If you owned the only restaurant in town, chances are that even in a recession, business would be pretty good. People would be flocking to you and you wouldn’t have to do much, if anything, to drive business.
It appears as if many physician practices, from hospital-based groups with exclusive contracts to prominent office-based practices with significant market share, believe that their situation is locked in in the same manner. Patients will come.
In fact, they often make the same mistake as the restaurant owner with a supposed exclusive on his market: They believe that they can slacken in terms of services provided and marketing outreach and still thrive in their competitor free market.
No matter whether you hold an exclusive contract or simply a commanding position, your contract and your position can always be terminated or challenged. New competitors come to town – sometimes they are even recruited.
So, just like the smart owner of the only restaurant in town, you should continuously be marketing to your customers and improving upon the experience they receive, whether you view them as patients, referral sources, the hospital, managed-care plans, or even better yet, as all of the foregoing.
Just like the smart restaurant owner, even if you are the only game in town, market, and treat your customers, as if you have a competitor across the street.
Call it karma or call it consequences, failing to do so seems to act as a magnet to attract the competition that you believed would never come.