You might think, “There’s no time. No energy. Too many patients. It would have to be baked into my standard operating procedures!”
It can be. And our system for doing it is called Patients for Life® (PFL).
Patients for Life
PFL is an event as well as a process. The event is two days of training sessions. The process is your team, back at the practice, implementing what they’ve learned and getting further coaching along the way.
The innovative program teaches you and your team how to connect with patients, reduce their hesitation, and give them a reason to come back. Your patients will feel seen and heard, whether it’s the first time a patient calls or the third time your staff has called a tested-not-treated patient.
The program provides best practices that apply to private-practice audiology, as well as ENT clinics and health systems that have audiology as an ancillary service.
Patient-Centered Professional Development
PFL goes beyond simple professional development: You and your team members learn how to create a true meeting of the minds between yourselves and the patient. Every role in your practice is included in the training. Let’s take a bird’s-eye view of what’s covered in a module for the patient-care team and one for the provider team to see how it works.
The Patient-Care Team: Inbound Calls
It takes a lot of marketing money to get a potential patient to call. They most likely waited years to make that call. You both have a vested interest in this call going well. But how well it goes is up to your team, not the caller.
Effectively navigating an inbound call is a process. Fortunately, it’s also a skill that can be learned. And done well, it’s a simple, healthy conversation, which reflects well on your brand image. A good starting point is these three steps for turning calls into appointments.
Those three steps are, by themselves, a powerful piece of the puzzle. But you can take it even further, and that’s where PFL really shines.
Determine if they’re seeking care
As part of PFL, your team is trained on the subtle ways to determine who is a potential patient and who isn’t. Not recognizing a potential patient leads to a missed opportunity to schedule an appointment. Assuming someone is a potential patient when they’re not leads to wasted time for both of you — and could annoy the caller.
Build the conversation on a strong foundation
The cornerstone of our inbound-call process is our Patient Experience Guide. It’s a tool that details the 24 key building blocks (divided into five categories) of a successful call and how to effectively use them. It’s built on over 15 years of data showing that following these best practices results in higher chances of setting an appointment with a prospect.
Create a memorable experience
Remember, when done efficiently, an inbound call is simply a healthy conversation. The PFL process is built on principles, not scripts. Each of your front-office team members practices working with the principles through role-play, then brings their own personality and strengths to each interaction. They build the potential patient’s confidence, keep them engaged, and keep their needs at the center of the conversation.
Determine their consumer perspective
This is key to effectively navigating these conversations. As part of PFL, your front-office team will learn about the four consumer perspectives: Transactional callers just want the bottom line. Informational callers want the details. Relationship callers want to be heard and understood. Partnership callers want to be involved.
For example, your team will role-play how to identify a transactional caller. This caller seems like a price shopper, but they’re not. They want to know if the perceived benefits are worth the cost. They see a lot of ads focused on cost — not service — so that’s how they’re approaching the conversation.
To the transactional caller, value has become synonymous with price. Your team trains on how to change the caller’s perceived benefits of hearing care to change their perception of its value. When they can do that, the appointment is all but booked.
The Provider Team: Overcoming Objections
The patient most likely waited years to call your practice. Something in their life is now important enough to them that they sought out professional hearing care.
But that was a first step. And it’s easy to take that same step backward in the form of objections to any treatment suggestions. Here’s where that meeting of the minds is needed. The provider team role-plays helping a patient see the value, not the investment.
Identify the type of objection
Patients have many ways of expressing their objections. In the PFL process, your providers are trained to identify the core of the objection, then categorize it one of five ways. This provides a clear starting point for moving forward and surmounting any objection.
This process is not about agreeing with them or reinforcing their concern. It’s about encouraging open conversation.
Validate their concerns
The PFL process trains your providers to use a helpful framework for validating concerns. It’s not about agreeing with the patient or reinforcing their objection — the point is to encourage an open conversation.
The first step is clarifying. To understand their true concern, some discovery is necessary. Your team trains on asking questions that tease out more detail about the patient’s concern, so everyone is on the same page.
The second step is acknowledging the objection. This is crucial. Otherwise, the patient thinks the agenda is more important than their concerns. Your provider team role-plays taking the time to build trust with this step, so the patient feels heard and understood. This makes the patient more receptive to what follows.
The third step is motivating them. With education, they start to imagine what’s possible, and their perspective broadens. Your providers train in getting the patient to start imagining what’s possible and how the recommendation best meets their needs.
The final step is asking. This part of the training focuses on formulating a question at the end of the motivation step that moves the conversation forward. This changes the dynamic and puts the provider back in the driver’s seat. The question should be based on what’s important to them, and it should get them ready to move forward.
Putting Your Team Through Their Paces
The sections above on inbound calling and overcoming objections are a tiny taste of what happens through the PFL program.
The dialed-in, comprehensive curriculum ensures every member of your team can provide a remarkable experience at each and every patient interaction — and still move the patient along to their best outcome.
Your front-office staff is put through the paces on everything from first impressions to warranty-expiration calls.
Your providers cover everything from the ideal consultation process to best practices for wooing back those tested-not-treated patients.
In fact, the events are a little like a professional-development boot camp. There are no wallflowers — your entire team role-plays, putting the skills they’ve learned into practice. They reflect on their current habits and skills to determine where they need improvement or even a simple fine-tuning. Peer discussions serve as both team-building and a way to further internalize the teachings.
When you return to your practice, you can get further coaching, on-site training, and more.
Don’t Take Our Word for It
“You cannot afford not to attend. The strategic process and role-play along with e-patient® implementation builds an experience that sets us apart as providers. Through studies and esteemed professionals at Audigy, this process has been proven over and over when used to set you apart from other providers. We are excited to implement this process along with e-patient to personalize the experience we offer our local community! Practice, practice, practice!“
—Melissa Bartlett, HIS, Owner | Hear Sound, Inc.
“The investment was so worth it. My practice took what was taught at the Patients for Life seminar, and it has created phenomenal results. Thank you and your team for giving my practice a way to not only help our patients, but to sustain the practice financially.”
—Dr. Mark Welch, D.O., FAOCO | Ear, Nose, Throat and Allergy Center
Are you ready to provide remarkable care at every single patient interaction?
What’s New in PFL?
Old hat at PFL? Been there, done that? Not so fast!
The next generation of PFL is a completely reimagined, interactive approach to teaching the process that empowers everyone on your team to elevate the patient experience.
- Updated consultation process builds even stronger patient connections
- Increased focus on providing a remarkable fitting experience
- Improved collateral to make patient interactions even easier
- Experience-recovery training for interactions with dissatisfied patients
- Refocused patient-arrival process to elevate the experience
- Support and guidance with email communication
- Simplified patient-care calls for easier implementation
- New engagement to help learners apply and retain knowledge
- More focused next steps to implement key learnings