Once you start instituting the “Golden 18” principles of connection, you’ll notice the difference immediately in your patients:
• Deeper loyalty
• Better trust
• Genuine gratitude
• More referrals
• Higher satisfaction rates
• Agreeing to a more comprehensive treatment plan
• More appointments
• Less cancellations and late payments
• Better patient questions, disclosure, and communication
• Happier CAs and staff
• The highest revenue you’ve ever seen
• You’ll LOVE coming to work again!
So how do we go about forming this rock-solid, yet intangible, deeply human connection? Now, let’s get right into the Golden 18. I’ll cover the first 9 principles of establishing human connection in this blog, and no. 9-18 in part 2 coming soon.
Ways to form a connection with patients:
1. Meet and greet
Every once and a while when a patient is coming for their first appointment, buck protocol and take the initiative to go out and greet them personally. There’s nothing like a warm, inviting face, a reassuring smile, and some kind words of welcome to make a great first impression!
2. Call patients by name
The simplest way to signal to patients that you recognize and care about them as a human beings is to call them by name. Even ask permission to call them by their first name, which will show respect and denote importance. It’s not just politeness – studies show that people respond and engage at a higher rate the moment you personalize communication by using their name.
People are fundamentally motivated by two things: 1) pain avoidance, and 2) desire to feel good. As a chiropractor, the whole reason patients are in your office is to alleviate pain or some health problem, but it’s important that you also offer encouragement and affirmation, making them feel good. So every time they make progress, feel better, lose weight, quit smoking, stick to an exercise plan, ask a question, or even book regular appointments is an opportunity for encouragement.
4. Form patient advisory councils for feedback
One of the best ways to show patients that you really care and fix hidden issues or glitches in your care and system is to elicit feedback. Since one-on-one feedback may not be time feasible, invite your top ten patients to be a part of a patient advisory council, giving you on-going feedback like a focus group. You can reward them by taking the group out to lunch or offering them some sort of discount, etc. – but the real reward for most people is just that you care enough to listen and want to improve your practice.
5. Thank patients for referrals
When a patient sends a friend, family member, or coworker to your office, thank them profusely. Then thank them again. It’s important that we recognize and encourage patient referrals, and once you’ve made them feel like a superstar for sending a new patient your way, you’ll be surprised how common of an occurrence it becomes.
It may seem cliché, but truly listening to your clients entails far more than just giving them a chance to speak while you wait to say your bit. In fact, listening is a science and even an art form that you can finely tune, with great results. Consider that:
-We spend 7 out of every 10 minutes of our waking lives communicating with other people.
-But we comprehend only 25% of what we listen to.
-During an average workday, 45% of our time is spent listening, we’re talking 30% of the time, reading 16%, and writing 9%.
-85% of our total knowledge comes from listening.
-55% of the meaning in our words is interpreted from facial expressions.
38% of meaning comes from how the words are spoken, and only 7% of a verbal message is conveyed from the words that are actually spoken.
Look for a blog dedicated to active listening within the next few weeks!
7. Celebrate their special days
Everyone loves to feel special on their birthday, anniversary of their first appointment, or other special milestones, and recognizing them with a phone call, a handwritten note, or a gift certificate from their favorite restaurant will really shock them – in a good way! Remember that you don’t necessarily need to do all of this yourself, but can systematize and delegate some of these “personal touches” with the same effect.
8. Explore their pain points
Everyone has some sort of pain in their lives – in fact, that’s the reason most of your patients come to see you. Your main focus will be to alleviate the blockages so they can heal naturally and eliminate that pain, but aside from that, don’t forget to be cognizant of the other pain points in their lives. These can include:
- Money (healthcare is expensive and frustrating, and they may not be able to separate your services from that lump perception – yet!)
- Uncertainty (will the pain come back? Will it get worse? What if it’s a greater problem?)
There can be more pain points, but these four sit right behind physical pain on the list of reasons patients come to you. Let them know you care and you’re working on relieving their pain with all of these.
9. Educate your patients
Dr. Charles Ward always says that, “the biggest thing that’s holding us back is that people don’t know what we do.” TO form a deep and meaningful connection with your patients, don’t just talk to them, but educating them as to what you do and why you do it. A true understanding of the basic concepts behind chiropractic care will take them out of the dark and start empowering them to be practitioners of their own healthy lifestyle – and loud and proud advocates for what you do!