For every colleague I meet who tells me business drops off during the summer, I can introduce you to at least two others who will tell you their slow time of year is winter or fall. The truth is, no two practices are exactly the same, and which season is “off” may depend on your part of the country, your patient demographic, and when (or if) you take time away from the office for yourself.
I’ve found that almost everyone feels their practice does well in the spring. But hey, that’s only three months out of the year. In fact, thanks to climate change, spring these days may actually only be a few glorious weeks long. Does that mean accepting that the rest of the year will be a disappointment?
Personally, I don’t believe in “slow” times of the year. Every season offers unique opportunities and challenges, and a creative chiropractic marketer can capitalize on them. Workshops and tune-ups for athletes both professional and amateur, for example, are appropriate at the beginning of any sports season, whether it be football, baseball, hockey, basketball, or cycling. Health Lifestyle events are a natural at the beginning of the year, but also just before swimsuit season and back-to-school.
And any time of year is the right time to work your collections. Sometimes, our biggest potential revenue gains can be found still sitting, billed but uncollected, in our own books.
But the greatest thing you can do for building financial stability from season to season, including the so-called “slow” ones, is to create consistent, positive relationships with your patients. You know this instinctively, or you wouldn’t have joined ChiroHealthUSA. It’s one of the best ways I know to better your bottom line and to prove you truly hear patients who tell you they can’t afford wellness care, the mainstay of any consistently successful practice.
How else can you create and foster positive patient-practice relationships?
- Start out strong. From the very first patient interaction, often over the phone, make sure your front desk CA is welcoming, kind, and crystal clear on office policy and procedure. Patients feel calmer (and tend to be more compliant with their recommended care) when they understand how the office works and what their role is in paying for their care. When is the last time YOU called your clinic or had someone do a “shopper call”? I’ve heard many docs say they were SO proud of how their staff handle these calls; but about 2:1 say they wanted to crawl under their desk when they heard the call. What is inspected is respected and can be improved. Put this on your list of things to do this week!
- Be real. This is sometimes harder than it sounds. But imagine a day packed with appointments and challenged by paperwork and you can see how easy it is to disconnect, even ever so slightly, from your patients while you talk to them and treat them. You’re the authority figure as the doctor, sure, but you are also their partner in their healthcare. Be the Doctor Doctor as Dr. Fred Barge wrote and give them your full attention, regardless of the “day to day” routine.
- Give personal care. It’s easy to fall into cookie cutter-style treatment plans, but not only is this dangerous (Medicare and private insurers alike take a close look at unchanging coding patterns), it also turns your practice into a patient mill. All it takes is a simple note or two in a chart to remember that the patient in front of you has taken up golf, or just became a grandparent and is relearning how to easily carry a baby on one hip, to make a huge difference in your degree of connection and what areas of instability or weakness you might want to give closer attention.
ChiroHealthUSA is proud to be able to give you the safe and compliant means to meet your patients’ financial concerns. We’re also proud to call some of the best and brightest minds in the business our colleagues. For ideas on compliant and effective year-round marketing, please do reach out. Our ongoing weekly Webinar Series keeps you up to date on a wide range of issues facing the chiropractic profession.