If you’re new to the field of chiropractic—whether as a student, a recent graduate, or a doctor in your first few years of practice—you probably haven’t figured out all of the ins and outs of practice success.
That’s OK. It can take a little trial and error to master the right systems and build a practice to be proud of.
As you’re getting started, you’ll put a lot of effort into attracting new patients and increasing traffic to your office.
However, if you’re like most doctors, you probably haven’t put a lot of thought into retaining patients after they finish their initial care in your office. And that’s a big mistake.
If you learn how to incorporate maintenance programs and systems, you’ll find that your most loyal customers provide you with your largest source of income. So you need to learn how to retain these patients for life.
A good first impression
Your reception area is the first and last area your patients see when they visit your practice. Many of your patients’ opinions about you and your service are formed while they’re waiting in this room, so make every impression count.
Ensure that your reception area is clean and welcoming. When a patient first walks in, they should receive a friendly and genuine acknowledgement from a staff member. To entertain patients while they wait, you can provide a selection of educational reading materials, such as articles, current editions of relevant magazines, and brochures.
A personalized experience
In every interaction with a patient, refer to them by name. Try using the “rule of twos,” so that every team member tries to say each patient’s name at least twice during each visit. Studies show that endorphins are released when someone hears their name; if you have four staff members, a patient will hear their name eight times. This can enhance each patient’s visit.
Beyond this basic rule, also try to remember important details about your patients (about their lives, goals, and dreams). When you bring these details up later on, it helps to solidify your relationship.
A focus on education
If you haven’t created flyers or brochures that promote your products and services, you’re missing out on an incredible opportunity to boost sales. When you display flyers and brochures, your patients can peruse them to learn more about what you do.
At a minimum, you should have one brochure that outlines who you are as a practice and what services you have to offer. Beyond this basic information, you can also create specialized brochures and flyers that promote individual services you provide, such as laser therapy, nutrition counseling, or custom shoe orthotics.
A monthly newsletter
One of the most important ways that you can strengthen your bond with patients is through a monthly email newsletter. Through this outlet, you can provide information about the treatments available in your practice, make special announcements, offer limited-time promotions, and engage your patients with informative articles.
Make sure your content is enjoyable and creative. You can always add recipes, puzzles, testimonials, or other features that your patients will look forward to each month. If you send this newsletter out to all of your patients, you’ll help to cultivate these relation- ships and set yourself up as an authority in the world of natural health.
A maintenance model
As you go out into the world as a chiropractor, you’ll find that just about every doctor devotes resources (especially their time) on finding brand-new patients. However, few doctors devote the same amount of resources to starting patients on a maintenance program—which is a big mistake, because maintenance programs bring in far more income in the long run.
In light of how vital this is, regularly schedule your patients for consultations where you’ll discuss their maintenance options. Though a maintenance plan can include just about anything— treatments, supplements, one-on-one consultations—and can involve different tiers of service, the most important thing is that you take it seriously.
A primary provider
Your goal should be to serve as each patient’s primary care provider. If you’re doing this right, your patients won’t just turn to you to resolve acute conditions, but they’ll turn to you for help with general wellness in all areas of their life.
If you implement the tips outlined above, you’ll find yourself with a loyal group of repeat customers who keep coming back again and again.
Todd G. Singelton, DC, is an author, speaker, and consultant in practice for more than 25 years. He has an all-cash nutrition practice in Utah specializing in weight loss, neuropathy, spinal decompression, knee pain, and other nutritional deficiencies. He teaches fellow chiropractors how to add these modalities to their practices. He can be contacted at 801-903-7141 or through singletonsystems.com