We are in the people business.
That means you can’t run a private practice by email. Nor should you for we are dealing with people.
Reluctantly, that lead to one of the MHM clients having to dismiss his secretary in October 2019.
I’m one of the worst for trying to do things as efficiently as possible.
If I can’t see the point of doing something efficiently, I won’t do it.
But that does not mean I won’t answer the phone and speak both to patients and/or clients for they deserve some respect.
Ultimately, they pay my fees so they definitely deserve my respect.
It may not be the most efficient way of spending my time but nonetheless, if I don’t, I don’t make money. Simple really.
Yet the secretary referred to earlier didn’t understand that.
She was firmly of the opinion EVERYTHING could be done by email.
From answering a patient query to booking a patient consultation, everything had to be done (literally) by email.
When I called, the phone wasn’t answered. There was a message advising me to email her instead.
Potential or existing patients heard the same.
When she did reply – by email obviously – (normally the next day and that bugged me), her answer was often ambiguous. Thus another email was sent.
Another 24 hours and I received a second email that may or may not have resolved my issue.
Quite frankly if I had been a patient looking to book a consultation with her surgeon, I would not have been impressed that nobody could be bothered to even speak to me.
When I finally got to speak to her and complained she never answered the phone her response was magical.
She hadn’t got time to answer the phone because she had all these emails coming in.
So I risked certain death and pointed out, she was getting all these emails BECAUSE she wasn’t answering the phone.
Between January 2019 and September 2019, this particular MHM client’s practice hadn’t grown; indeed it had got smaller.
So much smaller that the client could no longer afford to employ a secretary and, instead, asked his wife to take over.
His wife started to answer the phone AND answer emails.
The number of emails reduced dramatically.
Patient numbers for October, November and December 2019 increased.
Thus far in 2020, patient numbers are going up again.
p.s. what inspired me to write this particular blog was a phone call I took from a patient this afternoon. I answered the phone and the very first thing the patient said was?
“Oh. You are a human being! I thought I’d get connected to a machine and have to press numerous buttons”
Think about that for a second, please?