Referrals and Relationships

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Do our patients leave us or do we leave them? Interesting perspective as we strive to invest marketing to find future customers and fall short of spending on keeping our existing or engaging them to a point of referral. People do business with people they know, like, and trust. Not know, like, or trust. Build trust through demonstrated performance of promises delivered.

Does keeping a customer longer provide the same results as finding a new customer? Absolutely! It is documented through most professions that 68% of our existing business is using only 64% of the opportunities they have with us. Patients disappear before completing their regimen, fail to keep appointments throughout the month, or are not being recommended additional services or supplements. When analyzing these factors, you can easily conclude that 38% of the opportunity for the year will not be realized without intervention. Stay in touch, keep connected, and experience the increase.

It is also documented that 12-28% of our patient base is disappearing on an annual basis. If we can keep these from drifting away, is it the same as finding new customers? Absolutely! If there is an investment strategy applied to our existing database of patients and customers it will return at a rate that far exceeds new patient activation. Did you know that 68% of the time a customer or patient leaves it is due to "Perceived Indifference"? We are not indifferent and we do care, but the patient gains that perception because we let them go and failed to let them know. The result is lost opportunity.

Did you know that when people were asked if they would provide a referral to someone they enjoyed a good experience with, 99% of the time they answered “absolutely”! Did you know that this same group commented that 88% of the time they were NOT asked by the person providing services to provide the referral? What are we doing over long periods to stay top-of-mind of our patients and demonstrate the type of relationship that builds trust, the basic foundation for a referral? Nothing or very little. What minimal communication would it take to keep the relationship moving forward? Very little. Email is easy but not always effective. Constant communication that simply reminds the prospect that they can spend money with you grows tiresome and will quickly turn negative. If you don't like it, neither will they. Invest in them, erase the perception of indifference, and get your "ASK" in gear. Identify those that can impact your practice and be sure to go a bit overboard. Send print communication like birthday cards, day the relationship started, seasonal nice greetings; ongoing simple touches to say hello are powerful.

Let your patients know that in most cases you have been thrilled to grow most by the recommendations and referrals delivered by those you already love serving. In fact, it is quite likely that is how that patient came to you. Let them know that you would look forward to providing a similar experience to those they know, and treat all referrals very carefully. Then demonstrate the care and communication through doing the little things and making promises you keep. Remember that your adjustment, your work, and your practice will become distant if you don’t. Stay connected, invest in their success, stay in touch.

Don't neglect the scenery. Your practice environment is an amazing unspoken invitation. Patients leave environments daily that are not communicating fresh, trendy, and sophisticated. This perception hinders the referral and diminishes opportunities for growth. I have heard often the stories of new patient increases occurring on the heels of a fresh paint job, updated carpeting, the introduction of a Practice Management Solution, or a full facility facelift from Davlen. Patients interacting with a self-check-in, experiencing an interactive Doctors treatment room screen, and seeing an automated billing process immediately catapult the Chiropractor to a position the excites and invites referral, the backbone of growth.

Couple this change with the payroll hours savings associated with modernized processes and you have the next best tool to build trust for referrals. An engaged CA with time to work the front room will become more personally engaged with your clients. Imagine the keen ear trained to hear about the father that slipped and fell, the son that had a hard football tackle, the ice on the walkway that yielded a slip, or the headfirst dive into the surf, careening the ocean floor. All of these key points of opportunity build future patients, and a caring trained CA will create opportunity and nurture treatment from the families and friends of those already walking into your practice. Because they all need help, we just have to listen, earn, and ask. Did you know that it is 63% less expensive to reach existing customers than to create new ones. In addition, existing patients will purchase or activate 107% more often. This means that you experience greater results from spending less. Now that sounds like success.

You have worked hard to make a new customer and provide meaningful correction to their lives, spines, and bodies. Critical to enriching their experience and earning patients from their referrals is staying connected, building a relationship, and letting them know who you can help. People do business with people. Patients do business with you. They will bring you more. They know the who, simply let them know the how.

Robert Moberg is the Chief Operating Officer for for Integrated Practice Solutions, the makers of the ChiroTouch Chiropractic Software; a complete chiropractic practice management software system designed to make your job easier and your patients’ experience better.