How hospice has changed since the movement began! Back at the beginning, there was no competition, because there wasn’t any money. But today competition is fierce, and requires that we as leaders re-imagine and upgrade our relationships with our clients, our communities, our donors and our referrers. Beyond offering superb care, delivered consistently, and unfailingly going above and beyond what is expected, how can you stand out from other providers in your market?
Last time, I offered up the first five of these ten ways to thrive in an increasingly competitive market; here are five more.
1. Know what your community really wants. Often hospices offer programs they think are important but which may not really meet the needs of their community. Great organizations get to know intimately what their customers want. That means spending time talking with patients and families, not just sending out a survey.
2. Know what your referrers really want. Spend some time in physician offices sitting at the desk with the nurse who answers the incoming calls; learn what kinds of issues they are faced with, and how you can help support them in the job that they are trying to do for their patients.
3. How do you handle complaints? If you have complaints without proper follow-up, your competitors will have the edge on you. Have a proactive way to deal with service failures and customer complaints. Every interaction matters.
4. Know what your market share is. There are data mining groups that can tell you exactly what percentage of potential patients are using your services, and what percentage are using your competitors’. If you believe you are the “BEST”, then why is someone else serving patients?
5. Know where you stand with your referral sources. Invest in getting a third-party consultant to do a market assessment, to identify how easy or difficult it is for physicians and referral sources to work with your program. Listen to that feedback and make adjustments. Why a third party? Often people who work with you will be hesitant to voice complaints directly.
Continue to stand out from the competition and shine!