Why your technician hat won’t always work
When I started working in private practice 11 years ago, clients were referred, they were seen, they were written about, they were billed, they were compliant with rebooking, and they had good outcomes. Like many, I assumed their good outcome in my opinion means they had a great experience. But did they? – No, most likely not always!
They didn’t have a great experience just because they had what I considered a good clinical outcome. I didn’t look at their overall experience as a client in my service. Once I got a little wiser and looked into this, I realised the other important aspects of what my clients were also wanting. Without looking into this, we run the risk of just assuming clients are happy with their outcome. We are looking inward from a ‘technician’ perspective only. This is damaging to our brand and also our position in healthcare nowadays.
Healthcare is changing all the time, and phew! for that because not long ago occupational therapists, like me, where still known as 'basket weavers'. Yes, we have changes coming through the NDIS, but alongside that, healthcare is also experiencing increased consumerism and a push for client-centered care. This is due to varying factors, but largely to do with the internet, increase in economic responsibility on the consumer and the rise of new competition.
We know from research of customer feedback that clients do not like to be kept waiting. They want healthcare providers who are happy to listen, problem solve and communicate clearly. They also want to have a say in decisions that affect their lives. It is important that we form a connection with our clients.
Technology is shaping the customer experience
What do people do online?
The most popular activity is checking email. The second is using a search engine. And the third? Looking for answers to health questions.
We are also benchmarked against other industries. The hospitality industry, banking, travel, and so on. As they increase their digital processes and experiences for their consumers, and their personal approach to customer feedback and improvements, there is a growing expectation that the healthcare industry offers similar.
WHAT are we MISSING?
Michael Gerber, author of "The E-Myth," writes in detail about the concept of why people in business do not succeed. He says, “most entrepreneurs are technicians who have had an entrepreneurial seizure". That is, clinicians and practitioners like us, woke up one morning and decided to open a practice. We decided as clinicians we are great at what we are trained in, and therefore, that we are suitable to be in private practice or running a service. The only problem is that we run it in the mind of the technician. This will not work in the current or future healthcare environment. Michael Gerber tells us that we need to also operate as manager and entrepreneur, not just as technician in our practice. I completely agree.
We don’t create great systems to manage our services. Without systems in place, we lack consistency, efficiency and our reputation can suffer. We don’t create innovative ways for consumers to find us, engage with us and participate in our services. We are not working toward a strategic goal with strategic steps – we are plodding along really busy in our technical work but lacking the other business mindsets that we need – these are that of the manager and that of the entrepreneur. It is so imperative we make the time in our daily diaries to work as managers and as entrepreneurs in our services.
For the same reason that we cannot run a practice just as a technician, we cannot market from a technician’s mind. We simply cannot continue to market to consumers in a clinical voice. This is not helpful. When we do this, we make the fatal mistake of assuming people understand our world. If people do not understand us, they cannot connect.
Take some time this week to embrace the manager and entrepreneur within. Review your vision, make a checklist of the systems you have in place already and those you might need, and start to think about the other values your customers might be looking for.