Make your practice ETDBW

Article

Is your practice easy to do business with? How can you achieve this goal? Here are some ideas.

Companies must do a better job of organizing themselves around the process of satisfying customers, says consultant Michael Hammer in his book The Agenda: What Every Business Must Do to Dominate the Decade (Crown Business, 2001). First and foremost, he says, they have to be ETDBW (easy to do business with). How can you achieve this goal? Here are some ideas:

Bob Levoy

• Strive for on-time appointments. This is good for client relations and reduces staff members' stress levels.

• Make your Web site user-friendly. As simple as this sounds, consider the comments of David Siegel, Web design expert and author of Creating Killer Web Sites. "Out there on the wild, wild Web, most sites are train wrecks that've already happened," he says. Most companies think cool technology and hip special effects will make their sites engaging—but they don't understand their viewers' needs, interests, or navigating skills. Does your site have too many buttons? Too many layers? Too many words? Too many choices? A busy background? Hard-to-read typefaces? Too many typefaces? Too many links? Information overload? Keep it simple.

• Offer new-client information on your Web site. Include a practice overview with pictures, perhaps a section with frequently asked questions, a list of what clients should expect for their first appointment, and directions to your hospital.

• Make it easy for clients to ask questions. Many pet owners are intimidated, unsure how to express their concerns, or afraid of looking foolish. Look for ways to put them at ease—for instance, toward the end of a visit, ask, "Do you have any questions about anything we discussed?"

• Just say "yes." Make a positive response your default reaction. If a client calls to change an appointment, even if it's at the last minute, have the receptionist just do it. A long sigh—or any other sign of annoyance—will accomplish nothing.

Action step

Schedule a staff meeting to discuss ways to make your practice ETDBW. It'll heighten everyone's awareness of this important strategy and differentiate your practice, giving it a meaningful competitive advantage.

Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Bob Levoy is a seminar speaker based in Roslyn, N.Y., who focuses on profitability and practice growth. His newest book is 222 Secrets of Hiring, Managing and Retaining Great Employees in Healthcare Practices (Jones and Bartlett, 2007).

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