Practice Management News and Views from around the World – August 2015

Things Dogs Teach Us

Cut Meeting Time - and Make 'GRIT' Happen!

From an article by Laurie Sudbrink and published on the Entrepreneur website

Ah, the dreaded office meeting: When you hear that word meeting, what pops into your mind? Most of us who have experienced too many unproductive ones will say, “waste of time!” And that would be true. Too often, meetings are inefficient, unproductive and disorganized.

But before we go into how to improve meetings, let’s first remind ourselves of why they are important. Meetings help people stay on track. Meetings are necessary before projects, and at the end of projects. They’re where we share the company/project vision, roll out the plans, clarify expectations and desired results and make sure everyone is up to date.

Meetings are also where we learn from the past by discovering what went wrong, what went right and what we should do differently next time. Effective meetings improve productivity, rather than detract from it.

To decrease the amount of time we spend in meetings and to increase their effectiveness, try using GRIT to pave the way. GRIT entails using truth as a foundation, aligned with integrity and combined with respect for self and others. All of that is then devoted to the achievement of the goal generosity.

Some definitions:

Truth

Know the purpose of the meeting. Is a meeting really necessary? What needs to be covered? Has an agenda with targeted outcomes been created? Prioritize the items in order of importance.

Integrity

Stay aligned with the purpose of the meeting. Make sure the right people are included. Don’t invite people who aren’t needed. For those you are unsure about, help decide if they need to be there. Stick to the agenda -- use a parking lot for things outside it. Follow through on items from the previous meeting and make new action items. Tackle the most important items first. Start and end on time.

Respect

Be objective and inclusive. Have attendees turn off gadgets so they can be "present." Give everyone an opportunity to weigh in; acknowledging people helps them buy-in. Solicit and respect all opinions and views. Manage "off-topic" remarks. Be mindful of everyone’s time: Stick to the schedule, keep things flowing and keep the agenda on topic and on time. Enforce accountability, and make the tough decisions, so people will respect you.

Generosity

Set up the meeting for success. Think of everything attendees need to have, to be successful. Give them all required information promptly. Make the event enjoyable while keeping things on track. Impose a "disruption fee" for anyone who is late, takes calls, texts or is otherwise distracted.

Implement GRIT into your meetings, and you’ll notice people stepping up, taking accountability and producing more efficient and effective results immediately.

You can click here to visit the entrepreneur website

AVBA Conference 2015

The 2015 Annual AVBA Conference will be heading back to the exciting venue located in Melbourne’s Docklands. The fantastic venue is located at 700 Bourke Street. It is the pivotal workplace for National Australia Bank (NAB) and is the perfect place to bring like-minded people together to learn from each other and grow their businesses.

Located between Southern Cross Station and Etihad Stadium, the venue is close to Melbourne’s main transport networks and is surrounded by a large number of modern buildings, public spaces and artworks. 700 Bourke Street is a stunning architecturally designed, multi-functional venue. The Arena is a 250 seat theatrette located on the Concourse level. The Arena is specifically designed to encourage collaboration, knowledge sharing and innovation. A short trip up the escalator to the Sky Lobby is where you’ll find The Hall, a 250 seat gathering space.

Melbourne is certainly the perfect location to explore if you can steal a few days from your busy schedule! Why not bring your family and take a holiday before or after the conference?


Tips for Improving your Website Design

From an article by Amandeep Budwal published on the VetDynamics website

How frustrating is it when you are on a website and it's difficult to navigate around, find important information like a contact number, a service or even just to be able to read something?

Over the course of working in Marketing I have come across some excellent websites but there are still a lot of bad sites out there. As a visitor of a website I just want to find what I am looking for and if I don't find what I am looking for in less than a minute then I am most likely to ditch your website and move on.

A professional logo

Your logo is an important part of your branding, so make sure it is prominently on your site. It is best to feature your logo on the top left hand side of your website and on every page. A good rule is of thumb is to have your logo link back to the homepage of your website so that visitors can easily navigate to it.

A visible contact number

Now this might seem like an obvious thing but I have come across sites where I have had to look high and low for a contact number and eventually I find it on the bottom of the page somewhere in a bunch of text! Make this noticeable on all of your pages and not just on your contact page. Make it easy for your existing and potential customers to contact you. Design each page so that key information such as a contact number is on there.

Navigation

Getting around a website can get very frustrating especially when the navigation is inconsistent. Imagine going to a restaurant and the waiter hands you several different menus. One for appetisers, one for mains, one for drinks and one for desserts. If that isn’t annoying enough, imagine if each of those menus had a different format and layout in which it listed all the items. I really don’t want to work hard at picking my dinner, I’m hungry and just want a meal. Make life easy for your visitors, they are also hungry for useful information and don’t want to be working hard by having to learn your navigation system each time they enter another section of your website and to be honest they will be even more impatient and once again most probably leave your website and go elsewhere.

Overall design

A website should be clean, consistent in the look and feel and easy to read. It can become quite easy these days to overload your website with images and content. You don’t want to overdo it to a point where our brains stop processing information with all the clutter but for the visitor to focus on the important part of the page. Keeping the look and feel the same on each page is key. When a website is inconsistent and changes from one page to another it makes me feel as if I’m visiting a different website or even a different company/business. This can be very confusing for the visitor. It is also important to use colours that compliment your logo so that your marketing material is consistent which can also make it easy to recognise a business. One last thing I would like to touch on which is very important is responsive design. Responsive design is providing the user with an easy viewing and reading experience across a range of devices e.g. computer screens, tablets and mobiles. Responsive design has changed a lot over the years. Typically websites were designed specifically for laptop and desktop screens. We now live in a world where nearly every person owns a mobile and anybody with a smart phone will use their phone to access the web, so we need to be thinking “mobile first”. Mobile web browsing is growing greatly and it isn’t a trend nor the future but now, in the present.

You can click here to visit the VetDynamics website

Three Simple Steps

From an article by Diederik Gelderman and published in his TutrbochargeYourPractice online blog

I was recently 'eavesdropping' in a practice in California and saw a Receptionist turn a disastrous Customer Service situation into a winner.

She used THREE Simple Steps to do this.

An incredible piece of Marketing!

I was in the practice and I was at the reception area and I saw a lady who went up to one of the receptionists and started complaining about the fact that dog food that she ordered that hadn’t come in. She was really really upset. The dog is a really old dog and it only eats a special food. And if it misses out on the food at all, she would die – so the owner thought.

She was at the reception desk and was really unhappy. She wasn’t yelling or screaming. She was just visibly VERY distressed about the health of her dog.

Let me tell you what happened.

As I heard her complain, I wanted to lean in and listen to that conversation because I was there to help them with their customer service. So, this was exactly what I was after.

The receptionist passed this problem on to the lead receptionist because she was really out of depth and not sure what to do.

The lead receptionist asked this owner to talk through the problem again - the special order that was supposed to be in by 2 o’clock today and it hadn’t come in.

She used a series of VERY careful steps and the effect was WOW.

She heard the story. The client explained the story. And the lead receptionist leaned in and gave the lady a light touch on her arm.

That was the first of the three steps

Some physical contact to build that relationship, build that rapport. Then she said, “I can really understand how you feel. I am really distressed on your behalf that this has happened.” That was the first thing: empathy and the light touch.

And then came the second piece of magic.  The magic words were We can fix it’. We can fix it.”

As she said those magic words, the lady’s attitude visibly relaxed and she visibly became calmer. You could see the redness go out of the face. You could almost see her heart rate drop.

And then, she came up with the third part of the solution. She said, It is 2 o'clock now - we can get this product in by four o’ clock this afternnon"

Then she said Would you permit me if I delivered this product for you as soon as it arrives this afternoon?

At this point, the lady’s mouth fell open. Would I permit you? Oh my golly gosh, of course I would permit you. These were thoughts that we running through her head. Would you permit me to bring this product around to your place this afternoon and drop it off?

That was an amazing customer service experience even for someone as experienced as I am.

You and I both know that this lady is going to now be a raving fan of that practice and to tell every friend she has about the awesome experience she had today in this practice – about 10 or so face-to-face – and HUNDREDS on Social Media

This dear reader is MARKETING!!.

So, the take-home message is this; how can you copy that amazing customer service process that I saw in that practice here in San Diego today? And how can you implement that in your practice? It’s time for a team meeting guys to see how you could implement this Moment of Truth

​You can click here to visit the TurbochargeYourPractice website

Why software fails in veterinary practice: You

Bad data entry is losing revenue and wrecking patient records in your animal hospital. Here's how to fix it.

From an article by Jeff Rothstein DVM MBA published in the DVM360 website

“Garbage in, garbage out”—that’s what I think every time we update prices in our veterinary practice software. When you start to examine your software’s treatment and inventory lists, you may quickly realize there’s a lot of junk in the files: outdated entries, wrong fees, wrong codes, etc.

Here’s just one hypothetical example of a costly price mistake: Hospital ABC carries three ear infection medications. The pricing protocol requires you to apply a special “P” inventory code to add a $12.50 pharmacy fee for prescription medications. One day, the practice owner notices on an invoice that a particular dermatologic solution seems to be cheaper than she remembers. The solution was invoiced at $28.50 because no P was applied—the cost should be $40.

This three-doctor practice uses approximately five bottles a week—that’s 250 per year. One year’s loss equals $3,125, which could be $10,000 to $15,000 over the next few years. The mistake could be attributed to a simple oversight or a team member mixing up the reasoning behind the handling fees (medication counted out vs. the pharmacy fee applied to all prescription medications).

Bring order to the chaos with these four steps:

Lock down duties

Designate one team member to be your data entry specialist. In a perfect world, this will be a long-term employee because consistency in this position is important. The data entry specialist needs to understand your philosophy on pricing as well as what treatments and inventory receive codes for pharmacy fees, injection fees, quantity discounts and minimum fees.

Data entry specialists need to be able to make changes to your password-protected price and treatment lists. There’s not much risk of embezzlement because this is just one function they have access to and it doesn’t really impact actual intake of funds. A manager or practice owner should still spot-check on occasion.

Start doing checks

Your new data entry expert should double-check and verify a few sections of your inventory and treatment list once a week or once a month. Emphasize to your team to be on the lookout for oddities in codes and fees. Your team members are your eyes and ears and often notice any changes or issues.

Cut the Fat

The data specialist shouldn’t be shy about removing outdated codes or making them obsolete. Remember, though, that removing a code means you can no longer search to see how it was used. The code will usually remain in clients’ medical records but won’t show up on financial reports anymore. Lab results can be lost forever when a lab code is removed. At my practices, our procedure is to use preset codes in the veterinary software to render the unused codes obsolete.

Make price updates a time for rechecks

Use the time to do a thorough review of your codes when you update your practice prices

You can  click here to visit the DVM360.com website