An open letter to our competitors

Joel Friedlaender ·

Dear Competitors, I know some of you have been “very inspired” by Cliniko. This has ranged from small things like:

  • Copying text off our website word for word and putting it on your own site
  • Redesigning your websites to look like ours
  • Even using images from our site on your own

and sometimes bigger things like:

This letter is not to complain about this. We expected it. The reason we developed Cliniko was because Allied Health professionals deserved better software at a more affordable price. We knew by coming in with modern business and pricing models, easy to use software and more advanced technology that others would be forced to keep up or fall behind.

With that in mind, we are not saying don’t be inspired by Cliniko. It is great if you are, it’s great for healthy competition and it’s ultimately even better for our customers. What we do want to see though is that you get inspired by the right things. Really we want to see you get inspired by the things that really help all of our customers.

So what should you get inspired by?

Customer Support

You probably can’t tell from our website, and it’s unlikely you are a customer of ours, so you probably don’t know just how passionate about customer support we are. We try to answer every support enquiry in minutes instead of hours or days. We don’t always achieve this, but most times we do.

We also don’t make our customers jump through hoops to speak to someone that can actually solve things, they get onto the right person straight away.

Lastly, we don’t ask our customers to pay for customer support, it is free and unlimited. If they need to call to ask us something, well that’s probably our fault. Either there was an issue with the system, or even if they didn’t understand how to do something, we should have made it simpler. We don’t think they should pay for that.

Really easy to use software

Gone are the days where users should need to read a 100+ page manual just to work out how to get started. There has been a lot of research into usability and user experience. We now have the knowledge to build systems that are intuitive and easy to use. We should use that information and build software that is simple enough that a user can work out what to do without training or manuals. Software has been around long enough now, we know what users do, lets build something around their behaviour instead of expecting them to work around ours.

No big upfront payments

Your customers don’t charge their clients in big upfront payments, most of them get paid for each treatment. This means that your customers don’t have thousands of dollars in revenue ready to spend the day they start their business. It makes more sense to charge like they do, pay as you go. It matches their revenue perfectly and removes the barrier for new clinics to get great software. It’s also fairer, they can just pay as long as they wish to use the system. Why should someone that only uses your software for 1 year pay the same as someone that keeps it for 10 years?

Use modern technology

Software technology advances at a rapid rate. It’s hard to keep up, but if you chosen to be in the software industry, well that is your responsibility. I can’t believe that so many of your systems are still windows applications. Customers want to be able to access their system from anywhere. Customers want to be able to choose to use PC or Mac. They don’t want to have to deal with setting up or maintaining servers. Web-based technology has been around for a long time now, there is no reason not to get on board. Do yourself and your customers a favour and start taking advantage of modern technologies.

I knew we were going to inspire others in the industry, I am just disappointed that the inspiration so far has been so superficial. Customers are going to start expecting more, you are going to need to build great software, provide great support and make it affordable to compete. Time will tell which companies can do this.

Cliniko is amazing practice management software for healthcare businesses. Visit https://www.cliniko.com to see for yourself.

Author information

Joel Friedlaender is the founder of Cliniko. He writes about productivity, team-work, and how we do things differently. Follow him on Twitter at @jfriedlaender.

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