The Importance of Customer Surveys

Most of us start the day raring to go – energized after our first cup of coffee, ready to tackle the day’s activities and anything that comes our way! Even though we may have the best of intentions and believe that we are expressing ourselves positively in front of customers, plus offering the best in class service, often, there’s a disconnect between perception and reality. What we believe to be true may not necessarily align with our customers’ viewpoint. That’s why it’s so important to solicit feedback from our customers – candid commentary regarding their experience on every visit.

Why Customer Surveys?

Beyond being a courtesy to customers – truly caring about their interaction with personnel by asking for their overall satisfaction – surveys gauge customer loyalty in real time. We all know that the records in the patient database are a primary key to business success, but did you know that businesses are fourteen times more likely to sell to an existing customer than a new one? This means intimately understanding the patient journey and correcting any bumps along the way. Administering surveys and reviewing feedback regularly allows insight into any systemic issues within the business that need attention. Also, if there are any unhappy customers, reaching out ASAP to remedy their grievance is the best practice and may turn a soured customer into a champion.

The Net Promoter Score

Net Promoter Score IconsOne way to measure customer engagement is by establishing a business’ Net Promotor Score (NPS), a leading indicator of customer loyalty that has been adopted by more than two-thirds of Fortune 1000 companies. The NPS, measured on a scale of zero to one hundred, establishes how connected a customer is to a business. Ultimately, every business’ score should be upwards of seventy, which equals “world class” service. The only way to evaluate whether a business’ NPS is on the “world class” level is to first understand the current NPS score and then make strides to improve customer experience, if needed.

As a consumer yourself, you likely know more about the NPS rating than you think. If you’ve ever rated a business via an online survey by answering the question “How likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?” then you’ve helped a business better understand their own NPS rating!

By soliciting your customers’ opinions about their experiences, you are not only extending them a courtesy, but you’re actively evaluating how connected they are to your business. Your overall profit can benefit in a big way from keeping customers loyal to your practice – and that requires asking how satisfied every patient is with his or her experience after leaving your office.

Interested in learning more about customer surveys? Contact Consult YHN’s Marketing department for details about our exclusive Consumer Survey Program – 800.984.3272, option 8 or

About the Author

Keara M. Piekanski joined Consult YHN in 2010 and serves as Director, Product Management. She has over 13 years of marketing experience and develops products and services for Associates. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh, is Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certified, and is pursuing an MBA at Villanova University.

The FitBit is Now HIPAA Compliant!

fitbit-forceConsumer device manufacturer Fitbit announced that it now supports HIPAA compliance. The changes they made ensure they are aligned with federal compliance standards. What it means though, is that covered entities and business associates can continue to use their devices without compromising personal health information.

This announcement highlights the importance of meeting personal privacy regulations, across all segments of the healthcare industry.  Yet, surprisingly, many organizations are still not in compliance with the more stringent 2013 Omnibus Rule and face an increased business risk if a data breach occurs. Failing to keep protected health information secure and private can lead to serious consequences and significant fines.

Putting robust security and privacy policies in place can decrease the chances of having a breach, not eliminate it completely.  Organizations that do so will be less likely to face significant enforcement action by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) with a compliance program in place.  At minimum, all Consult YHN Associates should perform and document a risk assessment, implement technical, administrative and physical safeguards and provide training and guidelines for all employees!

Fitbit is in HIPAA compliance, are you?

Plan to Measure & Measure the Plan

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As 2014 is coming to a close (we can tell by the plethora of holiday décor in every retail store), we want you to seriously consider your marketing strategy for 2015.  If you don’t already have your plan in place – and some do – you may not be sure where to begin.  Our number one recommendation is to look backward before looking forward, meaning assess your marketing efforts from 2014 and how each one contributed to the bottom line before embarking on a plan for the next 12-months.

Two Consult YHN colleagues recently co-authored an article in Hearing Review that sums up this idea perfectly: Know Your Marketing; Know Your ROI.  By having a defined marketing plan and tracking its efficacy (plus course correcting along the way), you’ll be able to capture beneficial trends from your data and eliminate wasteful spending.

But first, you have to actually develop the plan.  After allocating 10-12% of your overall budget towards marketing, we recommend:

  • Using a targeted multi-media approach with frequency and consistency (including direct mail, print and digital media)
  • Ensuring you are communicating with both your current customers and prospects via mail, telemarketing, etc.
  • Creating messaging that resonates with your target audiences; i.e. speak to individuals about what matters to them via their preferred communication channels – email, print, text, etc.

Once your plan is up and running, track the results.  As recommended in Know Your Marketing; Know Your ROI, many computer programs are available to facilitate and simplify tracking (Consult YHN has one), but typically a person(s) in your office must physically input the response data.  It’s important to consistently gather this data because you will use it to calculate your return on investment, or ROI.

Once you gather the data, then what?  Consult YHN recommends a quarterly assessment of all marketing initiatives to analyze trends, assess the performance of the plan, and ensure marketing dollars are being spent wisely.  Some key metrics to pay attention to: number of calls (how many times did the phone ring from each initiative), number of appointments set and number of hearing devices sold.  The aggregate of these metrics will contribute to your ROI calculation.  To discover how to properly calculate ROI, click here.

Remember, marketing 101 tells us that developing a plan and working that plan frequently and consistently yields success; couple that with tracking your results, calculating ROI and analyzing those results in order to tweak your plan will put you on a successful marketing trajectory.


For questions or a free 30 minute marketing consultation, contact marketing at

Is Your Marketing Working For You?

Consult YHN Associates see the value of marketing and how it is a necessity in order for their practice to grow. Incorporating marketing initiatives into your business development strategy is just the first step towards a successful marketing strategy.  In order for your marketing to be truly effective, not only do you need a solid plan in place, you also need to track its effectiveness to make sure you are getting the most return on your investment.

Start with a Plan

A marketing plan is based on a defined budget, typically a percentage that encourages growth, and includes all of the direct marketing initiatives to drive traffic. It can seem overwhelming to earmark and plan for 12 months of marketing, but it’s better to have a plan and tweak it than live with the chaos of constantly ‘shooting from the hip.’ This is why we strongly encourage reviewing your return on investment on at least a quarterly basis. This will help identify which initiative(s) have the highest return on investment and what ones need to be re-evaluated.

Track the Effectiveness

The easiest way to get started with analysis is to incorporate call tracking numbers into your marketing plan and monitor each initiative separately [e.g. direct mail, newspaper, web, etc]. For the additional minor expense [typically 1% of your overall marketing budget], it is worth it to KNOW whether the phone is ringing.

As you collect this tracking information on a weekly/monthly/quarterly basis, you will be able to determine what’s working and what needs to be adjusted within your plan. There are so many ways to slice and dice the data but the overarching goal is to make sure that your marketing dollars are generating opportunities for your practice.

Analyze the Data

The numbers don’t lie; you’ll be surprised at the misconceptions we often have about what initiatives work best. Don’t be surprised after analyzing the data if you find that your practice is getting an lightbulbaverage number of calls from marketing pieces but the appointment conversion and sales are below average. In this instance, the marketing worked, but there was a breakdown in the sales process preventing a maximum return on investment. This is a prime opportunity for training and process improvement.

In other cases, tracking has shown that what works for the majority of practices differs for others. For instance, newspaper inserts typically receive a higher response rate than full-page ads. However, in some cases this ‘norm’ is flipped and by analyzing the data, smarter marketing decisions can be made. By reviewing data, previously scheduled tactics can be adjusted for optimal response rates.

The aforementioned are just a few examples of the benefits that come out of tracking and analyzing data. Let your marketing dollars go further – track, analyze and adjust your marketing plan on at least a quarterly basis to maximize return on investment!

Are you interested in incorporating tracking tools into your marketing plan and/or reviewing results? Please contact marketing at  to set up a meeting and discuss your marketing needs.

The Joys of an Employee Leaving

It’s that dreaded day when an employee hands you a resignation letter informing you they have decided to leave your practice, or worse yet, you need to let go an underperforming employee. Whether you are devastated or feel it is a blessing in disguise, you are sure to feel frustrated and overwhelmed with having to embark on the hiring process yet again.

As cumbersome as this process can be, the last thing you want to do is just hire anyone. Since your staff members are an integral part of your business success, you need personnel to align with your business goals and objectives. It may seem easier as a short-term solution to hire someone (a friend or family member) who is just an ‘okay’ fit. However, to accomplish your long-term goals, you need to find someone who is not only qualified for the position but a dedicated candidate who is going to help your business grow.

So how do you find your next best employee?

Here are some tips on how to navigate the hiring process and finding the right talent:

  1. Create a Job Description
    • Develop a job description that outlines the responsibilities of the position, as well as any skill or work experience requirements. Make sure to explain the benefits and opportunities for growth to motivate candidates and to stand out from your competitor

2.  Develop a Salary Analysis

    • Determine a compensation package by developing a salary analysis for the position you are looking to fill. Review comparable positions in local job listings for salary wages or reach out to local organizations such as your chamber of commerce or employment bureaus for advice on salary and benefits.

3.  Set a Realistic Timeline

    • Don’t rush to hire someone just to fill the position. You want to take the time to find the right candidate that is not only qualified but is going to meet your needs on a personal and professional level. If you are feeling pressure to find someone fast, spread the work load out among existing employees or consider hiring a temp to help out until you find the appropriate hire.

4.  Promote the Job Position

    • Advertise the job posting in your local newspaper, online job boards or other social media outlets such as LinkedIn. Networking is also an alternative to finding great talent. Spread the word to your professional and trade connections and/or to your present employees and patients.

You need to find someone who is not only qualified for the position but a dedicated candidate who is going to help your business grow.

5.  Select the Right Candidate

    • After reviewing the pool of resumes, narrow the list down to the top five applicants that fulfill your job requirements and are the most qualified for the position. Bring these candidates in for 2-3 interviews (phone, in-person and/or working) to ensure they are a perfect fit.  To avoid any hiring mistakes, check professional references and run background checks before you send out an offer letter.

Having a strong and streamlined hiring process is crucial for attracting and retaining top quality employees.  By following these guidelines it will help you best match the right people to the right position.


With 45 years of combined experience in recruiting, Consult YHN’s Recruiting Department has a true understanding of the audiology business model and knows what’s important for your practice.  Find out more about how Consult YHN Recruiting Services can help your practice. Visit  or call 800-984-3272 and get connected with a member of our Recruiting team.  Because as we all know, having the right employees is key to running a successful business.