Building a great team is an essential part of creating a successful chiropractic practice.
If you take a look at those chiropractors who have launched successful practices, whether in the U.S. or abroad, you’ll notice they tend to share a common denominator: they’ve built outstanding teams. And if your practice is enjoying growth and profit, you know your team is an indispensable component.
More than the sum of the parts
In your role as coach of your practice, a big part of your job is to create the processes, procedures, and systems that create success and growth for you and your staff. From that vantage point, you will recognize the following as a fundamental truth:
If given the choice between A-plus systems, A-plus chiropractors, or A- plus teams, take the A-plus team every time—and win.
Your team will have a greater
influence on your practice’s sustainable growth than any other factor you can name. An “on-purpose” team will stand beside you (and often in front of you) to help you build, serve, and expand your practice.
Conversely, a team made up of off- purpose, disenchanted, or disincentivized CAs will stifle your practice, cap your growth, flatten your energy, and quite possibly derail your mission. Therefore, building the right team is critical.
Building a remarkable team
To create a team with extraordinary abilities, begin by focusing on the structural elements they bring to a practice. Because to build a great team, you must have a clear vision of the positions, roles, and goals involved.
But before you can start running expert team trainings, team meetings, and staff huddles, you’ll need to fill the essential team positions. Once in place, you can later work on developing team energy, the “x-factor” in a team-driven practice.
The essential lineup
Traditionally speaking, there are three general categories of chiropractic assistants. In addition to your floor CA (also known as the tech CA or clinical CA), you’ll have a:
- Front desk CA
- Back office (or business office) CA
To use a sports analogy, think of building your team as if you were trying to assemble a baseball team. There are distinct positions to be filled, each with defined roles and specific skill-sets (and personalities) required to execute each role well.
When designing your team, think
positions, skills, strengths, and then hire. You need to be both clear and detailed around the roles and responsibilities of each team member.
Be aware of the specific skill-sets each duty will require. Be conscious of the personality types that innately excel at the required skills. And design your team to work well together and complement each other’s natural strengths and interests.
To paraphrase Jim Collins in Good to Great: You want to have the right people on your bus, and have everyone in the right seat on the bus.
You might also consider using personality-type tests when hiring. These will help you to stay objective throughout the evaluation, and keep you focused on the specific traits required by the position during the hiring process.
The front desk
The position to concentrate on is the front desk CA, because this is typically your first hire. Consider the essential duties carried out by this individual.
The front desk CA is, technically speaking, playing two major roles (at a minimum): check-in and check-out.
You may start with a single position, but the typical evolution is to eventually divide it into two distinct positions in your practice: the check-in CA and the check-out CA.
This specialization typically happens when a practice is experiencing a patient visit volume around 150 to 200 visits per week, depending of course on the cultural and clinical details of individual offices. But it is not uncommon for practices scheduling under 150 visits per week to run beautifully with a single front desk CA.
Furthermore, in many cases, individual CAs will wear multiple hats and play several positions on the team, but it is highly recommended that you start thinking about dedicated team positions, roles, and responsibilities, instead of specific people doing a multitude of tasks and duties.
This approach to practice management will make it much easier to run your clinic, hire and train, lead and manage your people, replace people and, of course, scale and grow.
For the sake of clarity, the following will segment the front desk CA roles and responsibilities into two distinct segments, with the understanding that it is common for these two positions to be filled by one person at a time.
The boss of today
Your front desk CA is in charge of the office flow for the entire day. This person is analogous to the maître d’ or hostess at a fine restaurant.
This front desk CA is the schedule keeper—the gate keeper, really—to the practice at every moment. They must know exactly who is scheduled to be in the practice, what is happening with
that person, at what time (and if they are on time).
The front desk CA runs your ship. They must know exactly who on your team is doing what service. They must also know exactly where every patient and every team member is at every moment. They must know the processes (and the timing of those processes) precisely.
Because they are in charge, they are the “boss of today.” And they must be able to tell anyone—including you— exactly what to do at any given moment.
The check-in CA is the face of your clinic. They should have a big smile and a positive attitude. They must be great with people, friendly and welcoming, and strong in leadership skills.
They must have the ability to say “no,” or correct and redirect with a smile. The check-in CA is the schedule ninja in your practice and they need eight arms and eight legs. They love face-to-face interactions and busyness, and are capable of doing multiple things at once.
The boss of tomorrow
The check-out CA has the primary
role of protecting, promoting, and enforcing your practice’s office policies. These policies are guardrails that protect your patients’ experience, longevity, and results.
This role calls for someone who is kind and empathetic, but steadfast in their commitment to the mission of your practice—the premise that shapes all policies.
This person must have an extremely high regard for chiropractic care, a deep understanding and appreciation of the patient process, and a sincere respect for the doctor.
The check-out CA is the boss of tomorrow because their responsibilities shape the future of the clinic they are in charge of. Key duties in this position include:
- Scheduling and mapping patients
- Scheduling workshop attendance for patients and guests
- Scheduling family check-ups
- Navigating financial plans, agreements, and collections
Because the check-out CA is responsible for numerous financial transactions, he or she must be detail- oriented and good with numbers. Most
importantly, this person must have a good relationship with money and be personally responsible in their own financial affairs.
This should not be a person who has an issue discussing money involved in care plan considerations, transactions, or collections on any level. The check-out CA is usually a
no-nonsense type of person, because he or she knows that this role is as much clinical as it is administrative.
They know nothing pushes a patient out of your office faster than demonstrating a lack of integrity with any policy. Whether compliance issues, workshop attendance, or adherence to financial agreements, these are the domains of the check-out CA—the boss of tomorrow.
Stephen Franson, DC, is a graduate of Life Chiropractic College and a certified Gonstead Instructor. He has served as an extended faculty member at Life University, Palmer College, and Northwestern College of Life Sciences. Franson Family Chiropractic opened in 1997 and grew to be one of the largest wellness clinics in the nation. He can be contacted at 844-973-6275 or through theremarkablepractice.com.