A few years ago, I took my husband to three Costco’s and one Sam’s Club and watched while he was tested and fit with hearing aids. After that experience, I was more certain than ever that not everyone wants the low cost option of Costco and some people would prefer and will pay for a unique and customized experience. When everyone is getting into the business of hearing aids, the patient experience has indeed become the competitive battleground in hearing healthcare and this is one battle that we can WIN!
Do you demo the benefits of better hearing to EVERY patient?
How about having an Experience Room for patients where they can experience the benefits of better hearing in various real world environments. My vision includes an experience room that rivals the Disney Experience. Patients who have lived with the gradual onset of hearing loss may have a difficult time understanding what it will be like to hear well again. Demonstrating the actual benefits of improved hearing can be a very effective way to convince a patient to do something about their problem. In fact, including multi-media environments can be a possible way of actually evaluating a patient’s potential performance in the real world.
Office décor is also an important part of the patient experience.
“Shabby Chic” shouldn’t be a term that patients use to describe one of our offices. While funds may not be available to cover the cost of redecorating, the waiting room should look warm and inviting. Simple, inexpensive changes like a fresh coat of paint, especially in a warm color, can brighten an office and give it a “fresh” look.
Since many of our patients are elderly, plenty of parking spaces should be available and as close to the front door as possible. Try it yourself and see what it’s like for patient’s to actually get into the office from your parking lot. I make certain that employees don’t take the closest parking spaces.
Have every creature comfort possible – comfortable furniture that patients can easily get out of, books about your community, and have assistive devices hooked up and ready to demonstrate. Patients love treats such as flavored coffees, bottled water, popcorn, and freshly baked cookies or pastries.
Never minimize the importance of a good and friendly receptionist as he or she can make or break a relationship with a patient. Patients should be greeted by name within seconds of arriving.
Waiting is not conducive to a good patient experience.
When a patient does have to wait, inform them of the anticipated wait time and give the option of rescheduling. I’ve found that patients usually don’t mind waiting for a professional they like and trust but being uninformed of the length of the delay can make a patient anxious and uneasy.
We have LOTS of hurdles to overcome these days in hearing healthcare. Focusing on the Patient Experience can be a fun and easy way to separate yourself from the competition.
I share additional information, resources, and tools that I use in my practice in the Sapphire Society membership area. I’d love to help you grow your practice. Join the Sapphire Society today!