Complex rehab technology providers who want to expand into the urological business should look at their services through the eyes of the people who use these products. That’s the best way to learn how to improve their offerings.
“I’ve worked with end users in the urology field for nearly a decade,” said Lisa Wells, Cure Medical’s VP of marketing. “It continues to astound me how common it is for urological equipment providers and even manufacturers not to have anyone on staff who is a firsthand expert on catheters. How can you effectively serve your audience if you’re not actively seeking and responding to the voice of your client?”
Successful Urology Providers Listen to & Educate Their Customers
Mobility industry sales and marketing veteran Kristina Rhoades agrees. A T5 paraplegic since she was 10 months old, Rhoades has used a wheelchair and catheters for most of her life. Rhoades has also worked for complex rehab (Colours Wheelchair) and mobility (RevAbility) companies for nearly 10 years. Despite her broad industry knowledge and lifelong intermittent catheter use, she was shocked at how little she knew about the differences among intermittent catheters in terms of features, chemical content and more.
“I was introduced to my current brand of catheter, the Cure Twist, by my HME provider,” Rhoades said. “I’m so thankful they exposed me to something new, because this product has made my life so much easier as an active, professional mom on wheels.
“That’s why it’s so important to choose your urological supply provider carefully to ensure you’re giving your business to a company that has your best interest at heart. Our urological health is not something to play around with.”
Medical research supports her concerns. The incidence rate of bladder cancer in people who have spinal cord injury (SCI) is 16 to 28 times higher than that of the general population, according to a research study published by model SCI center Craig Rehabilitation Hospital in Englewood, Colo.
Do Catheter Clients Know Their Options?
“It’s equally important to educate your clients on the options available for intermittent catheterization, as so much of their compliance and your customer retention depends on their personal experience and comfort with their daily-use catheters,” Wells explained. “If something’s not working well for them, you as a provider need to know. Ask about their experience, and ask often so you can correct any issues before it costs you a client.”
Studies have shown that Rhoades isn’t the only catheter user unaware of different or better options for individual needs or preferences. In fact, Rhoades be typical of your client base.
Wheel:Life, a digital publication for wheelchair users, surveyed more than 100 readers who use intermittent catheters and learned many have never tried any catheter other than the one they were first shown in rehab years prior. The majority of the survey participants, especially men who have used catheters for 10 years or more, said they weren’t familiar with catheters other than the ones they’ve always used.
More than 30 percent of Wheel:Life survey respondents said they have trouble inserting the catheters they use today, and 20 percent reported that they also experience occasional bleeding when self-cathing.
If the Wheel:Life audience sample translates to typical urological supplies consumer databases, upwards of a third of those consumers could be struggling with their current catheters. If you don’t actively help resolve those issues, you could be at risk of losing those clients to an HME or complex rehab provider who is willing to help.
Distinguish Your Business by Providing Options
That’s why it’s so important to have ongoing conversations with urology clients to see how they are doing with the products you’re providing.
“If your customer service team is calling your active clients on a monthly basis to renew their supply orders, add a simple question to the call as standard practice,” Wells said. “Ask, ‘How is your current catheter working for you?’ It takes just a few seconds to ask, but it might make a world of difference in the relationship you have with your client.”
Rhoades knows firsthand how education can impact a catheter user’s quality of life and daily routine.
“Before I started using Cure Catheters, I thought that catheters were all created equal,” she said. “But that’s not the case. The more I learned about Cure Medical and their products, the more I loved them. With unique features like polished eyelets, different lengths available and the fact that they’re not made with harsh chemicals like DEHP and BPA, it’s easy to see that Cure Catheters were designed by someone who actually uses them.
“My hope is that other patients don’t have to go over 30 years, like I did, before discovering urological supplies that really make a difference in their lives.”
For more advice on ways to improve your urological supply business, reach out to the intermittent catheter experts at Cure Medical. Visit www.curemedical.com or call (800) 570-1778.
In Her Own Words: Kristina Rhoades on her Cure Medical Experience
Guys: The Longer You Cath, the More You May Want a Coude — http://www.wheel-life.org/guys-the-longer-you-cath-the-more-you-may-want-a-coude/
“Bladder cancer in patients with spinal cord injury” is a large, broad research document available at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14992333.