By Lori Waltz
Director of Training
Doctors, physicians, practice administrators and healthcare marketing professionals can easily find themselves caught up in the daily frenzy of “business as usual.” They can overlook the opportunity to use the right questions to diagnose physician-marketing problems or chart a new course, revise goals or improve service quality. The business of active Q&A is a useful skill in life, but asking probing questions (and carefully listening to answers) are primary tools for many aspects of doctor marketing.
So… “What are the questions to ask,” you ask?
There are three questions that top the list of Training Specialist and Senior Consultant Lori Waltz. And, depending on the situation, healthcare providers, hospitals and medical practices can use them in any order.
Q: “What are the obstacles to success?” While the goals may be clear, often there are roadblocks to success. “It’s vital to first identify, and then remove the barriers,” Lori explains. “What gets in the way of improving patient wait time? What could be done differently to improve customer service and the total patient experience?”
Q: “What is a new patient worth to your practice?” Practice administrators and business managers routinely think in these terms, but a staff member who is answering the phone may not be aware of the value of each new patient. “The number of prospective patient calls that do not convert to actual patients,” Lori says, “is often an unseen but serious problem in lost opportunity.”
Q: “How are you tracking new patients and medical advertising?” This could be a trick question, because—sadly—most practices do not accurately track calls or the sources of new patients. “This question reveals the need for staff training and a systematic approach to measuring Return-on-Investment,” according to Lori. “Here’s where scripting, training and practice reveal exactly what’s working.”
These and other questions—and what the answers reveal—begin the dialog, and lead to practical solutions for improving physician marketing, medical advertising and patient experience. Lori says that her goal “is to bring the entire staff onboard as a team, turn them into superstars and to achieve growth goals for the practice. And as I meet professionals throughout the healthcare industry, the most valuable marketing tool I can leave with them is the ability to ask questions.”