Every good chiropractor calculates their PVA, or patient visit average, which is very simply the average number of visits an active patient comes in for. For revenue generation as well as patient relief and treatment, it’s ultra-important you encourage patients to complete their care program. A long-standing industry standard is that it takes a patient 30 to 35 visits to go through pain relief and correction before they are ready for maintenance, yet most practices still only have a PVA of 15 or so.
In part one of this blog, we outlined five tips to help chiropractors retain their patients, and here are the next five for you!
6. Focus on Doctor-Patient Relationships
Studies have repeatedly found that doctors who have a good rapport with and show common courtesy to their patients tend to have high patient retention rates. A great way to keep a positive relationship is to keep notes on family members, pets, hobbies, or other areas of interest so you can talk with your patients and show that you're interested in their lives.
When patients are called back to the exam room, address them as Ms. or Mr. and their last name. These personal touches can put patients at ease. Practitioners should seek to build rapport with the patient, try to optimize communication, and remember to be engaged and treat the whole patient — not just the ailment. Remind your staff to be courteous as well as it's the overall experience at your office; it's not just your interaction the patient will judge.
7. The Human Touch
When a patient calls to schedule an appointment, it’s always best to have a real person answer the phone in a polite and friendly way. In some clinics, it may be necessary to have an automated phone system as back up, but a real person is always best. The fastest way to send a patient back to Google is to make them leave a message and wait for a return call for something as simple as scheduling an appointment.
8. Ensure You Give a Warm Welcome
Each patient that arrives in your office should be welcomed with an open-ended question, such as "Hi, how may I help you?" Avoid directing them to "sign in and sit down."
Also, the receptionist should wait for the patient to respond fully before asking them to "fill out that" and "hand over this." Take the time to answer patient questions, so that they need to come to the reception desk as few times as possible. Have a water dispenser or tea and coffee machine, near the front desk, so the patients can have a drink and relax while they're waiting.
9. Maintain a Loyal Workforce
Patient retention can be much easier if you have a loyal workforce. It’s especially important to retain the employees who regularly interact with patients, and be sure that they are trained well. Employees can build relationships with patients that keep them coming back. Make sure to acknowledge good employees and reward them for their good work. Also, encourage them to solve problems or complaints as quickly as possible, and empower them to make decisions that benefit the patients.
10. Treat Your Best Patients
While we want to treat every patient with the same standard of care, there are some that deserve extra-special treatment. When you find a loyal patient, do whatever you can to make him or her a patient for life. Identify those who have been the most supportive and who have spent the most money at your practice, and consider offering them special treatment in the way of executive hours, no-charge service on certain items, extended payment plans, or trials on new products and services before they're available to the public.
The key to retaining patients after you have captured their attention is to start recognizing that your patients are consumers with choices. Once you can fully understand and appreciate that, you can watch your retention rate climb.
Do you have any patient retention tips, secrets, warnings, or anecdotes? We’d love to hear from you!