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GDPR – Why GDPR Is A Godsend To The Marketeer…

GDPR is often regarded as a pain in the backside. But look at the reality.

The UK along with Europe in general introduced GDPR rules as a way to protect email users from unsolicited email. No doubt we all support these rules; but we should also embrace the change as a useful tool to find out more about our clients.

Your annual GDPR email is now an excepted communication and hence most clients, whilst like you they find GDPR a pain, they also accept that the ‘law’ is the law and that your business has to comply.
You should not only explain your privacy policy and ask their about their communication preferences, SMS, phone, email, snail mail etc. but also useful demographics such as (but not limited to):
  • favourite pet species
  • favourite breed
  • what food they use
  • what toys their pets like
  • the client’s date of birth – many will give it
  • their favourite colour
  • do they have family members who also have pets
  • how often do they take pets to the groomers
  • do they have birthday parties for pets
  • do they order pet products on;ine
  • if you offered online click and collect would they be interested
  • do they take someof their pets to another vet as well as you

Obviously, you don’t want to ask things you already know or ask too many thinks at once.

You can build this up gradually. If your PMS cannot support all this. Mailchimp and others can.

The cost of utilising this approach, not limited to GDPR of course, is relatively low. There is some pain along the way not least because PMS suppliers don’t seem to be very helpful (I’m sure there are exceptions) at getting information out of your database, in which case find a new one. Remember, the most important aspect of your PMS is to be able to sell more to clients, you can keep patient notes on record cards if necessary, but you can’t make your business grow that way.

Used wisely the GDPR is an intro clients won’t complain about and can deliver a lot of insight. You do then of course need to segment your client base and send appropriate messages as a followup to sell more stuff – which is very important for your patients, clients, staff and your business!

Practice Management Systems – Choosing The Right One For Your Practice

A New PMS?

Choosing a PMS is no simple task, there are many variables and many are unique to you and your business. But there are some basic principles you can follow which will take some of the guesswork out of the equation.

Features

A key problem for providers is determining which set of features is relevant for most businesses, after all, they don’t want to waste money creating things people don’t value.
On the other hand, one of the complaints I hear most often is ‘they won’t/can’t provide the feature I need now’.  This is a major problem in keeping up with new technologies, current business thinking and delivering leading edge capability that will give you an advantage over your competition.
All I can say is that if you expect to need changes to suit you, get it in writing as part of the contract that they will deliver such changes in a timely fashion – difficult but doable.

The Feature List

If you have a system currently, write down ALL the features you like/want and in as much detail as you can. Add to this any improvements that you would like in the current system.
One of the areas PMS fall down on is good marketing data collection, you want to know everything you can about your clients.
The above will take quite  while and should ideally involve the whole team. But this list is the basis of ensuring you get the best fit possible.
Put all this on a spreadsheet, and send to prospective suppliers and get them to tick those they can satisfy and a x against those they can’t. They will probably ask you for priority – tell them ‘no, just do what we ask’! If they can’t do that they are out of the running.
Once you get the spreadsheet back you can add priorities, e.g. ‘can’t live without’, ‘really important’, ‘nice to have’.
Put all the responses alongside your requirements in one spreadsheet.

With this you can determine the best fit by adding all the scores. Be careful to be unbiased when you do this, if something becomes more important just change the priority.

Also:

I prefer cloud based because it removes a lot of pain in terms of backup. But: make sure that:

only currently supported operating systems are used – Windows 2003 is no longer supported – hence any vulnerability will not be patched by Microsoft. Everyone should now be on Windows 2012 minimum…

the systems are properly updated with latest patches – especially security patches

quality and upgrade of antivirus and similar software

avoidance of intrusion via email

avoidance of intrusion via floppy disks, DVDs, CD ROMs or USB sticks – sometimes called sneaker-net

control over sites that might be accessed via the cloud solution for instance using tools like Open DNS to prevent users accidentally going to dodgy sites

backups are made regularly – for instance in SQL server you could do a daily backup and do ‘log shipping’ every hour – or perhaps every minute – see this useful blog:
https://www.brentozar.com/archive/2014/02/back-transaction-logs-every-minute-yes-really/

backups and logs are moved instantly off the network to an inaccessible storage platform

users are forced to change their passwords regularly

passwords are strong – watch this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZ5iiMRFssc

Suppliers of your systems, cloud based or otherwise, should be able to demonstrate/prove that all the above is dealt with effectively.

New Site

Finally, after many months of deliberation, I have decided to rework the Hot Business Solutions website and use the WordPress platform. I have been using WordPress and Drupal for a long time and finally decided that for this purpose WordPress suits best.

Drupal is a great platform, especially for a CMS (content management system) such as a company knowledge or communications platform, an extranet, or client facing platform for content that is always growing and changing.

There are many other CMS platforms, such as Joomla, or wikis (like Wikipedia) for those who want to investigate further.

Our new site should be up on 22nd October 2018 – don’t miss it.

Jerry