The benefits of being busy extends well beyond the number of lives impacted and the income generated.
There is no better way to practice than being fully engaged and dialed in as the time whizzes by. You go home physically exhausted but emotionally charged by the impact you had on your practice and your community.
From a business building perspective, being busy shows the other customers – new and existing – that you are valid and accepted by others.
When customers see other customers in your office, you are in effect marketing your practice through a ‘show and tell’ method. That’s the oldest form of social proof, and a free and invaluable marketing strategy. Your customers are continually reminded that they made a good choice by choosing your office for their care, and in turn tell their friends and family “it is the best place to go for chiropractic care.”
So, what about serving and servicing all these people.
While a bustling well-oiled machine creates incredible energy and infectious growth when flowing smoothly, the opposite is also true. A practice that has a busy day without a smooth flow would best be described as a mess. Over time, the result is a frustrated staff, less referrals, patients that don’t stick around or even a bad review online.
It can easily become overwhelming for you and the staff when your practice is growing but you aren’t prepared. And it is that lack of preparedness that will also function as the glass ceiling that will stifle any continued growth beyond what your office can tolerate.
The solution? You learn to either move ‘faster’ (i.e. work harder) or become more ‘efficient.’ While there are obvious similarities in these two approaches for how you can manage and grow a busy chiropractic office, there is also one critical distinction between the two.
If you want to see more people and reap the benefits of a busy practice, then in effect you need to be able to get more done in the same amount of time. So, one option is you and your team just strap on the skates and go. The downside is that trying to be faster can result in a patient perceiving you are in a hurry, that you are just herding people through, trying to earn a buck. Worse yet, moving faster significantly increases the chances of making a mistake while at the same time the customer perceiving the aforementioned.
This is where learning to be more efficient comes into play.
Efficiency is all about being more productive and competent which typically means you will also get it done more quickly.
Improved efficiency results in it taking less time to do a better job
And you become more efficient by having everything mapped out ahead of time on how it should be done. In my offices, this is called Systems Based Services.
Systems Based Services (SBS) says this: Everything that can be systematized is systematized to ensure consistency from the staff and predictability for the customer. To break it down further, the Systems are made up of Protocols (how we do it) and Scripts (what we say while doing it). From the front office staff person answering the phone to the chiropractor engaging in a new patient consultation, it is driven by protocols and scripts.
The Power of Systems
When you take the time to create protocols and scripts for everything that can be driven (run) via a protocol or script, you drastically reduce the inefficiencies that are part of ‘winging it.’
And, in reality you DO have ‘systems’ you use to operate your office whether you have purposely created them or not. The catch is that when you have just allowed them to emerge over time, they likely are not as efficient as they could be.
This inefficiency that results from a lack of “developed systems” results in more mistakes being made and things getting missed.
As you grow and scale, the next employee sort of figures out how to do what they need to do just as all the other employees have and the cycle of inefficiency continues.
Really having an office run by proven systems means there is a protocol and script for everything from the front office on how to answer the phone to how a patient is checked out at the end of the visit.
The protocols and scripts are written down and everyone is trained to do it in the same way.
From voice inflection to the cadence of their verbiage… it all has an impact whether that prospective new patient schedules and even the follow through on a recommended care plan.
Do you have a protocol and script for greeting a new patient entering the office including exactly what to say during the onboarding process, and how to say it? How about the exit and payment process?
Or did the front desk employee just kind of figure it out based on understanding the objective?
The same question applies to the chiropractor, massage therapist, chiropractic assistant and anyone else working in your office.
Are they using defined – and refined – protocols and scripts that ensure they don’t miss (or skip) any critical steps, and accurately convey the message patients need to hear to make sure they understand the importance of their care in your office?
Is it all written down in an operations manual where your team can reference it and role play to ensure they are saying it word for word just as you need to them to?
Maybe your office is maxed out on efficiency and you think you have done a great job, but take it from someone who owns offices that see more than 100 people a day without breaking a sweat… efficiency is not about having systems, it’s about the details in those systems that run the office.
It is about making sure the moves made and words spoken are so second nature that nothing get’s left out and nothing gets added in that could impact the efficiency of your flow.
Once your efficiency is optimized to the next level – whatever that is for you right now – then the glass ceiling to growth lifts just a little. Referrals ramp up. More new patients call in.
In other words, it all starts to click.
Enough fires and unknowns are going to pop up every day impacting the efficiency of your office. By trying to preemptively structure your operations into systems that govern your office mechanics, you will significantly reduce the number of fires that pop up while also having protocols and scripts in place to quickly extinguish them when they do emerge.
Your operations goal should be making sure everyone knows their position down to the details. My company locations share a practice philosophy that says ‘Accentuate the Details’ just for that reason – so we don’t forget the importance.
The result is patients that stay longer and refer others and staff who love their job because it is less stressful. They don’t make mistakes and are well trained on how to handle any impending adversity before it ever arises. So, in turn they stay with their job for years and love coming to work each day.
A happy staff and a busy practice.
Now that is a great office to show up to on Monday morning!
Daron Stegall, DC, is a chiropractor with more than 20 years of experience in providing chiropractic care and consulting services. He is the co-founder and owner of Express Chiropractic & Wellness and Express Chiropractic Franchising, a company focused on helping chiropractors own and operate a low overhead cash practice that helps more people in the community discover the benefits of routine chiropractic wellness care.