By Diane Nagel

Hospitals and doctors are faced with the choice daily: Send out to the national labs and their seemingly lower cost, or stay local with a lab that is expectedly more dedicated to customer service. In today’s highly competitive market, this can be a very difficult decision.

To weigh the options, it is important to follow both presumptions through to the bottom line.

The first we’ll look at it is the large national lab. With shear order volume on its side, the up-front cost per test will almost always be lower than that of their smaller competitors. But is that all there is to the cost?

  • What if there is an issue with specimen contamination or sufficient sample volume?
  • How long does it take for these issues to be relayed and rectified?
  • Most importantly, how do these delays impact a healthcare provider’s service and bottom line? 

Without a Healthcare CRM capable of giving real-time updates into customer accounts, and that can be properly scaled to the national size (no small feat), it must certainly be factored in that these delays will occur more frequently than would be experienced at the local level and it follows that their impact on a provider’s business will be larger too. Is this impact small enough to ignore? If so, how can this be proven?

Let's consider an alternative: A smaller local lab presumably will provide clients with superior customer service due to their smaller customer base. Historically, this expected superior customer service has been the acceptable trade-off for what may be considered “premium prices”.  This raises the similar questions of whether or not the increased customer service impacts a provider’s bottom line sufficiently enough to negate the additional up-front cost for the order.

To answer these questions, let us take a step back and look at things from the laboratories’ points of view. For any lab to be competitive, they must provide evidence that there is a greater value in working with them than with the competition. If a smaller local lab wants to be more competitive with the nationals, it must reduce the gap in up-front cost while maintaining its foothold on customer service and, conversely, for a large national lab to be more competitive it must increase its customer service while maintaining its foothold on up-front pricing.

This means that a large national lab must find a way to sort the vast amount of client relationship data into real-time, actionable healthcare relationship management (Healthcare CRM) to gain a full view of each customer relationship and obtain an increased customer service level. For small labs, this means they must leverage their customer data into real-time lab analytics to identify which orders are the most successful and profitable for them, allowing them to hone in on that success, streamline their operations and become less “clunky” and more up-front cost effective. For both labs, the ability to provide up-to-date performance reports for each customer will be necessary to provide evidence of their value proposition and obtain highly sticky relationships. Until then, labs and providers will be left to a guessing game.

To learn more on how to achieve these capabilities with your lab, schedule a free demo with hc1.com.

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