So many Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) and DME providers view their service departments as necessary evils — required to support consumers and clinician partners, but also a drain on a company’s resources.
Is that an accurate assessment? And if service departments can in fact be profitable, why aren’t more of them making money?
In a new Mobility Management podcast sponsored by ATLAS|FIOS, Bill Paul — a former CRT provider turned business operations problem-solver — and Matthew Macpherson, ATP, talk about what they believe a solid service department can achieve.
“It is amazing that much of the industry has focused on client acquisition as opposed to client retention,” said Paul, the co-founder and co-CEO of ATLAS-FIOS. “You’ll find that many providers have tried to create relationships with referral sources and keep those referral sources coming with new clients. But then they forego the whole service and repair side of taking care of the clients, and then the referral sources will get upset.”
Macpherson, who noted that he’s worked with both good and not-so-good service departments, said, “I think most service departments are not providing great service for the end user, and I think most clinicians would say there is a consistent lack of importance put on service. I would say currently, the expectation is that service is going to be delayed, inefficient, and usually below par. I think a lot of that has to do with the company’s mindset of it not being a profitable part of the business and not investing enough into that.”
While providers routinely provide education and training for ATPs, because ATPs are seen as employees who bring in new business, Macpherson said the reality is that good service plays a critical role as well.
“The biggest complaints I got,” Macpherson explained, “were not on the ATP or how quick the [equipment] evaluation was, but the follow-up and the service.”