Veterinarians have perfected patient satisfaction. Now you can apply these four principles to your practice.
You are the doctor, and your present and future patients should never be allowed to lose that important image. Your actions and reactions reflect the real you. Patients are people who are much like you and your family. When they seek your services, they basically want the same things that you would want under similar circumstances. Working with this premise, let us consider what actions need to be instituted to build a successful, growing practice.
First, ask yourself, “Who am I and where am I going?” You may not be able to answer that question immediately, but that’s all right. The important thing is to make the decision as to what the answer will be for you, your family and your patients. You must be responsible for your own life, and as a well-disciplined doctor of chiropractic be dedicated to serving your patients to the best of your ability.
Believe it or not, most people spend more time planning their vacation than what they are going to do with their lives. Most of us have taken a vacation; and those who experienced a good vacation year after year did some very basic planning. Let the parameters be the guide. For example: We are going to be gone 14 days and have a budget of fixed dollars to spend. We’ll be staying in a hotel/motel 12 nights. Reservations have been made and confirmation numbers are properly filed. Part of each day is planned for the children and time will be set aside for the parents. If a babysitter is needed, she will be on call. Each day will be planned with alternate plans of action. If the sun shines we’ll be participating in certain activities, and if it rains there will be other things to do. Plans like this pay big dividends. Successful vacations are the result.
If you are going to build a successful practice you must build a strong firm foundation. The building blocks for your foundation are comprised of multiple elements. Honesty, sincerity, and integrity are absolutely essential. Complete adherence to your values will be the perfect building blocks for your future. You do not need gimmicks to bring in patients. You do need commitment to your own set of values. The sincere demonstration of caring for the patient is mandatory. Remember, everyone wants to be liked, everyone wants to be wanted, everyone wants to belong and everyone wants to be recognized.
YOU ARE IN THE PEOPLE BUSINESS. YOUR OFFICE STAFF IS IN THE PEOPLE BUSINESS.
Everyone Wants To Be Liked
You can demonstrate this to your patients through the following actions: Smile and extend your hand with a meaningful handshake. Greet the patient by name. Recognize their family and friends. When a compliment can be given that is sincere, give that compliment. Mention a nice dress, good looking necktie, new hairdo, etc. Very important–a well behaved child deserves a compliment, and builds pride in the parents. This type of caring builds a bond between you and your patients.
Everyone Wants To Be Wanted
The time you take in taking a good history demonstrates your concern in finding the answer to their problem. As you know, a good history can be most valuable in making a correct diagnosis. Your history will lead you into the proper examination. If x-rays are needed be certain the patient understands why they should be taken. Then give them the opportunity to request them. If other members of the family are present, make certain they understand the need for the x-rays, also. The same consideration should be made if laboratory tests are to be made. You want to do all possible to help patients regain and maintain their health. You are doing everything necessary to determine if they can be accepted as patients. You accept only those patients you feel you can help.
Everyone Wants To Belong
When you give your report of findings, you demonstrate to the patient that they belong in your office if you are going to accept the case. If other members of the family are present, be certain to help them understand why the patient belongs in your office. It is always a good idea to recruit their help whenever possible, for monitoring rehab exercises, taking nutritional supplements, keeping appointments, etc. In the event you feel you should refer the patient to another doctor, always give the patient an appointment to return for examination, to determine if the referral doctor is accomplishing his or her mission. We never charged the patient for this examination, as we wanted to be certain the patient was receiving the proper care. Your patients and their families truly appreciate your sincere concern. Making a referral is not dismissing a patient. You are the doctor and you are doing all possible to help the patient receive the care needed to restore his or her health.
Everyone Wants To Be Recognized
Have your staff scan the newspaper for any information concerning patients or their families. Cut it out and send it to them with a few words in your own handwriting. Make a personal call extending birthday wishes. A birthday card may also be sent. Weddings and other news items are important. Anything concerning children and grandchildren is extremely important. You should be accessible 24 hours a day. Your staff should be knowledgeable, professional, perform well with a pleasant countenance, be efficient, appear to be capable of handling any situation and keep the office spotlessly clean.
There was a time when I thought the dental profession had a corner on the market of office procedure excellence. Today, I feel that veterinarians are in first place. Let me share what my wife had to say when asked, “How can you be so happy paying more for the vet’s office visit than it costs for an office visit to the chiropractor or the medical doctor?”
The doctor is always available to answer my questions and is very willing to see that our animals are taken care of very promptly. He or one of his associates makes house calls or comes to the office in any 24-hour period. When I get to the office after hours, he is looking for my arrival and meets me at the car. He is so understanding and cares so much.
The office is so clean and neat, it feels and looks sterile. The office staff looks like they have just been scrubbed clean and their uniforms reflect the same appearance. They are very professional. If I haven’t called for an appointment they can have the files available in moments; however, they try to have me make an appointment. When it isn’t possible for me to make the appointment, they do all possible to accommodate me. If I have to wait they make me very comfortable and see that everything possible is being done for my animal until the doctor appears. The entire staff has great respect for the doctors and are very proud to be a part of the practice.
When the doctor comes in he is very compassionate and understanding. It makes me feel good that my little Max is in good hands. These doctors really instill confidence in me. They take a very thorough examination. They explain what the examination has revealed and they tell me in words that I can understand. If an x-ray is indicated, I’m given the option to x-ray or not. It is hard to say no because the doctor has made it so easy to understand the need for the x-ray. If lab work is indicated, I understand why and tell him to go ahead with the lab work. I love my animals and I’m taking our animals to the best veterinary clinic in the valley.
“The office visits are more than you pay when seeing a chiropractor or medical doctor. They charge cash–no insurance. They are very busy. Talking with other clients reveals excellent patient satisfaction.” “Monte H. Greenawalt, D.C., D.A.B.C.O. graduated from Lincoln Chiropractic College in 1948. He received postgraduate training at Northwestern College of Chiropractic in the field of orthopedics, which resulted in his DABCO. He is a member of the American College of Chiropractic Orthopedics.
Dr. Greenawalt is Chairman of Foot Levelers, Inc., of Roanoke, Virginia, as well as President and Publisher of Success Express magazine. He holds six U.S. and foreign patents for his work in spinal/pelvic stabilization and proper cervical alignment.As an author, Dr. Greenawalt’s articles have appeared in many national and state publications. Since 1977, he has contributed more than 40 articles to Success Express on the subjects of chiropractic and motivation.Dr. Greenawalt is a strong financial supporter of the chiropractic profession, its associations and colleges. He constantly urges doctors of chiropractic to actively support the growth and development of their profession. For his unselfish work and generosity, he has been the recipient of many awards and honors, including having the library at Northwestern College of Chiropractic recently named for him.