Sometimes, even the most amazing technology can be held back by a discomfort with change. People do their best to avoid situations where the perceived risk is greater than the potential payoff, and evolution ensures that the predisposition towards extreme risk taking will never be a predominant trait. This plays out all over society, in decisions big and small. Here at BeckonCall, we’ve been hearing from many practice managers that our service sounds great, but they don’t want to “rock the boat” with their doctors.
In other words, they – you – like the potential payoff but prefer to avoid the risk of problems with other members of your practice. Which could happen because those physicians, in turn, feel that hypothetical gains from a different piece of healthcare technology don’t sufficiently outweigh the perceived risk of switching.
We want to help you get over these objections so that you can help people in your practice do the same. The ultimate goal is not to make you comfortable with switching healthcare technology solutions for the sake of trying something different, but to be more comfortable with making those changes when the alternative is actually an improvement for your practice. If a company has a better way to do things – and yes, we at BeckonCall are confident that is the case – then we want to help your entire team move beyond the status quo and the easy answer that “it’s always been done that way.”
Here are a few ideas on how you can respond to objections to new technology:
Time is a big concern for physicians when thinking about starting to use a new health tech product. Thus, it may seem counterintuitive to present them with training sessions to get up and running. In general, though, it’s the cumulative time required to use a tool that worries people, the prospect of losing a few minutes each day. People may complain about having to spend their lunch break at a training session, but that single block of time is less of a concern and less of a cost. In addition, a good onboarding process doesn’t get people using a new product by brute force, but removes barriers to entry so that those worries about long-term time costs go away. Giving your physicians the opportunity to learn a new tool with hands-on training and the ability to ask questions should help get them more comfortable with a new product.
As we discussed last week, healthcare technology should streamline your workflows. Obviously. Therefore, small features can make a world of difference when working to get your physician on board with a new service. For example, reducing the number of clicks required to accomplish a task makes a user interface dramatically more friendly. The same goes for drag-and-drop options, such as when you move an event between days on your computer’s calendar app. No one is going to miss out on life just because they have to go through one extra menu to find an option, but the psychological gain is undeniable. (Think about the difference between having a home button and having to press a back button multiple times.)
In addition, finding technology that feels familiar is a huge help. Recognizable user interfaces reduce learning curves. At BeckonCall, we have built a service where if you know how to text on a smartphone, you can use our app. Our goal has been to make BeckonCall as intuitive to use as iMessage or any other communication tool. That means that when someone in your practice objects to having “to learn a whole new piece of software,” you can respond that there really isn’t anything new to learn.
In healthcare, delays and mistakes come with massive costs, both financial and physical. Therefore, fast, friendly and focused customer support is critical to correct problems when they do come up. Equally important is that customer service doesn’t create more problems than it solves, an absurd but all too common problem we’ve all been exposed to with various consumer products. Because most of us have had more poor interactions with support reps than positive ones, people are understandably skeptical of any claims towards “excellent customer service.” To combat this when talking to your physicians about a new service, look at the reassurances offered by the company. For the most part, companies that are confident in their customer service will offer guarantees because they know people will rarely need to invoke them. In other words, they know their support is solid. These reassurances should be helpful in talking to your team about the benefits of a new health tech service.
Presenting your physicians with feedback from their colleagues is another way to make the case. This applies to any feature, not just ongoing support. Social proof is one of the most powerful persuasion tactics available. We trust our friends and others like us, so their opinions carry enormous weight in our decision making. If you have a product you’d like your team to implement, look for people in your niche who have good things to say about it, and take those comments to your team.
This one ties in with ongoing support. Additionally, it is a bit more qualitative and should therefore only be a small part of conversations with your physicians. The idea here is that you want to work with companies that are open about their products and goals. People will feel more affinity to companies that tell you what they are trying to do, how they think about their industry, why they’re in business, and where they want to go in the future to make your life easier. In other words, companies that are willing to have an ongoing conversation rather than give a one-time and one-sided sales pitch. This is valuable because it suggests that both parties are in “it” together. Think of the difference in trust between that friend you meet for coffee once a week and the acquaintance who only shows up once a year to ask a favor. Your team will be more excited about working with a company that allows them to ask questions and offer feedback than one who disappears after the sale.
We mention this a lot. Without rehashing previous posts, the point is that cost analysis must take everything into account, not just the list price of a piece of equipment or monthly subscriptions. You can’t convince your physicians to get excited about a new health tech solution by saying “it’s a few bucks cheaper a month.” But you’ll have a much better chance of success if you can show the long-term gains in terms of increased revenue, higher patient throughput, faster turnaround, and fewer mistakes.
Physicians can be a tough sell. Engage both sides of their brain to increase your chances of getting them to buy in. Coming to them with a heavy dose of quantitative numbers that show the gains to be had from a new service, along with a few well-placed qualitative (or even emotional) highlights, will give you the right mix to lower the perceived risk and increasing the potential payoff of trying a new product.
Have you had an interesting experience in trying to get your practice on board with new technology? Tell us about it in the comments below.