Last month we shared a blog on ways that your practice might be losing revenue. This month we want to delve deeper into one particular reason that you might be losing money. It is something that you, as a business owner or manager, may intuitively know but it is not always easy to quantify.
That reason is a poorly trained staff. For a medical practice a well-trained staff might be the most valuable asset. More so than any piece of medical or office equipment.
For many practices, the doctors are the face of the practice. However, the front-line and support staff are the ones that your patients interact with the most. So even if a patient’s visit with the doctor goes well, they can have an overall bad experience if they are treated poorly, they feel they or their time was not respected, or they do not get the information they need.
This can lead to many short- and long-term problems.
Let’s examine some symptoms of a poorly trained staff and some of the consequences.
- Poor Customer Service – For some, this might be the easiest symptom to diagnose. Good customer service is vital to the success of any business, regardless of the industry. However, due to the importance of good health, it can be argued that good customer service matters more in medicine. If your patients feel like they are being mistreated or that they are not getting the service they deserve, chances are they will not be your patients much longer. Additionally word might get out that patients who visit your practice are treated poorly. This will make it tougher to attract new patients to replace the ones you are losing.
- Poor Performance and Low Productivity – This particular symptom is tough to diagnose because the effects happen over time. If your staff is not properly trained, then mistakes happen more frequently. This often results in tasks having to be reworked, which prevents your staff from working on the tasks they should be working on. These mistakes will also impact the quality of service you provide to your patients.
- Unsafe Work Environment – This symptom has the most dire consequences. Safety for both your patients and employees should be a top priority. However if mistakes are being made on a regular basis, then the chances for an accident resulting in some sort of injury go up. This can lead to any number of negative impacts for your practice from poor publicity to even legal action.
- Low Morale and High Turnover – Low morale generally plays a factor in the previous three symptoms. Unhappy staff are more likely to provide subpar customer service, perform poorly, and cause more mistakes which can lead to accidents. Eventually unhappy employees will quit or their poor performance will lead to termination. In either case you will need to take the time (and money) to hire and train a new employee. This is time and money that cannot be used to grow your business.
The effects of a poorly trained staff are not always immediately apparent. Nor are they always easy to quantify. That is why it is important to take the lead and ensure that your staff is properly trained BEFORE issues can arise. If you are seeing problems, then it is incumbent on you to diagnose what the issues are and come up with an action plan to correct them.