The smell of the grass. The roar of the crowd. And the torrent of trash-talking emails between friends and me over a statistics-based fantasy game where one of us will “win” and one will “lose” without ever breaking a sweat.
Football season is finally here.
We thought this would be the perfect place to share some thoughts on how game planning for gridiron success is a perfect metaphor for your approach to patient communication. We’ll be back throughout the next couple of months to “pass” more ideas your way (*rimshot!*), but for now we’ll start with the most important thing a team can do to prepare.
Know your competition.
We’re not talking about competition in terms of the other practices who want to serve your patients, though you obviously want to know them too. These are the things you’re competing against that prevent you from fully engaging with your patients today. A football coach watches hours of game film to look for opportunities to take advantage of an opponent. You should be looking at where patients are devoting their attention to find opportunities to build stronger connections.
You’re competing against an increasingly mobile society. Defensive coaches know Megatron can’t be covered. It’s a scientific fact. But you can stick with your patients. If they’re searching for providers on their smartphones (and they ARE), you can be sure that your website is mobile friendly. If they’re preferring texts over the old postcards you’re sending them (and they ARE), you can be sure text messaging is part of your outreach strategy.
You’re competing against busy schedules. Life is out of timeouts. For both your patients AND your staff. Forgetfulness is a big part of patients’ struggle to make their appointments. Make sure you’re reminding them. In your own office, staff time is at a premium. Too many times, the clock runs out before your team can reach their goal of patient contacts for the day. How are you preparing for these time challenges?
You’re competing against your own missed opportunities. Not every play results in an 80-yard touchdown. Small chunks of yardage add up. Just keep moving the chains, right? What are small elements you can add into your communication plan? Could you deliver email birthday greetings? Maybe a quick follow-up to a patient after a procedure? All of these seemingly small touchpoints lead to big wins for your practice.
Where else do you find yourself competing in the process of improving patient communication? Find those “opponents” and look for opportunities to take advantage.