Looking into the future

I have written before about how important it is to make it easy for people to  make an appointment, but this time I’m thinking about how my practice will work in 10 years time.  What will our customers be like, how will they contact us? Society is in a state of flux regarding the way we make contact with each other,   change in telecoms is logarithmic, and it isn’t hard to get left behind. With televisions connecting to the net and high speed broadband in 90% of the UK  by 2017, we will be on-line everywhere.mature woman, laptop
Unless you have a specialist clinic, you are already likely to treat more of the older population than the young and this will increase. I’ve been looking at the website of the Office of national Statistics(1) . It’s estimated that by 2020 there will be 10.3 million over 60’s compared with 9.2 million now and 6.1 million over 75’s compared with a current figure of 4.9. That is a big change, the number of over 65’s will increase by more than 20% in England and will include such figures as Tim Berners-Lee, Bill Gates, Tony Blair and yours truly. So you need to be considering what will they be like? What treatments will they be looking for? And my focus – how will they be making contact with the clinics? You would be doing them and yourselves a great disservice to assume they will not be booking on-line. Those over 75’s are currently over 65, silver surfers, world travellers, babyboomers.  Many of them are well settled financially and used to using technology for banking, travelling and shopping on-line, they will recognise a cookie as a security issue not a biscuit.
The way clients access your clinic is age dependent, possibly because more mature clients give more thought to what they want rather than wanting it NOW. Under 30’s like to book on-line from their smart phone, but for older clients their order of preference is – Phone, on-line booking, email . So my point is how important it is to allow clients to book and cancel on-line. Always be thinking ahead, look at your website – can they book with you from there?

We, as receptionists  need to be receptive to the demands of our customers and their clients. I would guess that people will make more bookings on-line, but there are always questions they will want to ask and I think that our job,  as virtual receptionists will be increasingly specific and advisory.  Additionally we may need to pick up more incoming queries by email and sms. Receptionists will need to be more knowledgeable in general. At Real Time we have always worked in the healthcare sector and we feel that this will increasingly work to your and our advantage.  The value of these services will increases as the complexity of the demands increases.