Who is the most important person in your business? Seriously, think about that for a second.
Do you think it is you? The nurse practitioner entrepreneur who sees the patients and runs the back end?
It is the first point of contact for potential patients. If that is you, as it should when you first start a niche side practice, then yes, you are the most important person in your business. On the other hand, if it is a receptionist or a medical assistant, then that person is literally the most important person in your business.
First impressions are huge. Excellent customer service is huge. Being knowledgeable about your products and services is huge. Essentially, the person who answers the phone or responds to a potential patient’s email is the deciding factor for that potential patient to become a real patient or to never be seen again.
This person is CRITICAL to your practice’s success. Come on, every single person reading this has called a business and was met with rudeness at some point in their life. Did you end up becoming a paying customer? I highly doubt it. The same is true for your practice.
When you are first getting started, you can answer your own phone, therefore this should not be an issue because you genuinely care about your business. As you get busier though, you will need to stop focusing on busy work and focus on income generating work, which will require you to begin delegating work to others. When this happens, you need to ensure you choose the correct employee. Your practice depends on it.
This person needs to be kind, personable, have a great telephone voice/personality, smart, and knowledgeable about what you are doing. One of the most important characteristics of this employee though, is that they need to show you that they actually care about your practice’s success.
Listen, no one is EVER going to care about your business as much as you do, that is a FACT of entrepreneurism… But you can find people who do care, and that is a trait that should be the real deciding factor when hiring the point of first contact.
How can you determine if this person cares? Ask them how they went above and beyond in school and in other jobs. If you have any sense to you, you should be able to tell if the response is truthful or just BS. If you believe it is truthful, then you should be able to assess how much they cared about previous jobs.
Always follow up that question with “why did you leave?” Someone who cares just doesn’t leave a job for no reason, which is something you need to know. If the person genuinely cared about the former employer, then the reason they left usually has to do with a life event like a move. If they left because “they wanted to see what other opportunities there were out there”, then they were unhappy in the job and didn’t care. Be wary of these folks, they tend to jump around jobs. This should be evident on their resume.
It still blows my mind when I am reviewing medical assistant resumes and they never stay in one job more than 6 months… Why the hell would I even CONSIDER interviewing you?
Anyways, once you find that person who genuinely cares about their job and your practices success, lock that in with some sort of incentive bonus. People will work harder and care more if they are incentivized for it! I offered a $3 an hour raise to my medical assistant at my second men’s health clinic at the 3-4 month mark if she helped me grow the practice. This helps her care, and so far, she is doing well.
If the point of contact is doing a good job, you will know. You will schedule a steady stream of new patients and typically the patients will tell you how much they enjoyed talking with your point of contact or how they were so polite and professional. These comments will tell you a lot about their performance. If you never receive any comments, you might want to call your own practice posing as a new patient and gauge their “care level.”
Remember, the point of contact is the most important person in your business. You need new patients as a practice. It is how you grow and generate revenue. If the point of contact is throwing away leads, then you are wasting your marketing dollars, tarnishing your name, and delaying your success. So, ensure this point of contact cares, your practice depends on it!