Automated payments will give you more time to interact with patients, reducing your workload while making them feel welcome
Whatever your line of business, it’s always important to make the more rote elements of customer transactions as simple as possible. As a chiropractor it’s even more important — from the start of a relationship with a patient it’s essential to create an environment of comfort and ease.
Automating processes can do wonders for your practice. While you’ll always want to keep a personal touch, you can focus your efforts on digital spaces in order to draw in new patients. These efforts will enable you to interact with current patients 24/7, reducing your workload while making them feel welcome.
A lot of payment is already automated — the days of cashing customer checks are for the most part long behind us. The days in which you could only pay in person are also long past, however, and that’s why you should give your patients the option of paying online, or automatically sight unseen.
Online payment can take many different forms, from electronic funds transfers (EFTs) to sophisticated electronic payment systems. Giving patients the option to pre-pay provides them with flexibility. You might also see a decrease in the number of appointment cancellations; your patient has already paid, so they’re less likely to cancel and ask for a refund.
Couple automated payments with online booking
Many payment solutions are well-suited to retailers, but when you’re offering a service, accepting money is only half of the puzzle. The best way for your practice to accept payment is to couple your payment software with automated booking.
Automated booking software links up with your calendar. Patients are shown which times are available; should they choose to make an appointment, that time slot will be automatically filled in on your calendar. This reserves the time slot, so you’ll never get double booked. Most booking software will allow you to sync-up multiple calendars to accommodate for practices with more than one chiropractor.
Booking software will save your practice time and money. Costly scheduling conflicts are eliminated, human error is removed, and clients can book an appointment while you’re at home in bed. You can find software with all kinds of functionality; many can connect with social media pages, allowing you to find clients in new spaces, and some even come with their own integrated payment management software. You can set up automatic appointment reminder texts, e-mail invoices, and plenty more, depending on the software.
There are a lot of conversations you need to have in person with your patient. Building a rapport is essential, and the care and compassion of another human being can’t be replaced by available software. You aren’t always available, however; people have chiropractic questions after hours. Fortunately, you can have a chatbot automatically answer a number of frequently asked questions.
Chatbots generally fall under two categories: declarative and conversational. Most chiropractic practices will only need declarative chatbots. These bots can answer simple questions: how much your services cost, what your availability is, what your hours of operation are, and anything else you might think of. Chatbots are fairly customizable; some can even help you book appointments.
This automation provides a lot of the same advantages that the previous two did: it lets patients interact with your business even when you’re away, and it frees up your staff’s time. Any time a patient uses a chatbot to ask what your location is, that person isn’t tying-up reception with the same question.
While appointment booking software can help you get patients signed-up to see you, they won’t necessarily give you a lot of information about why the patient is there. There is, however, self check-in software that will help you gather patient information, freeing up time for reception.
This software can be displayed on tablets in your practice; typically, it’s a series of forms and buttons. The patient will be asked questions about why they’re visiting your practice:
• Do they have pain?
• If so, where?
• How long have they been in pain for?
• Have they been in an accident recently?
• If so, when?
• Does the patient have insurance?
Self check-ins guide patients through a series of questions depending on their previous answers, giving you a lot of information in little time. This is particularly nice for patients who might otherwise be reluctant to talk to receptionists about their health.
Keep patients in the know in emergencies
There are times your practice won’t operate on its regular hours. Sometimes, you can predict this, like when you’re going on vacation. Other times, like when an emergency causes a business interruption, there’s no way you could have anticipated the shutdown. Your clients deserve to be kept in the know about what’s happening at your practice, and if your hours of operation have changed.
There’s software that enables you to immediately notify patients who have appointments with you of cancellations. You can also automate voicemails to patients when your hours of operation have changed, either on a temporary or permanent capacity. Trust is the most important part of any patient-practitioner relationship, so keeping your clients abreast of significant changes is essential.
Keep yourself feeling fresh
Outside of client process automation, there are plenty of internal automations and optimizations that will give you time to do what you do best. From apps that take the stress out of business to accounting software to help with bookkeeping, automation is booming. Look for processes that you now repeat in the same way, every day — you can probably automate them.
CATHERINE HOLLAND is a blogging enthusiast and a content manager at Compass Accounting. She loves applying her knowledge of writing and marketing to new content pieces, helping to share tips, tricks and hacks with readers.