3 Ways to Grow Your Service Provider Business
Learn Top Tips for Growing Your Service Provider Business from our Patient Care Logistics expert, Craig Ruggels.
When you are constantly working in your business, it is difficult to work on your business. I spent nearly fifteen years working in the Service Provider industry and know that the three most important things to generating more leads are:
- Improving your operations
- Expanding your network
- Using data to evolve your business
Improve Your Operations Using Technology
A New Way of Managing Service Requests
One of the most common assumptions Service Providers make is that taking service requests via the phone is the best customer experience for their clients. However, requesters don’t want to spend hours of their day on the phone or on hold: they want the quickest way possible to submit a request and move on with their day. On the Service Provider side, you can spend a good chunk of time answering phone calls and picking up faxes from hospitals and facilities.
So how do you create a great experience for the requester while also helping your business run more efficiently? By moving to a digital platform that allows you to receive and create requests quickly while capturing the same information each time.
The digital platform I use for my clients is VectorCare, which allows me to receive and create requests digitally: saving the requester time and creating efficiencies within my business. Additionally, I can assign that request to a driver via the VectorCare iOS Driver App and they can update the status of the trip until it is completed (rather than taking patient-related phone calls while on shift). This means crew members can focus on providing great service to their patients, and only answer phone calls for truly important items.
Advantages of Performing Work In This New Way
Valuing Client Time
The first advantage is that you're not putting anyone on hold and you're allowing people to continue along with their work. A requester (for example, a Case Manager in a hospital), has a lot of things going on and there are people coming in and out of their office constantly. With VectorCare, they can submit a service request in 1-2 minutes, and then instantly broadcast it to your dispatch without a lag in their workday.
I’ve found in my experience that my quality of customer service improved by using VectorCare for most client communications. I’m not leaving clients on hold, and when I actually do call them, it’s about important subjects that are productive for both sides.
Accuracy of Information
Secondly, you can guarantee the accuracy of the information you're collecting. When you get a Service Request digitally, you can ensure you get information like the address, the patient's name, and the patient's condition right every time. These things may be missed when your team is talking on the phone and are rushed or distracted by other things.
Additionally, doing this electronically means you have a digital record of everything that's going on with that call. You automatically capture who's requesting the call, any updates, and you can communicate back and forth inside that request quickly and efficiently without having to pick up the phone.
By making your request process electronic, you can improve your customer service levels while also decreasing human error and your time on the phone everyday. Your time is valuable, so don’t spend hours on the phone everyday doing things that you can use technology to automate.These tools allow you to improve your customer service while making your business more efficient.
Expand Your Network
As a Service Provider, it is important to grow and expand your network. In fact, I did it myself within an ambulance company I worked for. We were the largest ambulance company in Northern California and later became the largest in the state. During that time, we didn't have all levels of service. For example, we didn't do much wheelchair or ambulatory service, so we instead created networks of partners who provided services that we didn’t.
These partnerships could be Service Providers who offer services like:
- Wheelchair & Gurney
- Durable Medical Equipment (DME)
- Meal Delivery
- Home Health
- Prescription Delivery
- Sedan Car Services (Uber/Lyft)
- Organ Transport
Ultimately, you want the hospital or facility to reach out to one company (you) for all their service needs. In order to be a “one-stop-shop” provider, you have to expand the range of services that you provide through a network of local partners. You can use this network to create a healthy ecosystem instead of having to do everything on your own. VectorCare helps you manage these connections.
Here are a few things that I myself had to understand before growing my network:
- I had to realize that it wasn’t a turf war (you don’t have to keep all of the business in order to get business)
- By giving away the calls, or referring them and getting a referral fee for each call that was delegated, you can grow your business
- A healthy network of partners allows you to capture more leads without spreading yourself too thin
In order to expand, you have to be willing to step out of this old mindset that this is your turf. The focus should be thinking about what is best for clients and then your client's patients, which are ultimately your clients as well.
Use Data to Evolve Your Business
Once you’ve optimized your processes and expanded your network, you can start to evolve your business using data and reporting.
Some of the reports I’ve created in the VectorCare platform are:
- Vehicle Reports: Analyze all of the data you have on your fleet of vehicles
- Trip Time Details: Assess the quality of service that your drivers are providing by analyzing the time spent on each step in the process. Having improved delivery times, can lead to more leads and contracts for your organization
- Requests: If you are curious to know what your most common types of service requests are or if you’d like to know which hospitals or facilities send you the most business, you can pull a report on requests. This will allow you to focus your efforts on the right type of business instead of constantly chasing the business that doesn’t provide a positive ROI for your business.
Reporting on the number of trips you were unable to fulfill will help you staff to your demand. When you start staffing your demand through data, utilization goes up. The higher the utilization, the more profitable it is to hire a crew and put them on for a shift. I have wheelchair clients that are doing 10 calls in an eight hour shift because they're optimizing their utilization (all done through data)!
You can also use reporting data to go into a facility, hospital or skilled nursing facility to show your high level of service (i.e. time on scene, average time of a service request trip, etc.). Doing this allows you to secure more contracts with local facilities, as well as consistently updating your current clients on the value you provide and why they should keep you as a consistent service provider.
As an example you can say, “I had forty five calls out of your facility, which had an on time percentage of ninety six percent, the 3 percent I was within 20 minutes of an E.T.A.”e. Now you're having real conversations with directors of skilled nursing and people. You're not just saying, “Hey, I'm great, come use me because I smile and I'm nice”, you are showing the proof is in the pudding.
Overall, you should be using data to analyze the current state of your business and turning that data into business decisions that improve your customer service and patient experiences.
While VectorCare isn’t a lead generation tool, it can allow you to optimize your operations and improve service times, which will ultimately lead to more business.
Improving the efficiency of your business then creates efficiency for your clients., Data & reporting allows you to show the value you provide, and give your clients tangible reasons for them to continue hiring you.
I partner with VectorCare to run a monthly webinar about how to expand your healthcare service business. If you’re interested in learning more or asking me some questions, YOU CAN REGISTER HERE.
Craig Ruggels is an experienced Patient Care Logistics and Workflow consultant with over 15 years in the Service Provider industry. Working to improve processes from start to finish, he specializes in decreasing time on task, attention to detail, and educating clients about their different workflow options. Craig has worked with reputable hospitals and transport providers across California, including Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, and Dignity Health, among others. He aims to help hospitals and Service Providers work as a team to improve patient experience and well-being.