Over the past 5 years of being in business, I have not only learned a lot about myself but also about running a successful business. I have learned that, when I focus on my bottom line, the bottom line shrinks, but when I focus on my purpose and mission for why I became a chiropractor, then my bottom line grows.
Since 2009, we have changed our system dozens of times, not because the old systems didn’t work but because we found better strategies. Out of all the strategies and things in the office we have implemented, there are 3 that I believe are key for any business owner to take control over.
1) Write Handwritten Letters
Most businesses have systems set up where they e-mail clients on birthdays, anniversaries, and other occasions. This is a great strategy, but it is doing the exact same thing as everyone else is doing. My goal is to separate myself from all the other chiropractors in my area and be different and go a step above. We make a goal to write at least 3 handwritten cards weekly to tell patients we are thinking about them, tell them how proud we are of their progress, thank them for referrals, and tell them how appreciative we are of them for having trust in us to care for their body. We do this because people love handwritten cards and, more importantly, because we want to show our patients that we genuinely care about them and their success in our office. Think of your clientele, and even if you wrote 1 handwritten card a week that would be 52 over a year. The cost would be roughly $25 for stamps, but the return on that small investment, from building loyalty and a relationship with your clients, would be astronomical.
2) Implement a Suggestion Book
In 2013, we implemented a book under the front desk known as our Suggestion Book. It is a tightly bound notebook where we keep track of all the patients’ wants and recommendations for the office. We take this book very seriously, as most of our new office is designed based on suggestions from our patients and what they wanted. Anytime we hear someone make a comment such as, “I wish you had XXXX”or “You guys should…”we immediately write it down, even if the suggestion is unrealistic and not attainable. We do this because we eventually figure a way to adapt to their recommendation. For example, one patient said the office was too loud and echoes a lot when trying to communicate with other people. We immediately put rugs under the adjusting tables and added another piece of furniture to reduce the noise. We noticed patients would say they wish we had quick snacks after the adjustment, as they are always in a rush to work, and so we implemented a hospitality area. This area has jars of raw cashews and raw almonds as well as alkaline water. Your clients want to feel part of the organization and want to feel a sense of ownership, as they are spending their hard-earned money with your facility. Take note of their suggestions; start implementing them, and watch how your relationships with your clients change, along with their sense of appreciation for your business.
3) Take Quarterly Retreats
For the past 12 months, we have begun implementing quarterly retreats to take time away and reflect on my practice. All the staff come on these retreats, and for 24 hours, we take the time to focus on every aspect of the practice and how to make it better and how to grow. In the 1st quarter of 2014, we went to Chattanooga and went through every process, such as new patient exams, progress exams, and workshops, to see how we could improve for efficiency and customer service. From this retreat, we began giving each new patient an ice pack when they left from their first visit, as well as taking the time on their 3rd visit to check in with them and make sure we were helping them achieve their goals or find out if we could explain something better. For the 2nd quarter of 2014, we went to Birmingham and drew out the practice and wrote down what would we want the practice to look like if there were no limitations. From this, we are implementing an herb garden for our patients to have herbs for their houses, and we have set up a Fall Family Festival, which will be a way to create more of a family atmosphere within the office.
These 3 steps are things that any business could implement into their facility for massive growth and are a way to create camaraderie amongst the staff as well as clients.