How to Answer the Price Question

You know your practice will get this question at least once a week, if not once a day.  Does your staff know how to answer the question?  Do you know what they’re saying?  One of two things is currently happening.  They are either doing a good job of answering the question or they are doing a less than stellar job of answering the question.

Here are few “scripts” your staff can use to answer the question.

“Thank you for contacting our practice.  To answer your question, there are several things that influence the price of a hearing aid. This tends to be true at our practice and probably most other practices you contact.”

The first thing you need to consider is whether you want to pay a one price for the hearing aid and then pay a fitting fee or do you want the fitting fee to be included in the price.

Secondly, almost every hearing aid will need to be reprogrammed several times as your hearing loss changes. If reprogramming is not part of your original purchase price it can cost several hundred dollars each time you need a change to the programming.

Service can also be included in the price and hearing aids will need periodic maintenance and repairs and these fees can add up as well.

Finally, comprehensive programs that include things like free batteries and are also available.

Because there are so many options I would encourage you to make an appointment to meet with our audiologist/hearing aid dispenser in the office. They can talk about what level of options you would be interested in and can provide you with a realistic price that meets your expectations initially as well as over time.”

The exact wording that your staff will use is not as important as the consistency of the message they convey.  More importantly the potential customer asked a question that they expect to have answered.  Telling them that you don’t provide prices over the phone is not what they expect to hear.

The better prepared your staff is to answer the “price question”, the more likely the customer is to make an appointment.  And after all that is the point of the entire exercise.


I Have No Idea How I Got My Newest Patient

When I ask the question, “Tell me the top 5 ways you get a patient through your door? If just once, someone would be honest with me and say out loud, “I have no idea where my patients are coming from” I’d probably keel over on the spot.”  Invariably the answers I get range from, “Well I’m pretty sure they’re coming from…or “I’ll have to try to figure that out.”…or the always popular Well it varies.”

If you don’t know the answer to that question, you’re wasting your advertising and marketing dollars.  You need to understand not only what draws patients to your business but what doesn’t.

Ask your patients questions.  I don’t mean strap them to a chair under a bright light and threaten bodily harm if they don’t come up with the right answer.  I mean be genuine.  “Mr. Patient, we really value your business and we would love to have more patients just like you.”  “Can you please tell me how you first heard about us?”

If they answer, the yellow pages, or online, or any other non-specific response, it’s okay to dig a little deeper.  “Hmm, interesting, were you looking for us or did you just stumble on our page…or our website?”

You will never know for sure if the answer they give is really the “correct answer”.  But I guarantee what you will uncover is a potential market you didn’t know existed.  Maybe a neighbor really is raving about you and sending links from your website to her friends.  Yes, they found you online, but it’s because Linda sent them a link.

Ask the right questions, track the responses and hopefully you’ll be spending your advertising dollars on financially rewarding opportunities you didn’t even know existed.


Customer Service is Marketing

I’m asked frequently by clients, how they can do a better job of marketing their practice. Word of mouth, whether its spread traditionally or digitally generates business.

Your patients are customers.  Hearing aids are expensive.

Your customers experience should be more like Nordstrom’s and a lot less like Target.  I shop at both, I like Target for the selection.  I like Nordstrom’s for the customer service.  You don’t have selection on your side.  (Providing a patient with a choice between Vendor A, B or C’s hearing aids isn’t really much of a selection.)  So that leaves you with customer service.

I know I harp on this a lot.  I talk to people in your offices, a lot and it isn’t always a wonderful experience.  There is always room for improvement.  And I use the word customer interchangeably with patient for a reason.  If we thought of our clientele more as a customer and less as a patient I think that service would improve.

The entire industry of healthcare has neglected customer service.  We have “waiting rooms.”  What other business admits up front that it won’t serve you in a timely manner?  I suppose we could call airports “delay zones,” but I doubt the airline industry would accept that like we have in healthcare.  People are there for good healthcare advice, right?  No, they are there to be cared for, and a huge part of that care is determined by how they are treated in the office.

Nordstrom’s focus is on the customer experience.  They want people to have a different experience when they come to their store.  The staff is helpful and courteous; they make their store to meet the needs of their customers, not expecting their customers to adapt to their store.  When people leave Nordstrom’s, they feel good about their experience.  They feel like they were the center of attention and got their needs met and in return they are extremely loyal customers.

You want patients to brag about your office and how well they’re treated.  A walk-in time for repairs, repair pick-ups and minor adjustments is a great way to practice good customer service. Not only does it meet patients’ needs, but patients love this. They don’t have to call to make an appointment; they just show up.

It isn’t just about the needs of the patient.  Typically repair times are scheduled for 15-minute appointments. Walk in times are 30 – 60 minute time periods.  You can easily see twice as many patients during the walk-in time as you can during a scheduled appointment.  This frees up valuable time, which can be used to generate revenue.

Patients are more apt to believe that you care about them when you run your business in a way that sends that message.  Statistics don’t lie.

A dissatisfied customer will tell 9-15 people about it. And approximately 13% of your dissatisfied customers will tell more than 20 people about their problem.
Source: the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, Washington, DC.


Happy customers who have their problems resolved will tell 4-6 people about their positive experience.
Source: the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, Washington, DC.

A strong focus on quality customer service should eliminate the need to undo the damage of 9 -15 unhappy people and exploit the potential of 4-6 happy people. And that’s one way you can do a better job of marketing your practice.