at the Key Performance Indicators of my business and I know if the business is moving forward or backwards. This review gives me a quick and accurate portrayal of whether the business is just surviving, or whether it’s thriving.
Unfortunately, most hearing healthcare professionals do not track their numbers and that is an easy way to get into financial trouble. I know everyone has a lot to do but tracking key aspects of profitability is essential for success.
Keeping in mind that you may not have time to track EVERYTHING, I encourage you to at least track your Help Rate.
Your Help Rate is calculated by dividing the number of patients who purchase hearing aids by the total number of patients who were tested and received a recommendation for hearing aids. Industry trends indicate that Help Rate is typically slightly less than 50% for most hearing healthcare providers. That statistic seems startling and frightening. Just imagine how we could impact the world of the hearing impaired, if every provider tried to improve their Help Rate. Not to mention, what improving Help Rate can do for a business.
If you do nothing less, put a sticky note next to your audiometer, and give a check for each person that is a candidate for Help in the form of hearing aids and compare that to the number that actually takes your advice and purchases aids. I am quite sure the results will surprise you!
Just imagine the difference that improving your Help Rate can make in a business not to mention the additional patients you will be helping.
Minimize Returns for Credit
This metric represents the number of hearing aids that were purchased and returned for a refund. However, it may represent much more as it indicates the number of patients that were dissatisfied with the result provided to them or with the way they were treated in the practice.
When a patient returns an aid, dig in and investigate what the problem was so you can take steps to reduce returns in the future.
Get Third Parties to Come to Appointments
Our patients not only need help hearing, most times, they and their families need to learn how to become better communicators. Communication requires two people, not just one.
I know that even though I am an audiologist, I don’t always employ good communication techniques with my hearing impaired husband. I ask him questions from another room and don’t always get his attention before I talk to him.
Asking a patient to bring a significant other or a family member with them to their initial appointment can be the first step in discussing communication strategies. The person scheduling and confirming appointments for new patients or for previous patients coming for a re-evaluation needs to actively solicit the third party by saying something like, “Dr. Kasewurm would like you to bring a person with a familiar voice to your appointment so she can complete her testing.”
Execute Binaural Fittings 99% of the Time when appropriate
We have two ears and processing involves both ears and it’s impossible to understand well in noise without using both ears. Recent survey results reported by industry trade publications indicated that binaural fittings have reached record highs and obviously the better the understanding, the happier the patients.
Convert all calls to Appointments
In today’s world of mass marketing messages, it costs a lot of money to make the phone ring. Just imagine if you are paying hundreds of dollars to get the phone to ring and then the person answering the phone doesn’t convert the call to an appointment!
That lost revenue can really affect profitability. We have improved the call to appointment conversion rate in my practice by hiring a call tracking service that records calls so we can monitor the calls and what is being said. I have found CallSource to be an excellent resource for tracking.
Hope these thoughts are helpful in making sure your business is performing as well as possible. For more ideas, you can follow me at DrGyl.com.
Gyl Kasewurm, AuD, has owned and operated Professional Hearing Services (PHS) in Saint Joseph, Michigan for many years. The practice is known as a benchmark for the patient experience across the country. Dr Kasewurm has a Master’s Degree from Western Michigan University and went on to receive her Doctorate in Audiology from Central Michigan University. Kasewurm served on the Executive Board of the American Academy of Audiology for five years and is a Past President of the Michigan Academy of Audiology. Dr. Kasewurm has earned many awards and honors including a Distinguished Achievement Award from the American Academy of Audiology but is most proud of the Leadership Award that was bestowed upon her by her local Chamber of Commerce. She was also recently honored as a Distinguished Alumnus by the Health and Human Services Department at Western Michigan University, an honor only bestowed on 98 of 17,000 graduates. Dr. Kasewurm is a well-known author and sought after speaker and prides herself on her advice on taking a practice from Fine to Fabulous!