Retention, reactivation, referrals and revenue: What do these words mean to you?
To many chiropractors, these are the building blocks and hallmarks of a successful practice.
Though it is true that if you retain and reactivate patients—asking for referrals at every turn—you will see an increase in revenue, the path to achieving those goals is what has changed today. Before networking, hard work and your ability as a healer drove volume. While those are still important today, your success is now attached at the hip to technology. The sooner you accept this reality, the faster you can drive your volume to new highs.
First things first
Start with a basic question: How do you make money as a chiropractor? The answer is simple: You make revenue from your patients. Without revenue you can’t pay your bills and you won’t have a practice.
To understand the technological changes and solutions at hand, it is critical to grasp that you are a business with the goal of making a profit. Your larger mission may be to increase health and promote better living, but you need revenue to do that.
A focus on managing and nurturing your relationships with your patients should increase the number of patient visits, and create happier and healthier patients. Is it far-fetched to assume that a happier, healthier patient will be easier to retain, lead to more referrals, and build your brand in the community?
This isn’t rocket science. Increased patient retention and satisfaction lead to more revenue.
You can accomplish the above goals through the use of customer relationship management (CRM) technology, marketing automation technology, and data-driven external marketing strategies. You are at the intersection of the internet, technology, and big data. Whether you like it or not, technology has infiltrated the walls of your practice and without it, you will fall behind.
The reason you may not be familiar with these technologies is that the largest companies and institutions in the world have hoarded them for years, but the secret’s out and CRM software is now available to the world of chiropractic.
CRM has been the foundation of managing customer and client relation- ships for most industries for more than 15 years. Many businesses use CRM software as the centerpiece of internal and external company actions, processes, and communications.
Health records, including EHR systems, have been central to tracking treatments and progress with patients. Though health records are critical, the foundation of your practice should be built around the relationships, inter- actions, and communications you have with your patients.
Yes, you need to track health records, but if your patients are the ones paying the bills, your practice technologies should be centered on patient relation- ships and promoting patient satisfaction.
The key components
Familiarize yourself with the core components of CRM and marketing automation technologies:
Data collection. CRM technology is your interface for collecting critical information based on the unique needs of your practice. EHR systems try to tell you what is important, but CRM lets you build a customized database around what you consider important and then collects that data. It lets you track the details you want on patient demographics, marketing sources, referrals, revenues, and appointments.
Big data analytics. CRM technology lets you leverage the data you collect to help you make better business decisions. Imagine having the power to twist, turn, and manipulate your data into beautiful dashboards, reports, and charts that help you understand your practice and dig into the details. It is safe to say that most DCs do understand the importance of metrics, yet most are also likely tracking them by hand or through Excel spreadsheets. Imagine having all the important metrics you deem important automatically available at any time— through a computer or mobile device.
Marketing automation. CRM technology gives you the opportunity to nurture your patient relationships and increase satisfaction and retention. Did you know it takes 10 times the amount of money to find a new patient versus re- engaging a former one? So much effort and marketing dollars are put into driving new patients to a practice.
Leverage the data you collect to create automated patient-nurturing campaigns that encourage your current patients, educate them, wish them happy birthday, re-engage them when they go missing, and ask them for referrals.
And all of this can be automated.
Data-driven marketing. CRM technology can help you lower your external marketing budget, while at the same time increasing the bottom line. Your CRM-collected data provides insights into your patient database because you are choosing what is important to you and not just accepting the metrics your EHR or practice management software tells you are important.
You can leverage that information to better spend your external marketing dollars more strategically. A report can show you the exact revenue associated with a marketing source or the average amount you’re collecting from men versus women from a particular area with a given insurer or income level.
That kind of information can help you spend your marketing dollars more efficiently.
Today’s businesses are using data to make key business decisions and it is important for you to do the same.
Internal processes. If your practice is like most, you probably have about 500 Post-It notes stuck to desks, computers, and every surface available to manage the demands of capturing day-to-day details. CRM technology, in a similar way, lets you make notes on patients, such as a payment preference or their children’s names. Use it to create tasks, reminders, and manage other processes such as calling your patients who missed an appointment. A CRM system can be your office manager’s best friend.
You can easily pull a list of missed appointments, track your attempts to reactivate patients, and get reports on your successes. CRM software is the organizational infrastructure that manages all of these patient interactions.
Stay in the lead
There is no doubt that CRM and marketing automation initiatives are catching fire in the healthcare industry. It’s also true that if you have a CRM
system and are using marketing automation, you likely have an advantage over your fellow doctors.
Admittedly, you can get by today in 2017 without CRM software. But in five years or so, without this technology you will be left behind your competitors. And right now this technology can make your life easier by giving you more structure, making your patients happier, and increasing your revenues at the same time. Don’t wait—the future is now here.
James Onken is the CEO and Founder of advanced crM Solutions. he comes from a family of five generations of chiropractors- all of whom were graduates of Palmer College of Chiropractic. In his career as a professional CRM consultant, he’s logged thousands of consulting hours and successfully implementing CRM solutions for over 500 clients. Onken can be contacted at 602-456- 4222, firstname.lastname@example.org, or through advancedCRMsolutions.com.