Colleagues ask me what I feel is the most important element for business success and it doesn’t take me long to answer – Track, Track, Track. As a business owner, I have become a numbers fanatic. Key metrics tell the story of the health of the business.
I have found that looking at data is critical for making quick decisions. I recently made a bad decision to lower prices because of my fear of losing patients to third party payers. That decision cost me tens of thousands of dollars in a short period of time. I know every business owner has a lot to do but tracking key performance indicators of profitability is critical to success!
So what are the most important numbers to track?
I know I sound like a broken record, but if there is one place to start, it’s to track what I call your Help Rate. This ratio is determined by dividing the number of patients who purchased hearing aids by the total number of patients who were tested and needed hearing aids. Industry trends indicate that the typical Help Rate of a professional is less than 50%. While colleagues report that they help 90% or more of the patients they see, industry statistics don’t support anything close to that number. If you really want to improve profitability, start tracking your Help Rate and then commit to improving it.
Another important statistic to track is return for credit and that number should include aids put out on trial that aren’t purchased. The return for credit rate also reflects the number of patients that were dissatisfied with the result provided to them or with the way they were treated. When a patient returns something, dig in and investigate what the problem was so you can take steps to reduce returns in the future.
How many times have you heard a patient say, “I need to talk with my spouse or my kids before I make such a large purchase.” Come on, don’t you think their loved ones know they have a loss and would be supportive of intervention? Eliminate this objection by asking the new patient or the current patient coming for a reevaluation by insisting that they bring someone with them to the appointment. Hearing loss affects communication and effective communication requires more than one person. It’s critical that the loved ones of the person with hearing loss understand the impact of hearing loss and what steps they will need to take to help the patient gain the most from their hearing aids. It is also difficult to help a person who comes to the appointment alone and denies that they have a problem. The employee that is scheduling and confirming appointments for evaluations 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.”
Numbers tell the story of whether a business is growing or dying. Tracking key performance indicators of profitability is a simple and effective way to determine the difference.