I joined the hearing healthcare field about 35 years ago, serving in a variety of sales, sales leadership, and training roles. Historically, it has been a relatively low volume, high margin industry. We have seen more change in the last five years than in the past three decades combined.
Consumers have more choices than ever before due to the advent of big box, internet sales, and discount plans, not to mention the yet-to-be-determined impact of OTC.
The low volume, high margin nature of the field has allowed for inefficiencies that must be addressed in any healthy organization going forward. Too often practice leaders have managed by “I think” versus “I know” when it comes to practice Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
If you happen to be one of them, below are proven strategies to help you change that.
At the start of each year, most practice leaders set an annual revenue target using a simple equation:
The challenge is that leaders must commit to investment ahead of revenue. This includes leases, equipment, marketing, and other expenses. However, payroll is typically the single largest expense. In an era with increasing downward pressure on margins, it is critical to focus on per person productivity for each staff member. Said differently, when the practice helps more people, everyone wins, including the patients, staff, and practice owner.
Don’t Chase Outcomes
Helping more people is an outcome. More revenue is an outcome. For this reason, the solution to helping more people is completing more opportunity appointments. However, completing, or even creating more opportunities each day, are still outcomes. Therefore, practice leaders must commit to leading their staff each day to the behaviors that will result in more opportunity creation while investing in staff skill development.
Mindset Drives Behaviors and Behaviors Drive Results
Start With The Why
As a practice leader, you must first start with the WHY. Communicate to your staff why it is necessary to have an opportunity mindset and measure daily behaviors that will lead to more people helped.
I Think We Do That
The key part here is “I think.” Daily tracking is the key to creating awareness for the practice leader as well as the rest of the staff. Of course, most will say, our practice management software tracks information such as opportunities created, completed, and other outcomes. However, the problem is that in most practices, no one is looking at this information on a daily basis. The other problem is that, unlike the financials found in a P&L (profit and loss statement), many behavioral KPIs are prone to subjective interpretation.
Starting With Tracking
The first step to tracking is to come up with definitions for KPIs that everyone in the practice understands and agrees to follow and report on every day. For example:
- What is an opportunity?
- What is a completed appointment?
- What is a candidate?
- What is a hearing aid sale (vs. a fitting fee from discount plan unit sales)?
How CQ Partners Can Help
In partnership with your Account Manager, our experienced Sales Analytics team can help you and your staff to come up with your KPI definitions. We can even help you to plan for a company meeting where you can roll out your plan to do a daily huddle where KPIs are captured each day at the individual provider level. To make this task less daunting, we will start with measuring only the first four data points from the huddle. Your Patient Care Coordinator (PCC) will come to the huddle with the number of opportunities (opps) created. Your individual providers will very likely be able to recite the number for the next three items from memory if measured daily:
Once this is being done daily, we will gradually add the other questions and begin to track on a daily tracking form where one row of data relates to the answers from one daily huddle. Because this tracking form is a rolling sheet, you will eventually be able to spot averages and trends such as:
- Number of opps created per day
- Number of opps that arrive per day
- Number of opps that arrive with third party companion
- Number of people sold vs. tested not sold
- Private pay/insurance units vs. fitting fees
Once you KNOW your averages, you will be better able to plan for how many opportunities you MUST create and complete each day in order to reach your revenue targets at the individual provider level based on your arrival rate, third party companion rate, payer mix, and other KPIs.
So, do you think, or do you know? Commit to measuring key performance indicators so you can lead your staff and remain a thriving organization in a rapidly changing market.