For varying reasons, most practices experience slow periods in their numbers and get to thinking that it’s just “normal” and therefore don’t take any particular actions to get out of the slump.
Examples of reasons given: January to February is when the Snow Birds go south so the practice is slow; September is always slow because the kids are busy getting back to school and the parents don’t make appointments for that month; the clients overspent at Christmas and so they are tight financially in January and February when the bills come in; and so on.
But here’s the question: Do you really have to experience the slumps or is there something that can be done about it? The answer is YES!
The 3 Pronged Solution:
(a) A lot of practices aren’t doing much marketing at all and rely on word of mouth and so don’t have the quantity of New Patients per month that they would like. The answer is to get busy getting some marketing actions going.
(b) Sometimes practices get super busy and drop out their standard marketing actions during that time and then a slump occurs afterwards. The rule is that when you do marketing actions, the results usually start to show about 6 weeks later. Therefore, the answer is to pump up your marketing actions more than usual 6 weeks BEFORE any known slow period.
(a) Something that can ALWAYS be a go-to action when things get slow is to get all the staff to write letters to past patients or clients to say “hi” and find out how they are doing. Sometimes you haven’t seen a patient for a long time and you wonder where they’re at … so send a letter and ask them how they’re doing. These letters can also be sent by email … fast and cheap.
(b) Another promotional action is to put together a short, informative, interesting email newsletter with pictures of the practice and staff doing things, a short tidbit story about a success with a patient (no name), a contest (photo contest, guessing game, etc.), some interesting “trivia” pertaining to your profession that patients should know about, etc. Insert a little “blurb” about the fact that 3 patients or clients referred friends and family to the practice last month and you really appreciate them having done so (don’t mention names).
Change recall times –
Some practices experiencing slow periods can start gradually shifting their patients’ recall times to different months. For example, if you have a Snow Bird slump in the winter months, gradually shift the recall times of your non-Snow Birds into that period of time. If you have an insurance-driven practice and find that November and December are overly busy as patients want to use up their insurance coverage before December 31st, work to get patients to go ahead with treatment options earlier in the year so that there is not an overload just before the end of the year.
Moral of the Story
There is ALWAYS something one can do to control the levels of service in your practice. The first step is to DECIDE to do something about it instead of sitting back and waiting for things to pick up. DECIDE to have some fun and get busy causing it!
“A lot of my colleagues can’t believe how fast we’ve grown in such a short period of time.”
Dr. Chantal Plant
“My practice grosses almost twice what it did when I started with AMI.”
Dr. Steve O’Brien
“Of course, our production levels have increased substantially as a result.”
Dr. Jordan D’Eon