8 Ways Your Office Flow May Be Costing You Patients
In surfing, the ultimate expression of good style and form is when a surfer is able to “get in trim” when riding a wave. Surfer’s often refer to this as being in the “Flow” as you feel as though you have literally become one with the oceans energy.
An impossible sensation to describe yet undeniable once you’ve experienced it.
The same can be said of the experience of practicing “In the Flow”. There is an indescribable and palpable energy that can be felt when a practice, including the doctor, the team and the patients achieve this elusive state.
Office flow happens when all sources of practice friction are eliminated or reduced.
When FRICTION exists in your practice, it becomes harder to be your patient, to start and stay under care.Where ever you experience “rubs” you will find the issues; the squeals & the heat.
We identified the 8 Most Common Rubs in a Practice that disrupt office flow and we’re going to share them with you!
If you want to increase your Patient Retention, start with this list below and see how you measure up:
- Hours / Schedule
- Lay Out
- New Patient Process
- Regular Patient Process
- Wait Time
- Table Time
If any one of becomes clunky, the friction ultimately can derail your retention. The goal is to smooth each of these out, so let’s take a little dive into each category.
#1: Your Location
Let’s not exhaust ourselves debating best office locations, but in my experience with over 500 Chiropractors, here are 3 ground rules I consider most important:
- Pick a location that is part of the FLOW of your Ideal Patient’s life already. Where do they live, work, play and run errands? Slide your practice right into their daily flow.
- Choose your Neighbors wisely. Think Whole Foods, Starbucks and Cross Fit boxes.
- Make sure that it is easy to get in and get out via parking and traffic flow. Sit down with your landlord and make the volume of your parking needs clear.
#2 Hours and Scheduling
Rule 1: Start Early and Finish Late. People love to come before work, during lunch, after school and after work. Your patients would you you to be open on weekends, but will that provide you and your family a Remarkable Life? Likely, not. I strongly advise split scheduling which capitalizes on AM and PM shift schedules. Work 2 – 3 “Full Days” (double shifts) and 2 or 3 Half Days.
Rule 2: Block Schedule Make. Certainly divide your schedule into Adjusting Hours and Special Appointment Hours. Keep these separate because it will help your Focus and therefore your results. It will also help your Team, enormously. Your game = Your Rules.
Rule 3: Adjusting Trumps Everything. Regular Adjusting Hours get priority. Always put Reports and Special Consultations at less popular times. Make it easy to stay under regular care.
I tell my Team that they are the Ambassadors of Retention. Their “CLINICAL ROLE” in our practice is to make it easier for patients to keep on schedule and remain under care.
Do not reduce this to an administrative burden or series of tasks. Recruit your Team in helping you help these patients.
Good Customer Service in your practice can be measured in two metrics:
Be sure to design a floor plan that is conducive to FLOW. Think and act out about how patients move through your office. Design and create a natural and intuitive flow through your physical space.
I follow the old adage of Fast Elements to the front of the practice – and slower elements toward the back. In other words, Front Desk activities in the very front of the house…then Adjustitorium and Hot Seats – and then Consultation and Exam Rooms toward the back of the house.
Do not allow a “clunky” layout to derail your flow. Change your physical space once and upfront and enjoy the functional benefits forever!
#5/#6/#8 New Patient, Regular Patient Process and Table Flow
We’ve been discussing these particular 3 variables ad nauseam recently, so we can skip those here or you can backtrack for review. Suffice it to say that mastery of the many steps of each of these processes is critical.
#7 Patient Wait Time
In my observation – this is the most common –and most damaging “Rub” in the modern practice. So, let’s take a few more minutes to dive into it.
Time is money, mostly because time is so limited. People are more concerned about their time than their money. So we need to be as well.
Design your Practice Office Flow with these things in mind:
1. Block Schedule: It allows for better focus, flow and outcomes across the board. Establish Adjusting Times, Report Times and Special Appointment Times. Set policies to protect the integrity of these times and stick to them. This is a key integrity issue AND either increases or destroys TRUST from your patients.
2. Goal is 7 – 15 minute: Total regular visit time of less than 30 minutes. The key to growth is retention…and the 3 keys to Retention are a. Realization/Epiphany, Results & Relationship.
3. Build Value for the Wait Time. The Adjustment begins in the Relaxation Center AKA your “waiting area” or “hot seats”. Teach patients from the start that we purposely schedule a few minutes for them to sit in the Relaxation Center to allow their body to settle-down from their busy and stressful lives. This relaxation prepares their body to receive their best adjustment.
Creating Value for the “Wait Time” will calm everyone down. Patients love to know that they are not wasting time [productive relaxation!] and the Team loves the fact that you are taking the heat off of them and reducing the stress in their lives.
Getting your Practice back in the Flow will make it easier and more fun for the patients in your practice, your Team and especially for you, the doctor.
If you can keep your practice “in trim” the natural result is always growth – easy, steady and predictable growth.
Join us this October in Austin ~
We’ll pick up where we’ve left off to discuss Remarkable Retention!