Attracting new chiropractic patients is essential to the success of your practice.
Keeping your new-prospect funnel full, signing patients up for care, and retaining them as lifelong clients are goals for any chiropractor. And there are myriad books and articles that explain how to do exactly that. Most of what can be found includes marketing techniques, social media, website design, patient care, relationship building, and referral generation.
But have you thought about your office? Most chiropractors don’t under- stand how their office environment could hinder their success. Actually, your office environment is one of the most powerful marketing tools you have because it embodies the key categories of marketing to attract new chiropractic patients.
Study the pros
When thinking about chiropractic office design, the best models are found not only in healthcare but also in retail and hospitality. Retail design encourages patients to buy and hospitality design compels them to return.
How often have you walked into a store intending to buy something but the level of chaos and disorganization quickly caused you to leave?
Have you ever looked up a restaurant online, but when you got there you decided not to stay because it didn’t look like what you expected?
To avoid these problems, study the following techniques in marketing used to attract new patients, and consider how they can be part of the design of your office.
Branding to stand out
With all the chiropractors out there, your potential patients have many providers to choose among. Why should they choose you? How do you stand out? How are you different from the rest? Most importantly, why should your ideal chiropractic patients trust you for their care?
As with any business, you need a strong and clear message about who you are. This message is embodied in what is known as your brand.
Your brand is your commitment to your patients. Your brand tells them what they can expect from your service. It differentiates you from your competition and is your story of how you can help them.
To be successful, your brand needs to be clearly visible, summarized by your key messaging, and present an image that is consistent in all you do, both visually and verbally. Visually, it is embodied in your logo, your print and web-based collateral, and your office space. Your office space is thus the “packaging” of your product.
Marketing teams understand that product packaging can directly impact a consumer’s decision to make a purchase. People are visually oriented and consistently form an opinion at first sight. You can go out and find patients who like you and what you have to say in person, but when they arrive at your office you want them to be attracted to your message all the more by the way your brand reflects your values.
Wrap up the package
Your office makes the first impression when a potential new patient walks in the door. Does its design represent your brand? Does it appeal to your ideal patient? As you’ve heard it said, “You never have a second opportunity to make a good first impression.”
A well-designed and updated space subconsciously speaks to a potential new patient that you are different, ahead of the curve, and that they are right where they need to be. And most importantly, it leads them to trust you.
The relationship business
Amazing patient care and relationships are at the core of most chiropractic practices. You should truly care about your patients and you want that to resonate in everything you and your staff do. This is key to getting new chiropractic patients to commit to care and keeping established patients coming back. So what does this have to do with your office environment?
First, does your office represent your expertise and quality of care or is it worn, outdated, and frazzled-looking? Are there sales notices all over the wall? Is the lighting overpowering? Are the adjusting tables shabby and torn? Is the bathroom junky and unwelcoming? What messages are you sending? Are you creating the culture you want and believe in?
And second, is your staff ’s attitude about your space subtly affecting your patients? Is the office flow efficient and effective at helping patients or is your staff spending energy on workarounds? Do staff members take pride in the aesthetics of your environment?
Staff who take pride in their space will reflect it in their attitude and care. Your staff is your most valuable asset and your greatest expense. They can either work for you or against you.
Research over the years has shown a well-designed space will attract and retain better employees. Investing in your space tells your team that you care.
Referrals are required
Are your patients proud to encourage their friends and family to come to your office? If not, get out of your comfort zone.
Have you heard the story about how to boil a frog? You don’t throw the frog in a pot of boiling water, you put it in a pot of warm water and slowly turn up the heat. The frog won’t realize the danger until it’s too late.
Get out of the pot and challenge yourself.
Walk around your office and ask yourself, “Is this environment the image I want to portray?” Ask your staff if they are proud of your office environment. And ask your ideal chiropractic patients if are they proud of your office environment enough to refer others.
At a minimum, do you need to repaint or recover the adjusting tables, or replace dated and mismatched chairs? Do you need to take the time to clear the walls of clutter and clean off the front desk?
In asking these questions, what do you do if you find you need to improve but it’s not in your budget? If you want to attract more chiropractic patients, take it out of your marketing budget and do it.
Carolyn Boldt, IIDA, LEED AP, has over 35 years’ experience as a commercial interior designer. Over this time, she gained a complete understanding of the industry, which includes retail, hospitality, healthcare, corporate, sustainability, and relocation design. She is a registered designer, and is a principal for CrossFields, with the mission to create practical and impactful environments that elevate chiropractic success. She can be contacted through chiropracticofficedesign.com.