What's a patient worth to your practice?

Most businesses exist to make money.  We've all heard the phrase "maximize profits and keep costs low." Among many factors, one of the major ways to build a successful and profitable medical practice is to reduce patient acquisition costs through a variety of patient retention techniques.

With that said, keep the following in mind: for an average company, it costs five times as much to obtain a new customer than to retain a current one. It can reach up to sixteen times as much to turn a new customer into one as profitable as a lost customer.   And that can be directly applied to most medical practices, especially ones that focuses on cosmetic services or charge fee for service.  Gone are the days when physicians could expect people to patiently sit for over an hour in the dull, dark waiting room with old boring magazines to read and then expect them to be grateful to even be seen.  Most of our patients are frustrated if they can't be seen within a day or two and will not tolerate waiting beyond 10 minutes in the waiting room.  And I don't blame them.  They are paying a lot of money for their treatments and are busy themselves.  Plus if we can't accomidate them, then usually there are at least 5 other physicians in the area who can do their Botox that same week.

What's a practice to do?  Treat the patient more like a customer and understand your practice through their eyes.   According to Marc Mertz  with The Horizon Group, a national health care consulting company, most patients base their level of satisfaction on two things: the front office staff and the office itself.  Can that be true?  You mean they don't seek out the best physician through hell and high water?  Actually patients tend to judge your clinic by the things that you likely take for granted.  And no matter how skilled you are as the doctor or where you went to medical school, they key in on a rude receptionist or the paint chipping from an exam room wall.  In fact, according to a survey of family practice patients, the front-office staff, ambiance of the practice facility, clinical support staff, and then physicians were ranked in order of importance as factors influencing patient satisfaction.

This is very important information and if you were suprised by it, then it was even more important for you!  Physicians tend to focus on their clinical expertise and think that staying abreast in their field is enough to guarentee a happy patient population.  And while that may be true in some fields, that is not the case in the field of elective cosmetic procedures.  So how do we adapt to this information?  One sure way to fail is to ignore it.  But offices who succeed tend to take it in, learn from it, and actually implement the changes necessary to keep their patients happy and, in turn, keep them coming back to them over and over again.

To read more about steps that you can use to improve your office, click here