What makes a restaurant your absolute favorite? Is it the food, the decor, the location or the wait staff? I doubt it's just one thing. My favorite restaurant is just that because of the way the restaurant goes the extra mile to make a personal connection with me.It's about more than just the food (although, ultimately, its product – the food – needs to be good); it's about the overall experience.
Did I hear a good review of the place before I went for the first time? Once there, did I have to wait long to be seated or to get food? Was the wait staff friendly and helpful? Was the food delicious? Overall, was the restaurant what I had expected or did it exceed my expectations?
These questions could be used to assess any business or service we use: restaurants, hair salons and, of course, chiropractic offices. That's why the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP) is working hard to generate a positive buzz about chiropractic. The foundation wants your office to become the favorite office for every person who walks through your doors.
How do you get patients to view you as their favorite? Let's go over some ways you can achieve that goal – and how the F4CP can help you along the way.
Why do patients come to see you? It all starts with what people have heard about chiropractic. This is a conversation bigger than just you and your community. This is where the F4CP has stepped in and pushed a national campaign of positive press to open the dialogue for chiropractic as a health care model while dispelling myths about the profession. The foundation has achieved much success in 2012 in regards to chiropractic media coverage. While striving to reach its goal of 5 billion positive impressions this year and 5 billion per month in later years, each month the public is becoming more familiar with chiropractic and its value.
Anchoring the PR program is a twice-monthly placement of F4CP ads in USA Today and The Wall Street Journal. This kind of marketing is too expensive for one chiropractic office, but when we work together, these ads reach more people – and that means more people may choose chiropractic care.
Getting people to seek chiropractic is just the first step. Then they must decide to become your patient. This comes down to effective marketing and word-of-mouth patient referrals (which is also great marketing). Since most chiropractors do not have a marketing background, this step can be overlooked and is typically underutilized. Fortunately, the foundation is here to help you. Once you choose to support the F4CP, you will have access to tons of resources you can use to better market your office.
I would like to encourage all doctor and student contributors to take advantage of the foundation's new materials. Different guides cater to different audiences, with one for individuals and one for vendors. If you are an individual contributor, the foundation's new guide provides valuable tips regarding marketing and the use of F4CP materials. This guide has proven to be extremely useful to those who have used it.
Now that people have stepped into your office to become patients, are they waiting a long time before getting into the exam/treatment room? This is an important part of the process because patients want to feel special, not just like Patient #47. They deserve your respect, so be aware that keeping your appointments running on time will respect their time. While patients can expect to wait for a short time before their appointment, be sure to keep current reading materials and visually-stimulating displays in your office to keep them engaged while they wait to see you.
There is nothing worse than a rude waiter to make you never want to go back to a restaurant. The same is true for your office staff. The impact they have on your reputation and on your patients' day is significant. Patients will spend a lot of time with your CA, so make sure your staff is fully trained to do their jobs efficiently while being friendly and courteous to patients. This seems like a simple part of the process, but can be a big problem if it's not handled correctly.
You should be a role model for your staff on how to relate with patients. Talk to your patients about their day, their families, their jobs and, of course, their experience at your office. Also watch how your staff interacts with the patients, and make sure your office is not only a place where patients want to visit, but also a fun, energizing place where employees want to work and do their best.
At the end of the day, patients will return and are more likely to follow your recommendations if they feel better after your care (which essentially means they are satisfied with your product). Just like a restaurant is only as good as the food it serves and a hair salon is only as successful as its ability to make customers look better, your job as a DC is to help your patients lead a healthier, happier lifestyle. If you are thorough with your exams, treatments and recommendations / follow-up care, you will be surprised at how many patients will have a positive experience under your care. This is the part of the process that you have trained for and are highly skilled at performing! Your patients are in the best care in your hands, so be sure to make them feel that way.
The final step is the score your patients would give you for their overall experience. Did they feel comfortable? Did they feel they were treated fairly and with respect? Did they leave your office feeling less pain, feeling healthier and feeling happier? Your office's reputation and success hinges on whether your patients' expectations were met; or better yet, whether you exceeded those expectations. If you take it one step at a time and work on each aspect of your office – marketing, staff, treatment plans and overall experience – soon you'll be many people's favorite chiropractor.
You Aren't in It Alone
As the foundation gains more support, the general public and media will advance both their acceptance and knowledge of chiropractic. Help spread awareness by supporting the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress. Visit www.f4cp.com or call 866.901.F4CP (3427) to join today.
Click here for previous articles by Kent Greenawalt.