Hiring & Firing – Who needs it?

I have seen several posts recently questioning when to hire an employee and what the pay and benefit package should be. The answers from colleagues have been interesting and very diverse. This prompted me to do some investigation.

It’s OK to be generous, but it’s important that the pay is appropriate for the position. There are many resources on the web but some of them lead to sites that want you to hire them to be your employee manager or to post jobs. The most unbiased and independent site I have found is the Occupational Outlook Handbook – Bureau of Labor Statistics https://www.bls.gov/ooh/. It gives the average wage for every occupation and can be sorted by geographical location.


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How much did you say it cost?!!

 

According to industry statistics, less than 30% of people that need hearing aids actually purchase them and if you believe what you hear or read on social media, it’s all about the money.  OTCs, TPAs, Big Box retail must also believe that money is the biggest objection because they certainly have impacted the market by appealing to consumers who are concerned about price.

If you recommend hearing aids, you have heard a patient object to the cost of hearing healthcare. To me, the real question when a patient presents the price objection is whether the patient doesn’t have the money, doesn’t want to spend the money or doesn’t feel the hearing aids are worth the money. The only way to uncover the answer is to ask questions.  Regardless of the stated objection, in the majority of cases, money is at least part of the issue.


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What did your attitude cost you this week?

It was a tough week at PHS.  Business has been a bit slower and we are working hard at trying to figure out why and then on top of this stress, I had a couple of long time patients call me to complain.  I consider the complaints a BIG problem as I have always heard that only about 4% of patients who are unhappy will actually take the time to complain. I’ve always prided myself on our exceptional customer service so the complaints really disturbed me and I had to spend some time getting to the core of the problems.

As a result of these issues, I will admit that I was distracted and my focus was not always on my patients. What does all this chaos add up to?  Bad Business!!  Patients can sense unrest a mile away. Everyone has bad days and no one would expect anything different but patients also want and deserve our full attention.

When I sat back to consider the turmoil and what it cost me emotionally this week, I had to wonder the effect it had on my business. I’m sure there were times I didn’t take the time to demonstrate new technology because I was distracted and I’m sure I wasn’t always “nice”. Certainly employees also suffer when there is chaos and the unrest can’t help but affect our personal lives.

Have you ever thought about what chaos like this or fatigue may be costing your business?  I can literally set the tone for the day

 

by just the way I enter the business.  If I stomp into my practice and growl “Good Morning” to the staff everyone knows it’s not going to be a Good Day.  When I am unhappy, no one is happy. It’s hard for me to actually believe that I have that type of power but I do. And when I am unhappy because of complaints or whatever, I tend to find more mistakes that my staff

may be making.  Not a good scenario.  Yes, we had some complaints but pointing out EVERYTHING the employees did wrong is not the best way to improve the situation.

It’s difficult to maintain a positive attitude when you are trying to run a successful practice and also seeing patients, not to mention the demands of our personal lives. BUT it’s crucial to find a way to keep things in perspective. In my case, I should have spent more time investigating exactly what was involved in the complaints and what may have gone wrong and then I should have taken the time to put a specific plan and training program in place to make sure the mistakes didn’t reoccur.

It’s a BIG and a tough job dealing with patients and running a business. So the next time problems occur, take a big breath, go for a walk, and then spend some time outlining a specific plan on how to fix the issues.   You and your business will perform better for it.

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HELP! It’s the Best Strategy

Helping our patients hear better is one of the most important things we do as hearing healthcare providers. Since the majority of patients that have hearing loss have sensory loss, we often have to convince patients to spend money to get the Help they need.  The first step is to start tracking how well we accomplish that task.

The first step in tracking is to determine your definition of a candidate and then stick by that definition for every patient.  For instance, one definition of candidacy may be any patient that has thresholds more than 25dB at two or more frequencies.  Another may be any patient that has hearing aids that are more than four years old.  Or perhaps, a patient is a candidate if they have a conductive loss and have decided not to pursue surgical options.  There are many possible definitions.  The most important part is that you create a definition and don’t deviate from it.

After you have created the definition, tracking is simple –  Your Help Rate is determined by comparing the number of patients that are candidates versus the number that you convince to get Help in the form of hearing aids.  I will caution you not to include patients that are getting Free hearing aids as you really don’t have to convince them to do anything and including patients getting aids for free will skew the Help Rate to make you think you are convincing more patients than you actually are.

I am sad to report that less than 50% Help rate is standard in this industry. We have a goal of 80% Help Rate  in my practice.  The most important part of tracking is that it provides a metric for how well we are actually doing our jobs of convincing patients to get Help for a problem.

Start today – Track your Help Rate and then set a goal to improve it.  You will be amazed how improving your Help Rate can have a positive impact on business!

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