The Daily Huddle: Why It’s Important & How to Do It Right

Imagine for a moment that you’re watching your favorite football team in a playoff game. It’s fourth down and there are 20 seconds on the clock. Your team has the ball at the 20-yard line. The entire season is on the line and they need a touchdown to win.

After taking their last time out, the offense heads back on the field, the quarterback huddles his guys and calls the play. They line up and hike the ball. The quarterback steps back, waits for his wide receiver to get open, then throws. It’s caught.

TOUCHDOWN!!!

You could change any of the specific details of this scenario and it wouldn’t necessarily change the outcome except for one: the huddle.

If the quarterback had not communicated the play to the rest of his team, there’s a good chance the game would have had a disappointing ending.

 THE DAILY HUDDLE

This is, in essence, the same reason why the Daily Huddle is key to the success of your practice: If you and your staff aren’t on the same page, communicating regularly and working towards a common goal, then you’re not effectively operating as a team.

And it’s so simple: a 15-minute meeting held (around roughly the same time) every business day in which you and your staff plan for the day and discuss important business objectives.

There’s a reason why restaurants, retail stores, and professional sports teams all do their own versions of a Daily Huddle: it helps to create a culture of accountability and collaboration within your business and instills an “opportunity mindset” in your employees.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

I know from personal experience what a difference this kind of open communication can make: I worked in a private practice for over three years where we had a meeting every week to discuss openings in our schedule and making sure that our patients were bringing a Third Party to their appointment. Then, one week, the owner opened up and told the team, “We need to sell X amount of hearing aids this month.”

That was a real game-changer for us! Suddenly, we had a mission. We started looking at our schedule differently. We thought about what each person needed to do in order to fill any gaps in it. We put a counter in our breakroom that displayed the number of devices we’d already sold and how many more we needed to sell to hit the magic number. We rallied around the owners and congratulated one another for every hearing aid sold. And we took even greater pride in knowing that another device sold meant another family’s life had been changed for the better.

The point is, setting goals for your employees and holding them accountable for reaching those goals can give them a greater sense of purpose and help keep them focused.

GETTING STARTED

All you need to get started is a schedule that reserves time for the appropriate number of hearing evaluations (opportunities) to meet your practice’s unit goals.

During your Daily Huddle, you should concentrate on any unfilled opportunity blocks (up to five days out) and identify ways to fill those gaps such as:

  • Front office staff rescheduling cancellations and no-shows
  • Patient Communication Specialists calling on Out of Warranty (OOW), Tested Not Sold (TNS), and other patients within the database
  • Providers making daily TNS calls

Consult YHN even provides a handy Daily Huddle Template for you to keep track of the numbers and use as a guide for each meeting. Some of our Associates follow this form to a T while others incorporate additional details that are more specific to their business goals.

OVERCOMING YOUR OBJECTIONS

Typically, we hear the same few objections from practices that aren’t doing the Daily Huddle. So, allow me to address each of them individually while also sharing examples of how some of our other Associates have implemented the Huddle in their own practices.

You feel uncomfortable discussing your finances with employees.

Our Daily Huddle template form only focuses on the numbers and figures (opportunities, units sold, Third Party rate, patient referrals, etc.) that are key to your success. Your employees aren’t going to start demanding raises the second you reveal how much money the practice makes. But if you’re honest with them and deliver details about the business in a way that they can connect with, it may open their minds so that they, too, are able to see the bigger picture.

Of course, nothing motivates people better than money. That’s why many practice owners offer their employees incentives for hitting certain goals, whether it be a free lunch or cash prize.

You’re not a morning person and/or are too busy to meet with your team every day.

Yes, when Consult YHN first rolled out the concept, it was called the “Morning Huddle.” But we’ve since amended the title and recommend that practices Huddle at whatever time of day is best for their schedule and staff as long as you’re consistent. For many of our Associates, that time is just after lunch.

On the other hand, I spoke to a Director of Operations who has found that an early review of the materials has made the process much more successful. So much, in fact, that he and his staff now Huddle at 7:30 AM, a half-hour before the office opens. That way, by the time patients start walking in the door, the staff is energized and ready to take on the day.

You have a large staff and more than one office.

This is hardly a reason not to Huddle. The more employees and locations you have, the more important it is to get everyone on the same page. One ENT clinic that we work with conducts its Daily Huddle via conference call with the entire staff at each of its five locations. During the day, this same team makes a concerted effort to work together in order to fill the schedule. If a patient cancels their appointment, the FOP sends a Skype message to each office, so everyone is aware that there’s now an open slot that needs to be filled.

You have no clue how to go about implementing it.

Our Account Managers are trained to help Associates implement all of Consult YHN’s different strategies and best practices. They do whatever they can to help you succeed. So, reach out to your Account Manager or reach out to me.

Whatever you do, just make sure you reach out to your employees — because trust me, you’d be surprised what 15-minutes can do for staff morale and your bottom line.

About the Author

Julie Gesuale joined Consult YHN in 2010 and currently serves as an Assistant Account Manager in the company’s Hospital and University Division. Her diverse professional background includes customer service, marketing, and project management. When not working, Julie enjoys spending time with her wife of 15 years and her two rescue dogs, Sheldon and Leonard. She’s also been singing in church and community choirs for over 25 years.

Your Biggest Health Fair Questions Answered

Here I am at a senior health fair a few years ago as my amazing coworkers talk to potential patients and perform otoscopy. See, I’m smiling—nothing to be scared of!

Health fairs are an excellent opportunity to connect with your community, educate consumers about hearing loss and hearing aids, promote your business, and drive new patients in the door.

However, understandably, many practice owners and providers find the idea of standing in a crowded room, starting conversations with strangers, and asking for their business to be intimidating – some might even say terrifying.

But, fear not—I’m here to help make your next health fair or community outreach event a little more fun and a lot more successful.

Here are answers to several of your most plaguing health fair-related questions as well as some helpful tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years.

Q: How do I find out about health fairs and other senior events in my area?

A: There are plenty of ways to do this, but here are three that I’ve had the most luck with:

1. Google “senior health fairs near me.” This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised just how many events there are going on around you all the time. You may also be surprised to learn how many senior organizations there are in your area—home healthcare companies, community centers, services for the aging, etc.

2. Check your local newspaper and its website – Organizations that host seniors events know that many Baby Boomers still read the newspaper and therefore, advertise in the events section. Most newspapers also allow people to post events online for free.

3. Check your local hospitals – If they don’t have an Audiology or Speech Therapy Department, that could be your in. Hospitals have open houses and other events and if they need a hearing provider, you could make a great connection.

 

INSIDER TIP: Don’t ignore events that have passed—they can be a goldmine. If you come across an event from the previous year, reach out to the coordinators. Sometimes they already know when and where this year’s event will be held and can add you to their contact list so that you know when the event opens for vendors.
Q: Should I do video otoscopy?
A: If you can, go for it! Explain to the patient that this is the first step of the hearing exam and invite him/her to your office for the other two steps. Have a printed copy of your schedule so that you can see what dates and times you have available for appointments and book them on the spot. Don’t take an iPad or laptop—you only have a short window of time with each person and you don’t want to waste it inputting his/her information. Also, you don’t want to rely on the venue’s Wi-Fi.
Q: Should I offer free hearing screenings on site?

A: Absolutely not. This is a big no-no for many reasons, starting with the fact that there usually isn’t a space that’s quiet enough to conduct hearing screenings at a health fair. More importantly, it defeats the purpose of attending these types of events which is to grow your database, establish relationships with members of your community, and attract new patients. Why give the milk away for free?


INSIDER TIP: Even if you can’t attend a health fair as a vendor, check it out anyway and bring a stack of business cards with you. Talk to the vendors that are at the event. Network. Mingle. Have fun. Find out what events they’re going to next. Perhaps one is worth keeping on your radar.
Q: What should I bring?

A: Here are five absolute essentials:

1. Information about your practice – business cards, brochures, etc. .

2. Educational materials – picture of an ear, hearing health articles, handouts they can take home, etc. Consult’s MarketSource has a large selection of collateral to choose from.

3. Directions to your office – seniors who have hearing loss usually also have poor vision. So, make sure your message is clear and the font is BIG. And don’t get them lost!

4. Appointment sheets for the next 2 weeks – I can’t stress this enough. Paper is your friend.

5. Giveaways – such as pens and notepads with your logo and practice information.

Q: How do I stand out from all the other vendors?

A: This is one of the most important questions you should ask yourself. And one of the best things you can do is to engage everyone who walks by your table—don’t just sit there and wait for them to stop and show interest. Make your table pop with a colorful tablecloth, preferably one with your practice name/logo on it. And lastly, a little bribery can go a long way—as in free candy, water, or snacks.


INSIDER TIP: When talking with individuals who were in the military, thank them for their service, ask when they were discharged, then respond, “I’m guessing that’s the last time you had your hearing checked.” Anyone who is discharged from the military must have a hearing test and for most, it’s the last one they’ve had.
Q: What should I say to people when they’re at my table?
A: Start by asking when they last had their hearing checked or if they have their hearing tested every year. Once you get people talking, see if they have a history of hearing loss or have ever worn hearing aids. Educate them on the importance of having an annual hearing evaluation. Deliver your “why.” Talk to them about your practice and why they should choose you over another provider. Remember: you have less than five minutes to leave a lasting impression on that person before he/she moves onto the next table.
Q: What’s the best way to handle any appointments that I book during the event?

A: Track your results. Create a spreadsheet listing all the pertinent patient information, including each person’s appointment date and time. Update the spreadsheet every morning for each patient:

  • Did the patient get tested?
  • Did the patient have a hearing loss?
  • Was amplification purchased? If so, what type of hearing aid and how much?
  • Was it a no-call, no-show? Pick up the phone and call the patient to reschedule—don’t wait for him/her to reach out.

 

INSIDER TIP: Since you’ve already established a relationship with these patients, call to confirm their appointments the day before to ensure they feel comfortable and know where your office is located. Additionally, confirm they are bringing a Third Party to the appointment. If a patient’s appointment is four or more days out, send him/her a reminder postcard with a handwritten note: “Nice to meet you at the health fair – see you Tuesday!”

Hopefully, I answered all your questions. If you have any others, don’t hesitate to ask your Account Manager or shoot me an email: JGesuale@ConsultYHN.com.

About the Author

Julie Gesuale joined Consult YHN in 2010 and currently serves as an Assistant Account Manager in the company’s Hospital and University Division. Her diverse professional background includes customer service, marketing, and project management. When not working, Julie enjoys spending time with her wife of 15 years and her two rescue dogs, Sheldon and Leonard. She’s also been singing in church and community choirs for over 25 years.

6 Steps for Hosting a Successful Lunch & Learn

Getting out into the community is one of the best ways to connect with the public, deliver your “why,” and remind people how important hearing is to their quality life. It can be intimidating though—leaving your office, patients, and staff behind to go out into the community and solicit new patients. But I can tell you from experience, once you complete your first community event and you sell your first set of hearing aids from it, you’ll be eager for the next one.

Now, I’m sure you have lots of questions. I led numerous events as the marketing director of a private practice and I, too, had similar questions. How do you plan an entire event that people will actually want to attend? How do you convey your message when people walk up to your table and all they really want is the free candy or to win the raffle prize? How do you build trust with new patients?

So, let’s break down the process and make it easier for you to launch your first event. A Lunch & Learn, also known as a Lunch & Listen, is exactly what it sounds like: you advertise and invite potential patients to join you for an hour or so, impart your wisdom, provide lunch, and voilà!

OK, maybe it’s not that simple, but here are six key steps to planning and running a successful Lunch & Learn:

Step 1: Determine the when and where.

Choose a date approximately six weeks out—you’ll need all that time to prepare. Find a place that’s quiet or has a private space, like a restaurant or a clubhouse. Fun tip: most of the time, a “senior” lunch menu is less expensive, but some practices like to go all out and will book a local steakhouse. You should do what makes the most sense for your vision and budget. 

Step 2: Create your guest list.

Anywhere between 10-20 is the ideal number of guests. Pulling patients from your existing database that are out of warranty or tested devices and never purchased is the best place to start. Second, target new patients through direct mail, print ads or digital marketing. Talk to a Consult YHN Account Manager for more details. And, be sure to include your website and your social media profiles on your invitation.

Step 3: Identify your goal and craft your message.

You want to keep your message short and to the point. If you’re able to confidently talk to an audience with only a list of bullet points, go for it. It’s more natural and creates a better overall experience for the audience. If not, use a PowerPoint presentation to help frame your message and guide your recital. Create your own or ask your Account Manager to send you one of Consult YHN’s sample PPT presentations. Either way, you should consider supporting your message with media or pictures, like showing a video that showcases people getting fitted for hearing aids and their reflections on how life is better with these devices.

Remember: you want to tell a story. Illustrate how hearing aids improve a person’s quality of life. It’s much more compelling than just listing off a bunch of facts and statistics.

Step 4: Invite your guests.

Once your mailer or invitation goes out, work with Your Patient Contact Center (YPCC) to personally invite guests. YPCC’s highly-trained patient communication representatives will call your database and encourage them to attend: “We sent you a personal invitation for an informative Lunch & Learn event we’re hosting, and we’d love to add your name to the guest list before it fills up … you’re free on Thursday at noon to join us, right?” A personal call goes a long way and can build up your RSVP list.

Step 5: Gather your supplies.

There are a few key things you want to make sure you have for the event:

  • Practice giveaways are always a hit, plus you want your name and number on everything you hand out so that it goes home with your guests.
  • Hearing health articles for attendees to read while they wait for the seminar to begin and to take home. Consult’s MarketSource has several informative handouts about the correlation between hearing loss and other diseases such as dementia/Alzheimer’s, a topic that many seniors don’t know much about. These should also have your practice’s information on them.
  • Appointment sheets for the next 2 weeks. Don’t take an iPad or laptop—you only have a short window of time with guests and you don’t want to waste it inputting their information into your laptop. Manually schedule appointments and enter patients’ information into your practice management software once you are back in the office.
  • A sign-in sheet. If someone RSVP’d but did not attend, call them the next day and invite them in for a personal hearing consultation—they are still a potential patient.
  • A survey so you can track your results and make sure that what you’re doing is effective.
  • A screen and projector if you are going to use a PowerPoint presentation or show a video and your venue doesn’t have one.

Step 6: Track your appointments.

The tracking work for any community outreach event is as critical as the content in your presentation. Running a report from your system is great and will tell you total number of hearing aids sold, revenue, etc. But consider the patients who booked an appointment and canceled? Or a no-call, no-show appointment? These appointments can make or break an event. Create a spreadsheet with the below information and review it every day, making notes on the following items:

  • When is his/her appointment scheduled?
  • What happened during the appointment? Hearing aid sale? For how much?
  • Did they miss the appointment and a call needs to be made to get them back on the schedule?

Tracking can seem tedious, but if you make it apart of your daily routine, it will become second nature and once you see the benefits of tracking your results, you’ll appreciate the effort.

So, there you have it, folks!

Becoming a staple in your community and sharing your knowledge on how to improve people’s quality of life can be rewarding if you dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s beforehand.

And if you still have any questions about planning a Lunch & Learn or other community event, you can always reach out to your Consult YHN Account Manager for guidance.

About the Author

Julie Gesuale joined Consult YHN in 2010 and currently serves as an Assistant Account Manager in the company’s Hospital and University Division. Her diverse professional background includes customer service, marketing, and project management. When not working, Julie enjoys spending time with her wife of 15 years and her two rescue dogs, Sheldon and Leonard. She’s also been singing in church and community choirs for over 25 years.