“You can’t handle new patients!”
If you can’t retain the ones you got.
1. Set the Stage and Expectations
One of the most common phrases you will hear me utter around my offices is “It’s all about systems and communication. If the system breaks down – Communicate.”
That very first call and experience is vital to your patient becoming a #Friend4Life.
Make sure you set the stage of what they will expect from you and what you expect from them. Have all your systems in order including;
- No Show Fee and Late Visit Requirments
- Preface Your Billing and Collections
- Reiterate WHY they made the best decision to choose your practice
- Set the tone that you will be expecting referrals by asking “Whom can we thank for referring you to our office?”
2. Invest in Tech
Ok so it’s 2016 and if you’re still using an office cell phone to manually text message and remind your patients of their appointments you need help…for real.
And, if you are spending more $300-500 a month on a “marketing program” that comes with reminder software than you most likely need to reevaluate your program.
Even a small no-show percentage can have a tremendous impact on operations. Let’s take, for example, a regional wellness group with 12 locations and an average per-patient service cost of $120 per visit. All of the locations in this group average 160 weekly appointments per site, with an average no-show rate of 5 percent. This equates to a total of 96 missed appointments weekly appointments for the group, with $11,520 in lost revenue.
Make sure you have a system that balances a reliance on tech as well as the human touch. There are always going to be patients that prefer a call over an email, text or push notification.
3. Embrace Feedback and Follow-Up
Back in 2009, I was really lucky to join a startup as an early stage co-founder. That company was called DoctorBase and our primary focus, at that time was appointment reminder software with automated patient marketing.
Automated Patient Marketing?
A really great way to say “Review Collection Software.”
Just like reminder technology, there are a plethora of options for collecting and managing patient feedback, internal and online.
Nearly 80% of practices identified as “better performing” used customer satisfaction surveys, and used them more frequently than lower performing practices.
Following up after a first visit or a patient who might be struggling with care is also going to do wonders for your patient retention rate
4. Don’t Forget the Holidays
Thanksgiving is right around the corner and that means the 2016 holiday season is officially about to start
If you don’t think you can turn customers into repeat purchasers and keep them coming back with a simple holiday card, you are mistaken. Think about how much money you spend on new customer acquisition — is it less than $4 and a couple minutes of your time? That would be highly unlikely. Consumers naturally want to do business with companies and people that they feel value them.
If you really want to step it up a notch you can toss a little something extra into the card. I personally like Starbucks gift cards. It is something that people can use almost daily and every time they don’t have to refinance their home to buy their fancy coffee they will think of you.
But don’t include your business card or any kind of coupon or promotional offer. That will absolutely backfire and ruin the message.
5. Hire a patient coordinator
Many Chiropractors think it’s enough to ask their CA or office manager to call past-due patients when they have time, but that is simply not enough. You need a person who’s dedicated to making these phone calls and getting recall patients on the schedule. That’s why I recommend hiring a patient coordinator and tasking this employee with revitalizing your recall system.
I know what you’re thinking. “That sounds great, but how am I supposed to afford another employee?” I understand your concern, but bringing on a patient coordinator isn’t as expensive as you think.
A good patient coordinator should be able to handle a patient base of 500 to 1,000 in about 15 hours a week. Believe me, once your new patient coordinator starts turning inactive patients into active patients who accept treatment and who refer, you’ll wish you had made this investment sooner.