The Holdsworth Group - February 2019

HELPING EMS & HEALTHCARE LEADERS REVIEW, REFOCUS AND RESET THEIR ORGANIZATIONS FOR SUCCESS. IN PERSPECTIVE

Volume 1 • FEBRUARY 2019

AS AN EMS AGENCY, WHY DO YOU NEED TO MARKET YOURSELF? The Necessity of Survival Marketing

You are seeking to reap the benefits of goodwill and informed support from those you serve. You need to make them see you as a positive, rewarding, and well-run entity. You need their support to help you purchase new equipment and make new hires. The community doesn’t understand your needs. The way to get them to understand is by marketing, telling your story. I’ve found that there are eight basic customer/client groups you need to connect with. 1. Employees/Staff Many agency leaders feel as though they’re dealing with conflict, recruitment or retention troubles, and unreasonable demands from employees. However, a properly trained and involved staff makes the best diplomacy. Conversely, employees who are treated like so many replaceable parts will turn into ambassadors of poison as they talk about your organization being a lousy place to work. Whether they are at a high school football game or shopping in the local grocery store, a happy staff can help create a positive image. 2. Patients/Families Whenever we conduct customer service training for field providers, we need to remember that we are observed every step of the way. These observations produce varied levels of understanding about what we’re doing, which affects the opinions that are formed about our capabilities. Meeting the needs of the customers we serve builds relationships and helps turn them into clients.

S ince the very first day EMS became a recognized specialty in the late ‘60s, we’ve provided immeasurable help and support to our communities. For decades, we have shown up when called, wading into intense and sometimes life- threatening chaos. We work double and triple shifts helping people facing dire situations. Then we go home, grab a few hours of sleep, and wait for the next call. In the beginning, the public simply called and we came. Contracts with municipalities and health care facilities were uncomplicated (if we had them at all). We collected subsidies, stipends, or donations from our communities, almost without question. We did our job, and that was enough to keep everything running smoothly. But that’s just not enough anymore. Response times, standards of practice, playing an active role in the community, developing strong relationships with local governmental agencies, mandatory system reporting, dealing with new privacy, and other federal compliance regulations are just the starting point for the expectations placed upon us. And that was before 9/11 happened. Now the expectations have increased, the readiness levels are higher, and communities look to us, the emergency service professionals, to deliver in times of crisis. Our research shows that 87 percent of all emergency medical service agencies

do not market or promote themselves effectively. It’s up to you to create an image that makes your worth clear. EMS, the fire service, and 911 communications centers: What do each of these emergency specialties have in common? They’re all in the service business. And being in the service business requires understanding the difference between customers and clients . The American Heritage Dictionary defines a customer as “one who buys goods or services.” On the other hand, it defines a client as “one for whom professional services are rendered.” These definitions perfectly explain the way many services view the relationships with those they serve. Most people look at anything outside the actual provision of emergency care as something that must be “dealt with,” and they certainly don’t see the need to continue a relationship “after the sale” (i.e., when the patient is out of the ambulance and off the stretcher). Best-practice agencies see the value in providing professional services to the client after the sale and to building a relationship and expectation beforehand. They know that a satisfied customer can be developed into a client and advocate for their agency. Every person who comes into contact with your service starts the relationship as a customer; it is your responsibility to turn them into a client.

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