Make Each Visit a Perfect Play

 In Office Protocols

I like to think of a day in the clinic as the start of a new football game.
There are for two reasons for this:
1.  It makes practice more fun when I relate it to something I love which is anything competitive and/or sports related.
2.  It makes it easier to explain how the office should operate to the staff since they typically all understand the basics of the game.
Just for fun, try approaching your practice the same way for a moment. Each day begins a new game and each patient visit is a play within that daily game. Maybe you have 20 plays a day right now or possibly you have 80 plays per game. As well, at any given time in your office, there may be 2, 3, 4 or even 10 plays running at one time.

Just for fun, try approaching your practice the same way for a moment. Each day begins a new game and each patient visit is a play within that daily game. Maybe you have 20 plays a day right now or possibly you have 80 plays per game. As well, at any given time in your office, there may be 2, 3, 4 or even 10 plays running at one time.
There may be a person checking in, a person on the phone, a person getting an adjustment and someone getting a massage; that right there is 4 plays that are being executed at one time within your office. And while everyone has a role on the team to ensure each play is executed perfectly, in this article I want to focus on where every play begins…at the front office.
The front office is the ‘quarterback’ position of your clinic and just like that position is on any other team, it should be considered one of the most respected areas within any practice.
Each time the front office begins to interact with a patient, that is the beginning of a play. And just like with any play in football, if you drop the ball at the beginning then there is a good chance the rest of the play will be broken.
There are 3 basic plays that take place in your practice everyday and if we can ensure they start with a perfect snap of the ball through excellent customer service, then they are likely to result in a first down.

 

Play 1 – Incoming Calls

To ensure that every call coming into your clinic starts off as a perfect play, make sure that you are smiling while answering the phone.
Speak in an excited and almost a little bit faster than normal speed and tone of voice. That will ensure that the person on the other end that’s listening to you gets a good vibe or ‘feeling’ from you by preventing you from inadvertently sending them a bad vibe.
Additionally, use superlatives when speaking to a new or existing patient to again ensure they enjoy their interaction with you. Phrases like “Sounds GREAT (verses ‘Good’)” or “That is EXCELLENT (verses ‘Fine’)” used in your daily dialogue can have a huge impact on the success of the call and follow through from the patient.

 

Play 2 – New Patient Visit

You will remember from school that if your body temperature rises even slightly, it can thrust you into a fight or flight mode; in other words it can put your guard up.
When a new patient enters your clinic for that first time, you want to ensure that they are not made in any way to feel uncomfortable at their new chiropractic home. Leaving a patient in a state of limbo, confusion or tension because of inattentiveness or poor customer service is a broken play from the get-go.
To ensure an almost immediate bonding and smooth start for all new patients, make sure you…
• Call patients by their name
• Stand up and shake their hand
• Smile at them
• Offer them water
• Bring their forms out to them at their chair in the front
• Show them around the clinic
• Explain benefits and payment due so there is no uncomfortable stressing or ‘wondering’ on the patients part

 

Play 3 – Existing Patient Visit

Existing patients are actively on your schedule coming in every day, every week and every month; thus they are where most of your clinic volume comes from and hence where most of your clinic’s profits come from.
Because of their importance in your clinic’s stability and growth, you must continue to give existing patients the same high level of service as you give new patients.
For new patients I mentioned that to ensure they have a ‘wow’ experience you might give them a tour of the facility and bring their paperwork or water out to them. With existing patients however, you have to look for the opportunities to ‘wow’ them and give them an experience beyond what they expect.
For example, let’s say an existing patient comes in on a visit with billing or insurance questions they need help with – and you use an outside billing company. Rather than just saying, “Here’s the number to the billing company we use; give them a call and they can help you,” go to bat for them. Tell them that you’ll call the billing company on their behalf to give them a heads up and that the billing company will get a hold of them today or tomorrow. And then follow up with the patient to ensure their concerns were resolved.
Another example may be if they come in and they look like they may be a little bit under the weather or having a bad day, begin their ‘play’ in the office by bringing them a cup of water or just having a little extra dialogue with the patient to try to brighten their day just a little bit.
So you have to look for those opportunities, and considering that it’s less expensive to keep the patients you have than it is to find new ones, you want to ensure that you put in the extra effort to maintain a customer service level that A. Is beyond what patients expect and B. Is consistent day in and day out.
There are going to be broken plays at some point during the game…it just happens. However, if you make the effort to start each play off with solid customer service, then there is a significantly higher chance that each game will result in a touchdown and that sends the whole team home each night feeling great about the day.

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