I am often asked, “What’s the key to success?” Being a top notch professional always comes first, but running a close second is having a key employee who is friendly, efficient and capable of performing a multitude of duties in the practice. Most practices employ at least one person in addition to the owner and in a busy practice this employee becomes a key component of the success of the practice.
While duties may vary by practice setting, there is no doubt that this employee is a key component of a successful practice. This key person may hold the title of receptionist but regardless of the title, the role remains the same: to develop good patient relationships, generate leads from current patients, and to ensure that the office runs smoothly on a daily basis. Having a key employee should allow an owner or manager to spend more time doing what he or she does best, which is providing exceptional patient care and generating sufficient revenue to make the practice profitable.
One very important task for a key employee is to squeeze every productive moment out of the schedule. Let the employee know your expectations for scheduling and help them understand the need to confirm appointments at least 24 hours in advance, preferably 48 hours, and then to make every effort to fill last minute cancellations. Every open appointment time is a loss of potential revenue. An employee who can skillfully juggle the busy schedule of a productive office is a valuable asset. However, some employees fail to hustle to fill vacancies because they don’t see it as a priority and actually may think you really enjoy the free time.
The way your phone is answered may not be something you give a lot of thought or attention to, but it can have a tremendous impact on the business. Ever been caught in the seemingly endless loop of an automated system? Press 1 for this and 2 for this and 12 for…. Imagine using such a system when you have difficulty hearing! A telephone call is often the first impression a potential patient has of you and your organization. Sure, they might be familiar with your name, have driven by your office, or visited your website but a phone call is typically the first real interaction a potential patient has with their hearing healthcare professional. Whether this experience is warm, positive, and memorable is highly dependent upon the individual who answers the phone in the practice. The right person can make all the difference in the world, while the wrong person can drive potential patients away forever.
A key employee can assist with marketing, handling your personal schedule, ordering supplies, checking on orders, and many other functions that will allow you to spend more quality time with your patients. If you are wondering what an average wage is for a key employee, check the latest Occupational Outlook Handbook http://www.bls.gov/ooh/ to learn what a typical pay scale is for your particular state. Talented key employees can more than pay for themselves through their contribution to the growth and success of a practice. The key employee can also serve as a patient recall specialist by going through the records and recalling patients who haven’t been in for a re-evaluation and may be candidates for new hearing technology. Compensation may include bonuses for getting patients you have lost touch with back into the practice.
There is no one answer when someone asks what the key is to a successful practice, but certainly having an employee you can count on is a good first step.