Zig Ziglar once stated, “You only get what you want, if you help enough other people get what they want.” This statement was never truer than in today’s marketplace. With most businesses wanting to increase their profits while at the same time decreasing their costs, it would be wise to discuss the concept of lifetime patient value. This topic can be seen from the vantage point of both the doctor, and the patient.
The things that the doctor most values from their patients are their loyalty, respect, trust and excitement for participation. From the doctor’s point of view it makes great business sense to focus on patients that have already tried and liked their service. Finding ways to further serve these patients is much less expensive and more targeted than searching for new patrons that have not yet shown an interest or a need. For the doctor to get what they desire, however, they must be able to focus in on the lifetime value they deliver to the patient.
The greatest questions that most doctors would love to have answered are what their patients truly want and value. A doctor that is able to discover and then fulfill these desires will have a happy client for a lifetime.
Doctors can act on these needs by focusing on the following needs of their patients:
1. Improved returns on their investment – Patients want to have demonstrable results that you can quantify for them. Things such as increased range of motion, fewer missed days of work, or restoration of curvature are all examples of such results.
2. Solutions to their problems – Patients would like to know how their issues are being addressed. This goes beyond symptoms to include any additional issues that they may have that they expect you to handle. It is important that the doctor know what the patient’s expectations are from the get-go and if necessary, refocus them on what you will be able to deliver.
3. Convenience – Patients in this hectic environment desire ease of use and reduced complexity.
4. Professionalism – In the patient’s eyes this can be conveyed through the doctor’s certainty, credibility, and trust.
5. Participation – Lifetime patients would also like to feel that they are part of something. They would like to feel that they are co-creators in their outcomes and progress.
In this service model, like it or not, you are responsible for everything that occurs within your office. There may be many areas where your valuable service can breakdown, but there are two main pieces that can be “deal breakers.”
A. Untrained staff – Poor customer service by your staff will be considered a reflection of you. Billing problems, appointment mess ups, clutter, and inflexibility can all create irreparable damage to your relationship with your patient.
B. Unfulfilled expectations – There a multiple ways for doctors to damage their credibility in the eyes of their patients. Credibility can be marred by inconsistencies in the doctor’s fees, procedures, record keeping, and listening abilities. Even the doctor’s personal life can be viewed as inconsistent. Hygiene, weight, diet, and environmental consciousness are all being observed.
In order to create a brand in your community that creates the type of customer loyalty that we are talking about, it would be wise to invest your time and resources into being the office that does everything a little better than your competition while reducing the number of mistakes that are made. This could be as simple as choosing a practice management software that expertly automates many of these procedures for you.
Dr. Peter Meinhofer is a customer sales representative for Integrated Practice Solutions, the makers of ChiroTouch a complete chiropractic software package; a complete chiropractic practice management software system designed to make your job easier and your patients’ experience better.