Pressure Test Your Practice

So apparently over the course of the last year my name has become quite attached to the word “systems”. Actually, two words, “systems & processes”. That was not planned nor strategic. I guess the connection just found me!  Don’t get me wrong, it makes perfect sense because my business brain has always just been in line with methodical approaches with strategic flexibility. Since I’ve become the systems person, I feel like that’s about 90% of my consulting. So if you consider yourself to be someone that your systems are working, meaning your practice is running smoothly, effectively and efficiently while generating a profit, then listen in because I have a challenge for you!

 
 
Under Pressure
 
 

Here you are ,practice owner, in your little corner of the world, tracking calls daily, counting the number of sessions, paying the bills, staying in the green, and using that Dashboard to keep you informed. You have all the boxes checked off: your referral process is strong, your intake process is on point, your billing system is on the ball, your quality assurance measures are giving you no cause for concern, and your office management system has never let you down. Take a second, take a breath and give yourself a great big pat on the back because all that took work!

Now ask yourself, what’s my Queen Bee role and what system does it lie within? What system could you not do without in your practice? What system would you hinge your company’s success on? Say it out loud. Ok, so why does that matter? If you think your system is working then it’s time to take the challenge: APPLY PRESSURE & EVALUATE. If your system is working, and you want to continue scaling your practice, it’s time to apply some pressure and see what happens. Will your practice continue on without disruption or will that system start to crumble?

You’re probably asking yourself, why would I want to do something like this to my practice? Let’s get things straight, I’m not asking you to bankrupt your practice or do anything could cause permanent damage. I’m simply saying that rather than allowing life to apply the pressure, because with any growing scalable practice it’s going to happen, YOU apply the pressure in a controlled and structured environment. This way you can see from a close lens where the cracks are, the weak points and the necessary areas for improvement. Take a moment, step back and continue to rework your systems to allow for maximum growth.

If you’re not sure how to apply the pressure, it’s okay. Think of the things that happen naturally and go ahead and induce them now. Could it be that the referral systems get’s triple the calls that it is used to getting? Have clinicians, family and friends call and go through the process as though they were clients? How is the person answering your phones handling that? Do they each feel cared for? Are they responded to in a timely manner? Did any balls get dropped or things go awry? Now’s the time to fix it!  

Is the practice too dependent on you? What if your staff thinks you’re unavailable for a stretch of days where they can’t contact you and you can’t respond? What would happen? Is there a system in place to make sure the practice’s needs are being met by someone other than yourself? If not, now’s the time to get something in place. Sometimes things feel fine, you are so busy you don’t even get a chance to notice some of the dysfunction that can naturally begin to occur as a business grows and evolves.

 
 
Process
 
 

In my practice, Mindsight Behavioral Group, I will purposely insert myself back into systems occasionally without warning just to see where the holes are so that we can rebuild. In our practice of over 80 employees and growing, people can begin to make their systems their own. This is great and I fully support that but sometimes short cuts, oversights, and bad habits can strongly disrupt the system you first put into place. Just last week I inserted myself into the front desk process and realized that several calls were being missed. I could have ignored it but I didn’t. This is what I chose to do.

If someone is not answering our clients and community partner’s calls when they come through, I wonder if they feel cared for? I’m certain that at minimum, they feel annoyed that their hearing a voicemail or that they’re on hold for way too long. I ask our Front Desk Coordinator, “Hey Anita, why are we missing so many calls?” She tells me that she gets all the ones that ring through but the person that catches others doesn’t always hear the phone ring, especially when her door is shut.  I think I have an easy solution but before I say anything I need to ask some clarifying questions.

  1. My question: Why does she need to “hear” your phone? Why doesn’t hers ring in her office? Her response: I don’t know why but her phone is not ringing in her office and when she has her door closed, she can’t hear mine.

  2. My question: Even with that there’s still a lot of calls missed so how many lines are ringing in? We have four. Her response: Grasshopper is only set to ring into line one so when line one is tied up then the calls can’t move on to the other lines so they’re going to voicemail.

  3. My question: Are you getting the voicemail transcriptions and forwarding them onto the appropriate person? Her response: Yes, I check my email at least once an hour.

Our phone system had broken down. There are holes that I didn’t even know about!  We immediately, from my office, begin calling in as though we were a client, multiple times over and over. We had the person filling in for her on line one as I was calling back in. We surmised that the real issue was lying in the Grasshopper system only being linked to line one. With Grasshopper you can automatically set up each line to roll over into another. I assumed that whomever had set up Grasshopper after we added the additional phone lines, didn’t use the Call Forward Option. Best case scenario is that the phone rings through line 1, if that line is busy, it forwards to line 2, and so on and so forth. After some adjusting guess what? Our Pressure Test worked!!!  We were calling and all 4 lines were ringing in even when the previous line was already in use.

The point to that long story was that if I would not have Pressure Tested my system, who knows how many calls we would have lost.  I hope that your practice is thriving so that you’re working less in the business and more on the business. So that you’re able to accept my challenge and Pressure Test your Practice. After reading this long blog, are you ready to accept the challenge? If so, please comment below so I can check in with you and hear about the outcome.


[On a side note, KC Consulting has some amazing System & Processes Virtual Assistants that can assist with updating, creating or just capturing the systems you need to make your practice Pressure Proof!  If you’d like to apply to work with a VA go on over to the Virtual Assistant page and learn more!]


 



Kasey Compton
Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, LPCC, NCC