Bariatric Times

Spotlight on Patient Financing April 2016

A peer-reviewed, evidence-based journal that promotes clinical development and metabolic insights in total bariatric patient care for the healthcare professional

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A4 Bariatric Times [V O L U M E 1 3 , N U M B E R 4 • A P R I L 2 0 1 6 • S U P P L E M E N T A ] SPOTLIGHT ON PATIENT FINANCING size, call volume, and other circumstances that are unique to your practice. It may be one person or several who answer the phone. The goal is to create a process and train the staff to turn callers into c ustomers. In order to achieve this, i t's important to provide potential p atients with answers to their questions quickly and as often as possible keep them from being put on hold, transferred, or placed into voice mail. Make sure your "first phone" folks know the answers to basic questions about the gastric balloon and other procedures. If you already have a patient advocate who provides information on fees and schedules surgery, he or she is a good choice for leading the design of the call workflow, as well as training and coaching front desk and other staff who may answer the phone. 7. Collect basic customer data at every inquiry. Everyone talks about "big data" these days, but we find a lot of basic "little data" that goes uncollected or unused. Train staff to collect name, e-mail, phone, the all-important referral source, and address for every inquiry. 8. Establish call back standards. So many practices didn't return our call that yours will stand out if it does. Staff should return calls within a few hours or by end the of the business day. 9. Offer a packaged price. It appeals to people's desire to get a "deal," and it's generally easier to understand than percentage discounts. Work with the hospital or ambulatory surgery center (ASC) to offer a bundled price for the procedure, facility, and all pre- and post-procedure care. 10. Assess your website. It must meet current design standards, which include responsive design for mobile devices and tablets—and no flashing words or clip art. Review the websites of your competitors to learn how they are selling against you. It's great marketing intelligence, and can inform your design change choices. One strong site included the patient advocate's photo and personal story o n the form. W ith regard to content, while i nitially you may choose to use industry-supplied materials, over the long term, people who visit multiple sites will perceive it as "cookie cutter." Further, Google's search ranking algorithms are set up to seek original content. Give your search engine optimization (SEO) a boost by customizing. 11. Implement a lead tracking and management tool. Leveraging lead data is virtually impossible without a technology solution. It's money well spent. 12. Send something in writing to every lead. Every caller and every web inquiry should receive a follow-up message, personalized to their needs or questions. It could be a brochure, upcoming seminar dates, or some other content—and always with a short note from the person who handled the interaction. The goal is to summarize the conversation and keep people interested in the procedure. 13. Develop a follow-up plan. Determine the frequency of follow up, who is responsible, and what information is communicated at each touch point. 14. Retail, elective, and cosmetic procedures require a financing option. CareCredit, with a database of 10 million cardholders, is a trusted solution and accepted by many ASCs, as well as thousands of retail-ready medical and surgical practices. If you are currently offering the gastric balloon, you have the opportunity to firmly establish yourself as the market leader. Following this 14-point plan will help keep you at the front of the pack. To receive a complimentary, self- assessment "Is Your Bariatric Practice Ready for Retail?" e-mail Mary Corder at mcorder@karenzupko.com or call (312) 642-5616. R eferences 1 . KarenZupko & Associates, Inc. M ystery Shopping Project, based on data collected by phone and web inquiries from October 2015–January 2016. 2. The Short Life of Online Sales Leads, James B. Oldroyd, Kristina McElheran, David Elkington, Harvard Business Review. March 2011. 3. Path to Purchases Research, conducted by CareCredit by Rothstein Tauber Inc., 2014. About the Authors Karen Zupko is president of KarenZupko & Associates, a Chicago-based practice management, marketing and training firm that has been advising and educating physicians for more than 30 years. Karen has been a featured speaker for more than 20 years at the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. She speaks on practice development, personnel management, hiring and training, marketing, and practice financial management. Additionally, her expertise is recognized by invitations to speak annually at IMCAS, the International Master Course on Aging Skin in Paris, France, Beauty Through Science in Stockholm, Sweden, and at the Vegas Multi-Specialty Meeting. She has authored more than 250 articles on topics relevant to surgical practice management, marketing, and reimbursement. Samantha Lappe is a research assistant at KZA, and manages the firm's social media. KarenZupko & Associates is a consulting firm hired by CareCredit to provide information to physician practices. *Subject to credit approval. Minimum monthly payments required. See carecredit.com for details. This content is subject to change without notice and offered for informational use only. You are urged to consult with your individual business, financial, legal, tax, and/or other advisers with respect to any information presented. CareCredit, Synchrony Financial and any of its affiliates (collectively, "Synchrony") make no representations or warranties regarding this content and accept no liability for any loss or harm arising from the use of the information provided. All statements and opinions are the sole opinions of the authors. Your receipt of this material constitutes your acceptance of these terms and conditions. Disclaimer: This article did not undergo peer review by the Bariatric Times editorial advisory board.

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