9 Secrets to Make Your Private Practice Win Clients for Life
| Julie Tupler
According to a study published by Strive Labs, around 70% of patients drop out of physical therapy before they have attended the recommended number of sessions.
As a private practice owner, you already know that simply treating patients does not guarantee you will always have new patients coming through the door.
In this post, I am going to share with you the 9 secrets to creating an improved patient experience that will turn them into lifelong clients (not just patients), and I will also give you examples of how I applied it on my own business that gave me many loyal clients.
You undoubtedly have devoted a lot of time and effort on marketing to acquire new patients, which is totally fine, however, retaining a client is much more cost-effective than it is to continuously bring in new patients to keep your clinic calendar full.
Once you have established some clients for your private practice, a patient retention program can ensure continued growth for your practice. Getting patients into your clinic is the first step. The next is retaining those patients and getting even more through referrals from them.
This gives you a pretty good perspective on how important it is to the success of your business.
Let’s get started.
1. MAKE PATIENT EXPERIENCE YOUR TOP PRIORITY
Of course, you aim to offer the very best care to your patients, and that includes nurturing rapport—you know, getting to know each patient as an individual rather than simply a diagnosis. After all, in order to keep winning a patient’s business, you must create a personal connection, and that starts when they enter your clinic. Before jumping into a discussion about what’s wrong—and how to fix it—consider asking a few personal questions to get to know your patients. And make a note of what you learn; that way, you can reference it during future interactions.
2. START WITH A GREAT FIRST IMPRESSION.
A lot of people are intimidated by physical rehab clinics because most don’t have experience with it, and almost all of your clients come to you with pain that greatly impacts their mindset. You should make it a priority that each client gets a very good first impression of your clinic. You should strive to make them optimistic and at ease that you are going to give them the best treatment, you can provide to improve their condition. An example of the way to do this is perhaps to have water or tea at the front desk and a little snack for them and of course have your staff at the front desk smile and say welcome to our clinic.
3. BE A GOOD LISTENER.
Even if you are the expert, it is the client who is going through the difficulties brought about by their condition. Even for temporary ones, you should be aware of the emotional dimension of having a physical disability. Making your patients feel that you are listening to them and sincerely want to help will allow you to develop a better connection.
4. CONNECT BETWEEN SESSIONS.
Nowadays patients want to regularly get in touch with their healthcare providers between sessions. But unfortunately, considering the providers oftentimes busy schedule, it is not always possible. This is where you can leverage the power of technology. There are plenty of software programs that can help automate emailing to clients, so even if you are busy, you can rest assured that you are providing timely and relevant informational materials to your clients in between sessions and also after finishing or my individual clients, I text them in between sessions. For my online clients doing my program on their own, I set up an automatic email one week after clients have bought my program. I ask them for feedback on how this is doing.
5. USE APPOINTMENT REMINDERS.
I’m sure you will agree that there is nothing worse than a patient who doesn’t show up for sessions. People miss appointments for a variety of reasons. Sadly, this is one of the negative aspects of running a service based business. A scheduled treatment session is a break from the daily busy routine that everyone has. It is a complete waste of time when someone does not show up and you could have scheduled another client instead of having them wait longer to see you. If they wait too long, they might even think of turning to another provider which turns a bad situation into worse. Besides that, the client who didn’t show up will not get their scheduled treatment which could result in a setback in the progress that they have made. If you use appointment reminders, you do not only help clients stick to the schedule, but you are also guarding your time against being wasted.
Here are some ways to implement patient reminders.
Getting in touch with clients through emails, phone calls and SMS are standard practice. But you need to set up a method that works for your clinic and can be automated. Most importantly, ask clients about the most convenient way to reach them on the intake form that you provide.
Two is better than one. Using two methods of appointment reminders can be more effective. Most people would be thankful for getting an email a few days before their appointment and then a call or an SMS an hour before. Appointment reminders are without question an indispensable way to keep your clients coming in for sessions.
6. EDUCATE YOUR PATIENTS.
Patients tend to be more compliant with treatments when they know more about it. Explain in layman’s terms the reasons behind the treatment that you are doing and how effective it is in treating their condition. If they do not understand what you are teaching, they will not be compliant.
Have printed materials available. Handy informational materials like brochures and leaflets that describe the services you offer are effective supplements for the information you tell your patients face-to-face. It will help them to be able to review the information at home after their visit, and people tend to give more credibility to information that is put in writing.
7. SEND OUT REGULAR NEWSLETTERS.
Offering a newsletter that contains the currents of the industry as well as the update’s about your practice like related studies, new equipment, products, frontend staff, etc. helps to keep your practice to be top-of-mind not just for patients but also for people who opt-in to your newsletter. Of course, don’t forget to include promotions and referral incentives that you are currently offering. Through a newsletter, current and prospective clients alike will be regularly updated and be informed about the various ways people use your services.
8. MEASURE FEEDBACKS AND ACT ON THEM.
People today are accustomed to leaving feedback for products or services they are using. Providing a feedback process with online or actual written client reviews is a lot easier today with technology. It gives additional advantages alongside making clients feel cared for by asking them about their experience working with you.
A client satisfaction survey is an effective means to increase patient retention. Face-to-face, people are more likely to give you the answer they think you want to hear. A written survey doesn’t have that tendency and is a better way to yield factual information from clients. Clients will feel more important when they see that their opinions matter and that change occurs from their feedback.
You can harness the data you get from your survey and it will surely help you make the improvements that can turn your patients to loyal clients. I realized that my clients whether doing it on their own or with me needed extra and ongoing support. I found this out after doing an email survey. So, I created my 18-week online ongoing support program. There are weekly videos, tips and a blog to connect with others doing the program. I also do a live webinar once a month to answer my client’s questions. The webinar is recorded so clients can listen to it after the session.
You are a professional, but what is most important is that patients perceive the value of your services. You always want clients to feel like they are getting more than their money’s worth!
A satisfaction survey is also a means of re-connecting with a patient who might have dropped out. You can follow-up a with a phone call I the client has not returned or if you get negative feedback on the survey. This way you can address the specific problems or issues they may have. Even with a survey and a personal phone call, retaining an existing client requires fewer resources than attracting a new one.
Maintaining ongoing connections with clients will keep clients on track with their goals. Take for example my 18-week ONLINE SUPPORT PROGRAM. There is no termination date so they can continue to be involved through this support program as long as they like.
9. PROVIDE SERVICES AND PRODUCTS THAT YOUR COMPETITORS DON’T OFFER.
Standing above the crowd will get you more patients and help you gain loyal patients. A good way to stand out is to be innovative with your services and products (if you offer any). You need to keep re-inventing yourself and stay current with what is going on in your industry. In my case, I have continually improved the TUPLER TECHNIQUE® Program and products as well as develop new products to support my clients. From client feedback, I discovered that the arms of my splint move around and make it harder to wear. I also know clients have difficulty putting on my splint. That motivated me to develop a tank top made of loop Velcro that my splint could attach to. This tank top will both keep it in place better and to make putting it on easier.
Clients tend to get bored with the same routines and old products, so you have to continually offer them something new (product or service) to get excited about. Do this and competition will be struggling to catch up with your business.
If you want to add a new service with products to your business and increase your cash flow you may be interested in doing my professional Tupler Technique® Training for treating diastasis. Click here to take you to the page on my website for more information