Last week we talked about figuring out what you want your life to look like. The week before that we talked about how accurately gauge where you are at right now in practice. This week we are talking about how to get from point A to point B. The secret is what some to consider to be dirty words: chiropractic marketing and hard work.
You can’t just set goals and expect to reach them. You have to work to achieve them. So in this post, I will give you three different ideas to work on to improve each of the three top stats that drive your clinic: PVA, $VA, and new patients. To review what these terms mean click here.
Patient Visit Average (PVA)
- Advanced multiple scheduling (AMS). This is perhaps the easiest but at the same time scariest thing to implement. When a new patient presents to your office, you should have an idea of what their treatment plan should look like. A lot of offices won’t let the patient know what to expect up front. They simply keep stringing the patient along with two more visits next week ad nauseam. If you present the full treatment plan up front, the patient knows what to expect and that there is an end in site to the intensive care. Patients like knowing that you have a plan and like knowing what to expect. At the end of the second day, I say, “Now I will take you to our therapy room and B will be in to take care of that for you. They will also talk to you about the bests days and times to schedule these appointments. That way you have them scheduled and can get the times you want.” The key is that you and your staff expect them to schedule. And they do. It is an excellent way to run an office and patients love it too.
- Keep your no-show rate at or below 13%. This stat begins with the doctor making sure he or she is always communicating the need for keeping appointments. Repetition is the key to all communication. At the end of every visit make sure you are confirming the next appointment by asking, “Great adjustment today, we are making progress, when is your next appointment?” Make them confirm it to you. You also have to make sure your staff is being good leaders on the phone and taking charge of phone calls to guide the patients to rescheduling for a different time the same day ideally, or a different day. They don’t need to be jerks, but they shouldn’t be passive in the process either.
- Grow your maintenance practice. Maintenance patients are the best. They get chiropractic care; they typically love you and your office, they don’t have symptoms to manage, and they pay cash. You need to make sure you are educating and discussing the idea and value of lifelong chiropractic care at each and every visit. This is a tough thing to pull off even for me, but it is worth the effort for your practice and more importantly for the good of the patient.
- Make sure you have a great insurance person and that they have a system in place to ensure they can collect every penny you can. Lot’s of clinics leave a ton of money on the table because they don’t have a system to follow up with insurance companies and patients to collect accounts receivable. After contractual write-offs, your collection percentage should be at least 95%.
- Make sure you are doing re-exams at appropriate intervals, even on maintenance patients. I will typically do a re-exam on a patient that is actively being treated every six to eight visits. It helps reassure them that I care about their progress and shows them how they are functionally. On maintenance patients, we do an annual re-exam. It’s a great tool to catch things before they potentially become an issue and remind them that they are coming in for a reason.
- Offer all the procedures and therapies a patient needs and nothing more or less. Treat them not their insurance plan. If their insurance doesn’t cover therapy, offer therapy anyway, and expect them to pay for it. They will tell you if they don’t want to pay or can’t pay. Don’t make that decision for them. Nothing ticks me off more than a Medicare patient telling me that their last chiropractor didn’t charge for an exam or therapy.
- Exceed patient expectations. What does this look like? Some of the core things we try to do are be very friendly and personable. We don’t try to be our patient’s friends, but we all know them by name. We greet a new patient by name when they walk in the front door. We have a very kid-friendly reception area (pictured below) to make it easier for moms to come in with their kids. I remember things about them, like their kid’s names or vacations they go on. Treat people like you want to be treated and you will be amazed at how many new patients you can get just from referrals. That is the essence of chiropractic marketing.
- Give lunch and learns to area businesses. This is an easy and fun way to market your clinic, but you will probably need to get outside your comfort zone. Start with businesses you have a relationship with and offer to bring them lunch (on you) and while they eat you will give them a chiropractic centered presentation. (We use the How to Stay Young talk from Integrity Management.) This isn’t a heavy sales presentation, but you do offer those attending a chance to begin care in your clinic at the end of the presentation. We have started having attendees fill out an evaluation form were we get a grade from them, a testimonial, contact information, and permission to contact them via email. Our goal is to over time, turn these warm leads into patients.
- Around Christmas send off a nice, personable Christmas letter and include gift certificates (we call them Gift of Health Certificates) for your established patients to hand out to friends and families. This is a beautiful high touch opportunity to keep you in the patients’ mind and to get a good number of new patient referrals.
So there you have it. Nine different ways to grow your practice. Which ideas are you going to implement first and when are you going to implement them?