Archive for month: October, 2014

Friendly Staff Killing Revenue

Categories: Articles

A physician called us last week for advice. It was urgent. His concern was about a slump in new patient appointments. After talking things through, it turns out that this large group practice was answering tough competition in the marketplace with a solid marketing plan. (A good thing.) In fact, the phone was ringing. (Also good.)

He explained that they were getting additional inbound inquiry calls, but not booking many additional appointments. (Oops!) Calls, but not appointments? The “wound” was obvious.

This practice was bleeding away new business at the front desk. The front line was blowing sales opportunities just by answering the phone. And with a typical case size of $3,000-$4,500, it was a huge problem for this practice.

Unfortunately, there’s more to this tale. While the diagnosis was easily understood, our prescription to stop the bleeding met with resistance at first.

“Training for the front desk?” was their reaction. “These are nice people, they’re not rude on the phone.” In fact, the people who answer the phone were pleasant enough. They simply had no training or experience in handling inbound calls. Along with being pleasant, it takes a little sales savvy, an understanding of the caller’s perspective and a few useful tools to convert an inquiry into a first visit appointment.

Their root objection turned out to be the cost of training for the front desk staff. After all, “How hard can it be to pick up the phone?” Compared to the loss of business (roughly $3k-$4500 per case), the math was easy and the training solution was truly worthwhile. Proper training is really a cost-effective business investment. In this case, as with most, it not only saves the new patient opportunity from being lost on the phone, it protects the invested advertising budget and delivers a better Return-on-Investment.

If any of this sounds familiar to you, we should talk. It’s alarming, but 90 percent of practices and healthcare organizations lose money when they answer the phone, particularly when it comes to advertising generated inquiries.

Connect with Zac to see if your friendly team… are too friendly and killing revenue. 

Zac Wright
Difference Maker
(Z) 470.255.2454
(O) 888.296.9545
(F) 866.356.0279
Schedule time:

Why Millennials Resist Any Kind of Insurance

Categories: Articles

Young adults are the most underinsured generation of our time, which makes sense—up to a point.

Millennials are the most underinsured generation alive today—which makes a certain amount of sense. They have relatively few assets or dependents to protect. Still, the gaps in coverage are striking and offer further evidence that this generation has been unusually slow to launch.

Roughly one in four adults aged 18 to 29 do not have health insurance, twice the rate of all other adults, according to a survey from, a financial website. (Other surveys have found lower uninsured rates, but this age group is still the most likely to go without.) Millennials are also far less likely to have auto, life, homeowners, renters, and disability coverage.

Young adults have always been slow to buy insurance. They often feel invincible when it comes to potential health or financial setbacks. But something additional appears to be at work here. This generation has famously overprotective parents who awarded them trophies just for showing up. Millennials may view moving back home or calling Mom and Dad for a bailout as their personal no-cost, all-purpose insurance plan.

Millions of young adults routinely boomerang home after college or get other family financial support. The trend is so broad that psychologists have given this new life phase a name: emerging adulthood, a period that lasts to age 28 or 30. MONEY explores this trend, and its costs, in the September issue reaching homes this week. Remarkably, the parents of boomerang kids don’t seem to mind providing the extended support.

A quarter of parents supporting an adult child say they have taken on additional debt; 13% have delayed a life event, such as taking a dream vacation; and 7% have delayed retirement, the National Endowment for Financial Education found. Yet 80% of such parents in a Bank of America Merrill Lynch survey say helping is “the right thing to do,” and 60% are willing to work longer, 40% to go back to work, and 36% to live with less if that’s what it takes to help their adult kids.

“Millennials have had very supportive parents throughout their life,” says Laura Adams, senior insurance analyst at “When you don’t have a fear of the unknown, a fear of life’s what-ifs, you are not likely to think about insurance.”

Yet young people overlook certain types of insurance at their peril—even though these policies may be relatively inexpensive. Most striking is how many skip health insurance, even though the Affordable Care Act mandates coverage and allows children up to age 26 to remain on a parent’s plan. Millions more young people now have health coverage as a result, recent studies have found, and their uninsured rate has dropped. But, still, as many as one in four still go without.

This may be classic pushback against a law young adults see as unfair. They understand that their insurance premiums subsidize the health benefits of older Americans who are far more likely to need care. Yet if Mom and Dad won’t pick up the bill, a visit to the ER can cost $1,000 or more for even a simple ailment. Things get much more expensive for broken bones and other treatments that even the young may need. Among other findings:

  • 64% of millennials have auto insurance, compared to 84% of older generations. Many millennials may have decided to skip car ownership. But if you rent a car or borrow one from your roommate, you have liability. It probably pays to have your own policy, which might cost $30 a month.
  • 10% of millennials have homeowners insurance, compared to more than half of those aged 30 to 49 and 75% of those 65 and older. Fewer millennials own a house, for sure. But this generation isn’t buying renters insurance either: only 12% have it. Renters insurance is cheap: $10 to $15 a month, and it comes in handy not only when someone steals your bike from the storage area but also if Fido bites a neighbor.
  • 13% of millennials have disability insurance, compared with 37% of those 30 to 49. This kind of coverage costs around $30 a month and may seem unnecessary. Yet one in three working adults will miss at least three months of work at least once in their life due to illness, Adams says, adding, “Anyone can throw out their back.”
  • 36% of millennials have life insurance, compared with 60% of those 30 to 49. Again, this coverage is relatively cheap: around $20 a month for $500,000 of term life. If you have no dependents you might skip it. But if you have debt that Mom and Dad co-signed, you should have enough coverage to retire the debt. It’s only fair, given your parents’ years of extended financial support.

Provided by Joshua C. Harper, CFP®, CLU®, of WealthMD (877-Our-MDPlan or

Earning Gold Stars for Local Google Reviews Raises Your Search Ranking

Categories: Articles

Remember those gold stars you earned as a kid? They can still play an important part in your business’s life. But instead of putting gold stars up on your refrigerator, you put them up on your website for getting highly rated Google reviews that can raise your local search ranking on Google and other search engines.

Phil Rozek, a Massachusetts-based blogger and consultant, writes: “’Google reviews’ — which customers write through their Google Plus pages — are even more important than reviews written on other sites, like Yelp and CitySearch. Having Google reviews tends to generate more clicks from potential customers. Those goldstars catch your eye. Also, the reviews your customers write are automatically shared with their friends (the people in their Google Plus ‘Circles’). Not only can this result in extra visibility for you in ‘social media,’ but some of your customers’ friends may live nearby — which means they’re your potential customers as well.”

While Google is king of the search hill, every review site is important. At NicheLabs, we have a letter that our clients with local search programs can invite their customers to submit a review. Once you get to an initial level of reviews, gold stars appear with Google searches improving both search rankings and motivate action. The letter, which includes clickable icons for Google, Yelp, YP (Yellow Pages), Facebook and LinkedIn, has instructions for providing reviews at each site.

Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to get a good customer review and gold stars. Valid reviews must be written by customers in their own words, and you can’t pay for them with money, goods or services. But you can encourage them.

Rozek says giving clear instructions is the first step for getting Google reviews that warrant 4 or 5 gold stars. “No frustration or guesswork for them—or you,” he writes. He lists several conditions for review which help keep the review process honest.

  • Customers must have a Google+ account to write a review and must use their real names. This prevents anonymous reviews, which can be open to question or fraud.
  • Customers need to post the reviews themselves, through their Google+ accounts
  • Google has “filters” designed to prevent spammy or shill reviews from being posted.
  • A few of the factors that matter to the “review filter” seem to be:
    • Whether customers try to post reviews at an unnatural pace
    • How many reviews a given person has written previously,
    • The wording of the review
    • The user’s location (IP address)

We find these conditions to be consistent with Google’s rules for SEO.

Rozek’s post lists the following best practices for getting Google reviews and other reviews – that can lead to gold stars and better search ranking:

  • Ask everyone for a review, not just your diehard, happiest customers.
  • Don’t insist that people write you a review on Google+ Local, to the exclusion of other sites.
  • Ask for honest feedback and don’t ask for a specific rating.
  • Don’t ask a bunch of customers at once to post reviews.
  • Expect a few lukewarm reviews or stinkers.
  • Don’t incentivize. Not only is it against the rules, but makes you look as though you’re desperate.
  • Don’t get greedy and insist that any one customer review you on more than one site.
  • Don’t delegate the requesting of the reviews to someone out-of-house.
  • Respond to reviews – positive as well as negative.
  • Don’t stop asking for reviews – ever.

Requesting Google reviews and reviews on other sites carry the risk you’ll get a bad one, including a bad review that may not be true. Not that you want such a review, the public does accept and expect these. Nobody’s perfect; some customers are ‘sensitive or unreasonable.’ 4 gold stars or 4.5 gold stars is about as good as 5 gold stars Actually, this is a great opportunity to show you care and listen. Use these opportunities to reply publicly that you want to fix this and how to contact you. A few days later, post an update, including if the customer did not attempt to contact you.

Getting Google reviews may seem like a daunting task, but a good business can get lots of gold stars and good search rankings once you have your process in place. That’s where NicheLabs comes in. We are a full-service agency for businesses that don’t have a CMO or VP of Marketing or that don’t have the people or time to develop websites, manage SEO and digital/ direct marketing campaigns.

We can help you set up a review process and provide you with the materials you need to make it easy for your customers to give you good Google reviews and reviews on other sites – or we can contact the customers on your behalf and save you time and effort. We can help you make it part of your digital marketing program, and as part of your marketing team, we can create the channels for pushing out your strategic content and work with you to get the information out to your targeted market.

For more tips and insights about attracting more business through organic searches, connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter or subscribe to our monthly newsletter to read summaries of our weekly posts.

Get the gold stars and search ranking you’ve worked so hard to earn. And while we’re at it, we’d love to talk about your other outsourcing needs and lend a hand there, too.. To speak with our team, please Email us at, call 888.978.9254, or if you are mobile, visit us on your smartphone.

What Compliance Features Should I Look For When Buying A Call Recording Solution

Categories: Articles

When organizations invest in call recording and quality management systems, it is important that they understand the impact this technology has on their current compliance processes. Most companies are required to be compliant with government or industry regulations and likely have processes in place to protect sensitive data captured in desktop applications. Sensitive data includes credit card information, patient health information and other personally identifiable information. Recording conversations where this data is being captured creates a new multimedia file that also needs to be protected. These multimedia files contain both audio (call recording) and video (screen recording) representations of the sensitive data. It is important that your recording solution has the tools to protect the information in these audio and video files, and maintain compliance.

The following elements need to be included in the recording and quality management system:

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) – SSL is a cryptographic protocol used with web-based applications. The ability to use SSL to communicate with the recording application will further enhance a solution’s ability to protect the multimedia data.

Access Control Lists – Access Control Lists are used to establish individual and group rights to the application, features and data in the Call Recording system. The multiple permission layers typically leverage a unique user ID and strong password issued by directory service, such as Microsoft Active Directory.

Scrubbing – Scrubbing is the act of permanently removing information from an audio or video file. Scrubbing tools are an important part of protecting the organization from having to retain and maintain sensitive information.

Pausing – Pausing is very similar to Scrubbing. However, instead of removing the sensitive audio or video segments from the recording, the recording is simply paused during the part of the call where protected information is shared and then resumes the recording when notified.

Encryption – Encryption is another method for protecting recorded data. With full or partial encryption the privileged content is encoded (256-bit, AES) so that only users with the passcode can view and listen to the recorded interaction.

Audit Logs – Audit logs are required by PCI, HIPAA and other regulatory organizations. Audit Logs capture all administrative and user activity within the system including who accessed a file and what actions were taken.

Recording Archival – Retention policies of the recordings may vary in different businesses and industries and these are often changed over time. An optimum solution allows for multiple recording and retention programs. For instance, an agent quality management program may only require a recording be kept for 1 year, while laws requiring retention of “verbal consents” or Telephonic Signatures may need to be kept for up to 7 years.

Provided by Paul Mancini, Clear Choice Telephones, Inc. (678-387-3200/Press 1, or

Practice Manager of the Month

Categories: Practice Manager of the Month

The HST team is about “professionals dedicated to the success of medical practices.” Each month, we recognize a practice manager who shares our passion and success in doing this, and provide you her or his advice.

Denise Kushnar
Practice Manager
Northwest Georgia Dermatology & Skin Cancer Specialists

November Practice Manager of the Month

Congratulations to Denise Kushnar, Practice Manager of Northwest Georgia Dermatology & Skin Cancer Specialists, who was selected as Practice Manager of the Month because of successes working with her provider, staff and partners.

In reflecting on her success, Denise advises, “Multi-tasking, prioritizing and delegating ensure accomplishment! There is nothing worse than a manager who just cannot ‘get things done!’ Though daily demands are ever-increasing, it is a manager’s role to lead by example and perform their duties – and then some. I never ask one of my staff to do something that I would not do myself. This sets a positive stage for overall accomplishment, completion and a ‘can do environment.'”

“In order to be a successful practice manager doing this, one must not lose sight of the minutest details that ensure a positive patient experience, the demands of the physician are met, and your staff is equipped to perform their daily duties.”

Denise gained this perspective because she has always been fortunate to have very positive female role models personally and professionally. “I can remember my very first marketing manager telling me, ‘Manage as you would like to be managed,’” Denise recalls. “To this day I have always tried to do so. Management can be very gratifying as well as extremely challenging. It is important to support, reinforce and recognize those around you. At the end of the day, you are only as good as those you manage.”

Dr. John Kayal, owner and solo practitioner of Northwest Georgia Dermatology & Skin Cancer Specialists said, “I appreciate Denise’s enthusiasm, professionalism, ability to multi-task and to generally get things done!”

“I enjoy the constant challenges and multiple roles I perform within the practice,” added Denise. “I especially enjoy working with Dr. Kayal. He is a preceptor, visionary and a supervisor who commands and demands excellence. Every day can be a growing experience!”

Prior to being a Practice Manager for Northwest Georgia Dermatology & Skin Cancer Specialists, Denise was a Practice Manager for a smaller, primary care practice, having a diverse background in sales and marketing to include hospitality management and consumer products.

Her schedule can be very hectic, nonetheless, Denise does enjoy reading and working out at Crossfit Kennesaw.

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