Time to Get Back to the Basics….Customer Service

You’ve attracted a new patient to your office. They are ready to be called into the back so you can begin the hearing test. How do you provide “High End Customer Service” at this point in the visit?

According to Malcolm Gladwell, author of “Blink, your mind takes about two seconds to jump to a series of conclusions. Those conclusions are important and occasionally spot on, but more importantly we all make them. Sub-consciously, your patient has already made a series of conclusions about you before you open your mouth.

Without knowing it, this is often a make or break moment. The first two seconds can set the tone for the entire visit. What you are trying to accomplish is to let the patient, who is at this point feeling very vulnerable, know that they can trust you.

5 Things You Can Do to Establish Trust

  • Do not be late. Being on time conveys reliability and if people know you’re reliable, they are more willing to trust you.
  • Make eye contact. This takes practice for some people. Too little can be just as bad as too much.
    Monitor how you feel. If you’re anxious about a personal matter, your patient will pick up on the anxiety. They have no idea why you’re anxious but they assume it relates to them.
  • Dress appropriately – this should be a no brainer, but we ‘ll include it anyway. A lab coat may be cliché, but if you’re fresh out of graduate school and look 18 years old, you could use all the help you can get to not look any younger than you already are. Remember, if you are 26 years old you are decades to a half a century or more, younger than your demographic.
  • Watch your body language. Smile. Smiling forces you to relax which in turn should help your patient to relax. Do not cross your arms in front of you or hold a patient’s chart in front of you. Everyone has nervous habits when meeting someone for the first time. Know what yours are and learn to control them.

What is the point of all this? You are trying to sell a hearing aid. The cliché, you never get a second chance to make a first impression is accurate. Overcoming objections is difficult enough. Don’t make it worse but needing to overcome both the patients reasons why they don’t need or want a hearing aid and their bad first impression of you.

10 Things to Improve Your Hearing Aid Marketing

For us, the senior market is the one that matters most.  This may provoke a “duh” moment from many reading this article.  However, it’s important to understand how seniors think, what turns them off and what hearing aid marketing and advertising concepts they are drawn to. Let’s start with the term “seniors”.  After the 12th grade no one ever wants to be referred to as a senior anything again…ever.  Ultimately it could mean the difference between substantial business growth and the loss of a sizable chunk of market share.

The top ten things you can do to improve your marketing and advertising of the baby boomer and pre-boomer generations.

  1. Target women, they make the decisions.
  1. Don’t use humor about aging.  Getting old is not funny.
  1. Don’t use scare tactics.  Discouraging news about aging will not motivate your patient to respond to your ad or to purchase hearing aids.
  1. When using photos in promotions and communications remember the following.  As a group, senior citizens see themselves as seven to ten years younger than they really are.  Think of it this way 50 is the new 40 and 60 is the new 50.
  1. Use words in copy that hold out the promise of youthfulness and independence.  Both are concepts that patients will identify with.
  1. Remember your demographic (I know I’ve said that before, but it does get forgotten).  Understand that just like the auditory system, the visual system changes as we age.  Use larger fonts and brighter colors.
  1. Trust is a major issue for seniors.  Use experiences of real people to communicate with them.  Testimonials about the benefits of hearing aids can be a beneficial advertising concept.
  1. Make sure real people answer your phones as much as possible.  Don’t subject potential patients to answering system decision trees when they call.
  1. Refine the way in which you track marketing results to include demographics such as age and gender.  Who is actually responding to your ad and who is purchasing hearing aids?
  1. And lastly, do not reject the old mediums for the new.  Print advertising and word of mouth still capture considerably more patients than inbound marketing.  There is a place for both.

If I have to choose one that I think is of primary importance it would be…tracking. Why?  Marketing and advertising are regionalized, what works in New York City is most likely not what will work in Atlanta GA. One of the costliest items in the expense section of your P&L is advertising and marketing.  You should constantly refine the way in which you track marketing results to better understand your demographic and how they are responding to your marketing attempts.

Ideally you want to spend as little as possible to garner the number of patients who are candidates for hearing aids that your practice needs on a monthly basis.  Too often we run ads and inserts, or host open houses and consumer seminars, etc. with little thought as to why a prior ad or event was or wasn’t successful.

A minor change to an ad, for example, an ad run on a Monday may have a better or worse response from the public than the identical ad run on a Friday. Patterns will develop. Carefully cultivate and store information from the patients who respond to your advertising/marketing, particularly those who purchase hearing aids.  After all, they’re the ones you want to make sure keep coming in your door.

Experience may teach you how to better manage hearing aid marketing and advertising events, but tracking the results in as many ways as possible will allow you to make better decisions about where to put your marketing dollars.