Improve Your Practitioner’s Utilisation
As a Private Practice Owner, there’s usually two things that are always on your mind, how do you keep your appointment books full and what are the best patient retention strategies for growing your clinic.
You don’t want to wait for your appointment books to become patchy or freak out with the urgency of trying to fill the books of a recently hired practitioner before you implement patient retention strategies for growing your clinic.
If you are the main practitioner, seeing the bulk of the patients or you’ve transitioned to owner status (not consulting at all) then it can be a real frustration to see gaps in the diaries of your other practitioners.
The gaps mean your income becomes unpredictable, practitioners may get bored, lack drive, look for other opportunities and the possibility of growth is a distant unicorn, placing even more burden on you to do it all yourself.
Im sure you don’t want to be in that position, however, if you don’t implement and constantly refine the patient retention strategies for growing your clinic, then you’re going to be consistently stressed that you won’t have enough income to survive.
The great thing is that it doesn’t have take massive amounts of money or time, there are some patient retention strategies for growing your clinic that you can implement now for quicker, smaller returns and there are strategies that yield bigger, longer term and more sustained results.
You’re going to need both!
After working with 100’s of private practice clinic owners, and as part of the Business Academy we’ve helped implement some of the most fundamental patient retention strategies for growing your clinic, and we have the tried and tested methods that will help you.
In this article, I’m going to share with you a list of the patient retention strategies that you could use to fill your appointment books now and over the next couple of months to help Grow Your Clinic.
Make sure you read the Patient Retention Strategies disclaimer at the bottom of the post to get some further context 😉
How to Decide on the Best Patient Retention Strategies to Fill Your Appointment Books
You need to be outcome focused when it comes to running your business, especially when you’re investing time and money in growing your clinic.
What’s your immediate need?
Are you approaching a historically quiet period of year, are you about to hire, have you just lost a heap of patients because of season, environmental, team or economic changes etc?
These factors will determine the speed you need from your strategy on two fronts:
- The speed/time it takes to implement the strategy, and
- The speed/time is takes to to get a return on the time and money investment.
It’s very easy to get side-tracked and focus on strategies that are not ‘high value‘ (aka most suitable or have the best return) for you.
There’s no one size fits all, so we use guiding principles and criteria to help make any decision on strategies to fill your books:
“Where can i get access to my ideal client in their greatest concentration, where they are in a state ready, willing and able ‘buy’ from me, with the least risk, lowest aggravation and best return on investment of my time, effort and money”
If we use that, then you’ll run any patient retention strategy through your own filter to make the most sound decision for you and your business/clinic
There is a great fable called The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho that delivers a definitive message about the importance of looking at the opportunities right in front of you before trying to chase or do the next best or latest and greatest new strategy.
In your case, that would mean exploring the INTERNAL opportunities, the patient retention strategies within your own clinic walls first.
Addressing things in your immediate control by implementing quality systems.
3 Principles to Follow When Deciding on the Best Strategies for You
Being in business is so demanding on your attention, there’s always something or someone needing your assistance. It can be overwhelming and stressful!
If you are able to adopt set of guiding principles that enable you to make quality decisions and take focused action each time, you’ll be much more effective in the long run.
It might just help avoid the burnout of being a health professional in business.
Now, because i don’t know your personal situation right now and because i cant directly speak with you personally in this moment, here’s how i can help tailor the strategies for you.
Here are some principles you could use when deciding on the best strategies to help you grow your clinic.
- Get clear on your ideal client and invest the strategies that focus on where they exist in their greatest concentration and are ready, willing and able to come to you for your services.
- Use strategies that allow you to have a great amount of control over the process so that you can better predict or tailor the results in your favour.
- Ensure you are able to create or use tracking mechanisms so that you can review the return on investment of time and money and modify the process for the future.
If you want to read more on principled thinking, we recommend this book, Principles by Ray Dalio;
Internal Strategies for Filling Your Appointment Books?
Internal means that the process is typically within your circle of influence, the opportunities right in front of you.
External would refer to processes that are typically outside of your day to day operations e.g. online marketing
If you’re a bit tight on cashflow, you’ll see some strategies that are low-cost or no-cost to implement, they may take a little more sustained effort and time to get a return.
If you have cashflow to invest, you’ll see some strategies that can be very effective at getting the results you’re after in a quicker time frame if you’re willing to invest money.
The list below is a guide, it covers a small but important fraction of the strategies you could use. The list is not exhaustive and it gives you and impression of what you could do.
You will find the systems, methodology and “Know-How” inside of our Business Academy.
Patient Retention Strategies to Fill Your Appointment Books
Rebooking Current Patients System
- Rebook Patients with Purpose and inline with your single best recommendation.
- Deliver Management plans detailing the ideal, outcome-based care plan (printed or emailed to patient) – delivered to 9/10 clients as standard.
- Book the appropriate and recommended appointments in advance and upfront. Help your client commit to their ultimate outcome and reassure them with the plan to get there.
- The management plan is not for the practitioner, it is for the client and any significant other e.g. husband/wife to communicate the plan and to know what is happening at any given time.
Reactivation of Past Clients System
- Invite people to take up a Special Offer that would be valuable and relevant for their health – Low barrier to entry and Massive Value for them.
- It could be through email, push notifications, letter, sms, phone call using a system like Cliniq Apps.
- Make sure this is done in a systematic, automated and routine way so that it occurs for each client periodically throughout the year.
- It could be an offer a Health check up at a certain time period in the clients journey or time of the year or sale/package of products and services.
- Look to use ‘value’ from other providers so that it doesn’t cost you anything e.g. 1 week free gym membership from your local gym with every new physiotherapy appointment.
Recall of DNA, Missed Appointments & Waiting List System
- Follow up people who are waiting to see a therapist. Do this daily to keep the appointment books full.
- Follow up patients who missed their appointment and book them in to maintain their care plan as soon as possible.
Patient Word Of Mouth Referral System
- Ask your raving fans to refer a friend, family members, team mate or colleague specifically around their condition, personal or professional background e.g. who is one person you know at the tennis club who is also having trouble staying on the court because of their knee, hip, foot etc.
- Ask you clients for connections to clubs, community groups, sports teams, work places etc that are the host to a great concentration of your ideal clients.
- Acknowledge, thank and reward client referrals from your clients to encourage more referrals.
Cancellation & Late Notice Policy
- Induct your patients in to the culture at the new client appointment to set the rules of being a client, including the late notice policy in the induction
- Include the policy in the pre appointment communication
- The aim is to keep current appointments booked in rather than find new people to fill empty spaces – here are the standards we keep
New Patient Enquiry Conversion System
- All new patient enquiries that are suitable for your service should be converted to a booked appointment.
- How many appointments/clients are you missing because the prospect asked how much is an appointment and then they shopped around (learn more here)
- Track phone call enquiries and email enquires on the front desk in a spreadsheet to see your conversion rate – see measuring numbers here
Offer More Value
- Invite, offer or promote patients to also subscribe to, become a member of or purchase resources, classes, group sessions, activities, equipment etc as adjunct to their foundational care plan. Do it only in an ethical, relevant and honest way because it would truly help them.
- Deliver you best recommendation of products and services and offer it to your clients so that they get better quicker and stay that way for longer
- Follow up and follow through on maintaining their optimal health with regular review appointments and opportunities to anticipate their needs or provide with proactive solutions. Help a client throughout their life, don’t discharge them and say you don’t want to see them again, because you won’t.
Upfront Payment Plans & Packages
- Combine one or multiple appointments, equipment resources or classes in a special offer that reduces patients time or money investment.
- Give them the opportunity to commit to their health in advance and stay accountable to not just getting better, but optimising their health ongoing.
Disclaimer About Patient Retention Strategies
Please do not think that this about arbitrarily ‘keeping’ clients booked in so that your business can benefit, that is unethical!
You should run each of these patient retention strategies through your own filter of what you do in your own clinic.
I’m just sharing with you the opportunities for maintaining a client’s ideal care plan in the acute healing phase and the chronic wellness or optimisation phase of their care.
This is about closing the gaps in your leaky client journey where patients leave your clinic because they were not fully nurtured to their ideal outcome or given the opportunity to experience the full health transformation through your healthcare.
The aim of retaining a client is that they get better quicker and stay that way for longer, all with your help!
You need to know what systems and strategies to put in place to ensure those outcomes are achieved.
Implementing patient retention strategies is vital to the sustainability and growth of your clinic.
You need to have systems for each of these strategies and a way to track, measure and report so that you can improve.
If you want to serve at the level you are capable of, if you want a team of like minded professionals to help you make that difference within the community then you MUST always be focused on implementing the strategies to attract and retain more of your ideal clients.
You shouldn’t wait until you NEED to fill your appointment books before you start actioning some of these strategies.
You don’t want to rely on just 1, 2 or 3 strategies either…
Over the course of the calendar year, you should be constantly implementing new strategies and refining the existing patient retention strategies to attract and retain clients.
Always begin with the internal strategies first! They are often in your immediate control and are low-cost or no-cost to implement.
As a member of our Business Academy, you’ll receive all of the systems and ‘know-how’ so that you have the ‘done-for-you’ templates to implement immediately and get results fast. Maybe it’s just the structure, accountability, mentoring and support you need to grow your clinic…
Until next time;
Live with Passion & Serve with Care!