According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of chiropractors is expected to grow by 15 percent from 2012 to 2022 which is faster than the average for all occupations. It was also found that people belonging to all age groups are becoming increasingly interested in chiropractic care. However, the NCHS/CDC National Health Interview Survey 2012 revealed that regional differences play a huge role when it comes to American preferences for chiropractic care. If 16.4% of adults in the West North Central region and 11.4% of adults in the Mountain region used practitioner-based chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation in 2012 higher than the national average 8.5%, only 6.5% of adults in the East South Central region, 6.2% of adults in the South Atlantic and 5.9% of adults in the West South Central region used practitioner-based chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation, lower than the national average. In such a scenario, you really need to work hard to take advantage of the increasing demand for chiropractic care and grow your practice.
The primary step required is to increase the number of patients visiting the office. If this step doesn’t work as expected, you will end up with a great loss. Here are some effective tips.
An Appropriate Website
In this Internet era, your website helps most prospective new patients know about your practice and services. A good website will have a simple design with easy-to-understand guidelines on how to make a new-patient appointment. Though it is essential to provide visitors with a method to communicate with your office, you should make sure that you are using secure messaging service (not regular e-mail) so as to meet HIPAA requirements. Adding pictures of the doctors and staff team is a good way to emphasize your authenticity. A two-minute ‘Welcome to Our Office’ video is very effective as the patients will get an opportunity to see your office environment remotely. People visiting your site may have already decided to seek the service of a chiropractor and you have to convince them how you are better than competitors with solid information, testimonials and other compelling web content. Highlight the offers, if you are providing any.
Not only should you design the website properly, but make sure the site is well-optimized for search engines by using appropriate keywords and up-to-date optimization strategies. With the proliferation of mobile technologies, more and more people are accessing healthcare information through smartphones and tablets. If you want to attract mobile audience, it is very important to use mobile-friendly design (for example, responsive design) for your website.
When people make their first appointment once they visit your website, you should make the communication effective as much as possible. Whether they choose phone or e-mail, your staff should be always available to address their inquiry and reply to them quickly in a very clear and polite manner. The following practices will help you to have effective telephonic communication with your prospective consumers.
- Give them a short, standard and cheerful greeting and don’t keep them waiting beyond the third ring.
- Follow courteous phone etiquette that ensures you won’t lose the caller.
- Once you understand the caller is a new patient, adopt a ‘right now’ policy in which you should not put off the patients until tomorrow. Respond to them in a tone that you are ready to give appointment today
You should follow a customer-centric approach and make your patients feel secure and impressed. Greet them with a personal note, not only during the first appointment, but also at each follow-up visit. Keep their initial paperwork safe and easily accessible. So, when the patients call, your staff can check their details quickly and follow up with their needs quickly. Listen to their problems (for example, unattainable appointment schedules) carefully and take quick actions (proper scheduling of appointments in this example) to solve them. Contact the patient’s insurer before confirming the appointment and make sure the claims will be paid for the required services.
Robust Marketing Plan
Some experts believe poor marketing can be one of the main causes for the failure of a chiropractic practice. Many chiropractors are building bigger practices by investing in marketing while others barely survive. So, if you want to grow your practice, you should have a robust marketing plan. The cornerstone of every robust marketing plan is to have goals. Your goals should be challenging and attainable, clear and specific, measurable and time-sensitive. You should also define your goals as long-term or short-term and limit the goals to no more than five. Once you define the goals, you can devise strategies that will help to attain them and implement them carefully.
Though there are several marketing options out there, online marketing is the most cost-effective way for getting more word-of-mouth promotions and referrals and grow your practice. Here are some effective internet marketing strategies.
- Social Media Marketing – You can use social networking platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn to reach out to more people, tell them about your practice and encourage them for office visits. You can start business pages in Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and spend some time each day to promote those pages. Google Plus Local page is a very good platform to confirm ownership of your website in a local area. This will hugely impact your website ranking as well. Facebook and Twitter provides several paid and unpaid advertising options that can be utilized to market your practice. Marketing on social media also includes creating shareable content (solid text, images and videos of expert exercise tips) and encouraging people to like and share them. You can post regular updates about your practice on social media pages so as to make people aware of your new developments and offers.
- Mobile Applications – You can attract your patients and get referrals by developing mobile applications that provide information on chiropractic principles and types of treatments available. If you well-optimize your mobile apps, the prospective patients will find these applications on the Internet and utilize them. Eventually, they will contact you for chiropractic care. Create applications that integrate with popular social sites to reach out to more audience.
- Using Referral Sites – Creating business profiles on referral sites including Yelp and Angie’s List is another way to increase your referrals. Monitor these sites closely for bad reviews and reply to them intelligently; take the criticisms as a way to improve your services. Ask your happy patients to write good reviews on these sites as well.
Once you increase the number of patients visiting the office, you can improve the collections by managing the billing procedures, claim submission and revenues with the help of coding and billing professionals.