Keeping Your Patients Coming Back for More – Tips on Patient Retention
Growing your business is important and is a top focus area when you speak to Chiropractic Clinics or Chiropractors. While growing your business is an excellent goal, patient retention is equally important, if not more important, than gaining a new patient. The patient has already invested in you and/or your business, so the next step is creating a need and environment that encourages your patient to return not only for the current treatment plan, but for all future chiropractic needs as well. Create an offering to your patients that gives them top-notch care, attention, support, and honesty.
Follow these suggestions and you can not only increase your patient retention, but also increase your new patient base:
- Wait Times
We all have a full schedule, and your patient’s time is valuable. One of the most common complaints patients have while visiting clinics is wait times. Anything longer than 15 minutes leaves them feeling frustrated. If the wait time is reaching an hour (without communication), you drastically increase the risk of never seeing that patient again. Take a close look at your scheduling systems and/or software to be sure you are not overbooking. If you are behind, consider creating a system for contacting the patient to let them know before they arrive and give them the option of rescheduling. Losing a patient or two for the day because you had to reschedule is better than having the patient leave your clinic permanently.
- Clinic Lobby, Rooms & Equipment
As straightforward as this may seem, be sure your lobby/waiting area is clean, comfortable, and attractive. Have reading materials available regarding your clinic and services offered. Budget for facility, equipment, and furniture repair or replacement. Keep your clinic clean and your bathrooms cleaner. If you play music be sure to keep the levels low and the music upbeat and neutral. Avoid adding any air fresheners or other scents to your clinic.
- Clarity of fees
Ever get a bill from a utility company that has a lot of unexplained charges? You instantly feel as though someone is trying to take advantage of you coupled with wasting your time trying to chase down an explanation. Always be upfront with your customers about all your fees for service. Patients who come to you understand there will be costs involved, so being upfront is critical in building trust with your patient base. Patients should understand, with your guidance, what role their insurance is estimated to play in their care plan, and clearly understand their responsibility in understanding their coverage and benefits. If possible, provide timelines and expectations of costs and insurance throughout the care plan.
- Correct and Transparent Billing
Just as clarity of fees is important, your billing process provides the patient with accurate and timely billings. Staying updated and on-top of current billings, insurance claims, and collections can be tedious, but it is imperative that your patients trust that you are working hand in hand with insurance companies claim departments and providing the customer with the most aggressive and accurate billing possible. Since billing accuracy is a huge part of building trust with your patients, and imperative to your bottom line, consider outsourcing your insurance billing to a billing company, such as Money Tree Billing, or other reputable options that may be a good fit for your clinic.
- Clear treatment plan
Since each patient is unique it is important to understand their goals and work together to meet them. You may know the patient should come in weekly for the next three months, but if you present that as the only opportunity for care, you risk losing that patient. Guide your patient to the best care options but be willing to offer some flexibility, if possible. If the patient is not willing to work within a treatment plan that will make a difference, be honest about that as well. You can provide the service, but if the patient is unwilling to follow the plan you are suggesting, they may not get the result desired.
Make sure your marketing materials clearly highlight ALL your services. It is common in most businesses to forget to keep the customer aware of all the service options available and focus only on the original reason for their visit. Do be careful not to force a hard sell on your other products, make the patient aware of the service and the benefit and quickly move on. Printed materials that leave with the patient at their initial intake is a great soft way to introduce them to your services.
- Stay Connected
Many patients are one and done patients; they come in for an adjustment and will not seek chiropractic care again until they need another visit for a specific reason. Establish a follow-up plan for each patient, and if possible, you can refine the follow-up based on patient type. If possible, do a follow-up phone call to patients who came in with a pain or injury. Have a presence on social media and offer genuine advice for better health. Write a blog and become a trusted source for chiropractic and wellness care. Use direct mailers, pertinent ads, etc., keeping your name in front of your patient on a consistent basis. Stay connected to your patient and you should see not only an increase in patient retention but also patient referrals.
- Customer Service
Good customer service is one of the biggest things you can do to retain your patient base. Every time you are in communication with your patient do your best to offer top quality customer service and in turn you will have a loyal patient base. When a patient feels well taken care of, respected, and listened to, they are far more likely to share their positive experiences with their friends and family. Customers who feel they have been given excellent service are much more likely to give a positive online review without prompting. (Give them poor customer service and the patient are more likely to spread the word regarding their unpleasant experience.) Be sure you require exceptional customer service from of your staff, incorporate it into your company culture, and lead by example.
Great customer care, transparency, and accuracy are all key features in successful clinics with high patient retention rates. Accurate billing and understanding what the cost of your services to your patients is critical to the patient satisfaction process. When you outsource your insurance billing to Money Tree Billing, you are not only providing accurate billing that will improve patient satisfaction and retention, but you are also assuring that your clinic is getting optimal consistent cashflow. To learn more about Money Tree Billing and all the ways we can help you or your clinic go to www.moneytreebilling.com.