Do patient drop offs plague your PT business?
Early on drop offs plagued my practice
One of the things that I really want to talk about is the process for drop offs. I started out not knowing what’s going on at my practice. They were just happening.
I look at the numbers and I thought “What is going on? How are we going to get these people back in?”
Then, I kind of called in one of my mentors. I’d been watching him on his Facebook Lives and he was talking about systems and processes. About the patient’s experiences with everything that they were doing.
One of the things that I’ve learned from him is that I need processes to implement this.
First, we implemented a script on that first phone call whenever we have a potential customer, client or patient calling.
On that initial phone call, you need a script. The front office needs to know what they are saying. It can’t just be a data gathering. You have to go deeper and further than that.
If your patients didn’t show for the visit and you wonder, “Why didn’t they come? What happened? Why aren’t they here? Then you call them and try to get them to come in,” then it means you screwed up on the first phone call. You blew it right there.
You screwed up when you had them on the phone. You had an opportunity and you blew it. So, you need to have a script at that first phone call. It has to be a scripted phone call.
You just don’t need a script, but you also need to practice it.
You need to see objections and learn to overcome them. You need to recognize them ahead of time and know how to overcome them.
The frequent one is the money objection. It isn't about money… it's about value. You did not show them value. If you show them value, there is no objection. You have to show them the value in what you are doing, how it is going to help them, how will it disproportionately impact their life, and how they is it worth more than what they give you.
Come up with a script and practice objections within that. Turn this into a sales call. If you don’t know what to do, then message me. I can help you with some of this.
This relationship-building really starts with that first phone call.
After that first phone call, we send out an email.
This is actually the email that I am offering you so if anyone is interested, I will be happy to share it with you.
In this first email right after the first phone call, we want to give them a different experience on that first phone call than anything that they ever had when they called before a physical therapist, chiropractor or whoever is going to help them with their problem.
What we do after that first phone call is we follow it up with an email or text message.
Email is better because if you have a HIPAA compliance, you can put some more information on this.
In this email, we communicate a couple of things: first, who their therapist is. We introduce something about that therapist because from this point, the thing that stops them from coming is that they don’t see the value or they have fear, doubt or uncertainty of what is going to happen. So in that first phone call we have to set those expectations and follow it up with an email, which also reinforces those expectations set.
In the email, we do a little video work. We introduce the therapist then we do a little video. We tell them everything that they need to know to remove that fear, doubt or uncertainty that they have.
We show them where we are located, where the parking is, where the front door is, and where the waiting room is. We introduce them to the staff and we show them the space that they’re gonna be working in. Then we tell them a little bit of information about what they need to know to prepare them for their first visit.
These are all knocking down these barriers that they’re going to have in their mind to reach that emotional tipping point to show up for that visit. There is a pretty significant drop off between that first phone call and that first visit. Everytime you lose a patient, you lose money and that is a patient that you cannot help.
In that email, we put our location and we give them a link so that they can go to the Google Map and they can come to our location. They can just hit it on their phone and it will give them directions right to you.
Just remove one more barrier. With every barrier that you remove, the more likely that the patient is to show up for that appointment.
After that, you have to develop this relationship. You have to use these tech tools -- email, messaging -- to try to create a relationship with this person. The relationship is how you are going to stop them from dropping off.
The relationship is the leverage point.
The more you build that relationship, the more you can leverage the patient. The patient will then refer friends and family to you if you built a good relationship with them. If you haven’t, they’re not gonna refer people to you.
You need to build a relationship.
Use the tech to do that. We follow up that first initial evaluation with a text message. Tell the patient, “It was great meeting you today.” Tell them about details on muscle soreness, that it is perfectly normal to feel sore. We reinforce them with a lot of things and I reinforce what I am going to do in their next visit.
This is how you stop your drop offs from happening.
There’s a little bit of tech magic to it but it’s primarily building a relationship, showing the person value in you and your practice. That’s what will stop them from dropping off.
That really is going to improve the number of patients who will show up in their first visit.
I can’t tell you how much it helped my practice and a lot of other people I’m working with. That follow up email or text message after the first visit is also big to build that relationship. That’s where I want to talk about today, that front end of building a relationship.
If you back out even further, you look at your marketing. Your marketing is targeting and setting expectations. You set an expectation to what your practice is and what your practice does on your initial market. If you don’t do a good job on that, you’re gonna get a lot of phone calls that are not gonna be good. Those phone calls that aren’t good are not going to turn into patients, but if your marketing is right, they will call that they are ready to go.
You start building that relationship in that first phone call. You start generating that relationship with the other person. The relationship is the key to everything on how you can stop those drop offs.
Their experience with you is everything.
If they have an experience with you with your marketing before that first phone call, they can already see the value in you even before they make their first phone call. The first phone call is just to seal the deal.
After that, they already know that they’re in the right place once they see the therapist because the right information has been passed along from the first phone call automatically to the therapist, so the therapist knows the reason why the patient is coming.
The first time they greet them, they greet them with what their goals are. The real reason that they are really coming is not only because they have back pain but because they want to play with their grandchildren or they want to climb the stairs again.
Building that relationship is absolutely the key. You’ll see that the number of your drop offs will start to drop because you are building the relationship and the patient will know that you care. That’s what anybody wants. People just want to feel important. They want to feel heard and understood.
If you do that on the first phone call, you set your provider up for success because you build that relationship. The relationship is absolutely everything and you need to use the tech to get you there. The tech is not to replace the relationship but to support and grow it.
We’re all busy. We don’t have time to sit down and type an email for every patient. You can use tech to create that relationship and to say the things that you want to say.
That’s pretty much everything that I want to say. I’m here to help and I’m trying to create something that is going to allow people to not end up in the same pitfalls that I fell into. It was a really long journey for me up to this point, meeting and partnering with the right people and coming to recognize my shortcomings and people who can create that team with me in physical therapy.
That front office is your first line and they need a script. They have to be on that script and they have to practice overcoming objections.