When you launch your practice, find and keeping patients will be your No. 1 priority.
And will you want to increase the number of times a patient visits your office? Of course.Â But you won’t succeed with sales pitches, fancy scripts, scare tactics, or “hell, fire, and brimstone” chiropractic philosophy.
These tactics might work for the salesman-type of DC. But if you are an average chiropractor, sales tactics won’t work for you as well as following principles will.
If your office is rundown, looking and smelling like a used-furniture store, no matter what you say to your patients, your chances of convincing them to return for care are greatly reduced.
Your office should look professional. Your equipment and furnishings should be modern and up-to-date. YouÂ and your CAs should be well-groomed.
You should wear a white jacket and your CAs should wear uniforms.
You need to have adequate parking. If your patients consistently have trouble finding a parking space, they will find someplace else to go.
Make sure your office hours are convenient. Patients want a doctorÂ when they need a doctor. If you are not practicing Fridays or Saturdays, your patient retention will suffer.
Don’t make your patients wait. Have a strict appointment-only schedule so your patients will know they can come to your office, get adjusted, and get out in 30 minutes’ time. If you can’t doÂ that, get a consultant to teach you how.
If your office is in a dangerous neighborhood, move. The same principle applies if your office is located in an area of town that is congested with traffic.
Be warm and welcoming
When answering the phone, your CA should have a “welcome to the office” attitude. If he or she is short or abrupt with patients, they won’t feel welcome.
Don’t use an answering machine during office hours. This indicates to patients that you are too busy to take care of them. If they encounter the answering machine twice, they’ll likely start looking for another doctor.
Everyone hates those machines.
Motivate your market
Regardless of what you want, your patients will only get the care they want.
People will buy a new car when the old one is still running fine. They’ll go out to eat instead of cooking the food they have on hand.
In other words, patients often buy what they “want,” not what they “need.” So motivate your patients to want the care you know they need.
Improve your procedures
If your patients think they have an inconsequential problem, they will only come for pain relief. If they have a problem that requires more care than just pain relief, prove it to them. Don’t just tell them or try to sell them.
Improve your reports
The healing-art experts emphasize a key point: It’s your presentation, doctor. Your consultation and talking examination should demonstrate to your patients the seriousness of their problems and the necessity of fixing them. Now, in your report of findings, you need to effectively communicate the importance of receiving corrective, rehabilitative, and maintenance care.
This is accomplished by a clear presentation of the problem, what patients need to do to get completely well, and what you need to do toÂ Â return their bodies to normal. Don’tÂ Â use big medical words””keep it simple. Your patients’ minds quit listening when you use words they don’t understand.
Pete Seeger said, “Any darn fool can make something complex; it takes a genius to make something simple.” Become a chiropractic reporting genius and your patient retention will rise dramatically.
Peter G. Fernandez, DC, the “start-up coach,” has been a practice consultant for more than 30 years. He has consulted with over 5,000 practices and can be contacted through The Practice Starters Program at 800-882-4476, firstname.lastname@example.org, or through practicestarters.com.