Patient retention is critical for the bottom line of any chiropractic practice. However, patients are in no way obligated to stay loyal to their chiropractor. All too often they decide that they might get better care and results from another practitioner, but the chiropractor that had been treating them usually doesn’t know why they decided to leave. Here are the top 5 reasons patients decide to jump ship and switch to another chiropractor:
Communication is key to any chiropractic business, and ranges from how a patient is communicated with during an office visit to how they’re communicated with in between visits. While they’re in the office, they want a chiropractor who is giving them their full attention, not looking at a computer screen or messing with paperwork.
In between visits, patient loyalty increases if patients feel that they’re still connected to the chiropractor. Text messages or emails about care plan reminders or accomplishments, birthdays, or invitations to special events are all simple ways to remind a patient that they are valued by the practice. A lack of personal communication, both in and out of the office, makes it all too easy for patients to think it won’t matter to the practice if they go elsewhere.
Patients are busy, and they’re already taking time out of their work or home life to go to the chiropractor. They want scheduling to be as easy as possible, with simple and quick options to reschedule when necessary. Patients find it frustrating when they have to call a practice to reschedule, which usually requires leaving a voicemail and then waiting for a return call.
Scheduling should be modernized to be at a patient’s fingertips with an app on their phone. Patients can then quickly schedule an appointment, receive reminders, confirm appointments, and reschedule if necessary without having to wait for a staff member to call them back. This also cuts down on the amount of time it takes staff to manage scheduling and make phone calls. Doctors can even send an automated text if a patient is late for an appointment, which the patient can respond to by confirming that they’re on their way or that they’ll reschedule on the app.
No one likes to receive a bill, but when the bill is wrong it’s especially aggravating. Over charging a patient is one of the quickest ways to lose their trust. Whether the mistake is due to poor communication from the doctor to the staff about which treatments the patient received or simply human error, billing mistakes make patients suspicious of a practice’s motives, procedures, and competency. Not to mention, the amount of time that it takes for a patient and the staff to correct the mistake is time that could be spent much more productively.
Some practices are strict about processing payments on a certain day of the month, but for some patients it would be more convenient to be charged two days later after they’ve received their paycheck. Chiropractors need to have up-to-date payment software that can process payments on various schedules with flexible options. This will also save the staff time and energy that once went into processing payments.
One of the biggest reasons patients switch to another chiropractor is because they feel like they’re wasting time waiting for their appointment to begin. Whether it’s because the check-in process is slow, the doctor’s schedule is backed up, or someone else is wrongly called back before them, waiting more than a few minutes makes patients seethe. Practices need to have a system in place that allows the patient to check in electronically and that automatically calls them back to the adjusting room based on the time that they signed in.
Anytime a patient steps into a chiropractor’s office they know that their health and wellness is on the line. They need to be reassured that the doctor and staff members know that too, and that they care enough to give the patient their full attention. When the doctor or staff seems to be distracted by paperwork, phone calls, or inefficient procedures it sends the patient a signal that they don’t have their act together. Not only does this tell a patient that their time isn’t being valued, it also makes them lose confidence that the team will take the best care of them.
The key takeaway from the top 5 reasons patients leave a practice is that to excel at patient retention, chiropractors simply must make their procedures as efficient as possible so that they can focus 100% on each patient that comes in.
Platinum System offers the fastest and most reliable billing and EHR software in the industry, which helps chiropractors focus on patients, not paperwork. To discuss how Platinum System might serve the unique billing and patient management needs of your practice, contact us online, or call us at 888-808-4898.
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