The Craziest But Most Impactful Thing I Did In Practice!
"Thank God you made these changes!"
This is what I heard from multiple patients after they had come in a few times to our new state-of-the-art semi open office. Just so you know, our old office was a traditional chiropractic office with a front desk with a long hall with closed rooms to each side of the hall. Although it served its purpose for ten years, it was time for a change to our physical space as it had become a capacity blockage. My goal of seeing more patients was not being met and my frustration was growing.
I knew I had to do something. After analyzing my practice and assessing it for capacity problems, I quickly realized that my time spent with patients was too much. But, here is what blew me away! Most of the time spent with patients was not spent adjusting. Instead, most of it was speant talking about stuff that had nothing to do about their health! My wait times were growing and patients were sometimes waiting up to 30 minutes to get adjusted. While this was a big customer service issue, it was also causing my staff and I stress and anxiety knowing I was going to run behind. I started hating going to work.
As my present lease was coming to an end, the bigger space next to us in the same building became available. Here was the perfect opportunity to build a new office that would fulfill our current needs. This is when I decided to delete walls and have a semi open concept with two adjusting tables separated by a half wall / T-Bar system.
The results still amaze me to this today!
This system has been so efficient that our waiting room at times looks like we have a hard time paying our bills. Nobody is waiting for more than 5-10 minutes. We are using an honor system to load our adjusting tables. In other words, when patients come into the waiting area, they simply look at who is already there in order to know when their turn is up. When one person come off the table, another gets up and hops on. Retired folks often let patients who are in a hurry go ahead of them while people who are early wait for their actual appointment time to hop on an empty table. It works like a charm. People like not being sent to a room and also hearing the success stories as they happen. Why keep these miracles hidden behind closed doors?
One comment I received from a couple blew me away and changed my perspective on customer service. They actually took me aside and congratulated me on this business move. They mentioned that their average wait time when we were using the closed room system was about 25 minutes. Although this may not seem like a long time to some of you, this couple I love seeing and have been amazing patients indicated to me they had considered changing chiropractors due to my wait times. There's more!
They said that I was the best chiropractor they had ever had and their results were amazing. Despite that, they were still contemplating leaving due to long wait times.
Lesson 1: Don't sit on good results and let your customer service take a dive. Patients may look for similar results elsewhere!
The next part made me cry! Here is what the man of this couple said:
"It takes a smart business man to recognize something is not working and execute a change that not only fixes the problem at hand, but increases efficiency and the bottom line! Thank you for fixing this problem and allowing us to stay with our amazing chiropractor!"
It just so happens that this guy is the CEO of a large company and understands business.
I am not mentioning this to brag. I am saying this because it serves as a great lesson!
Lesson 2: Patients see everything and may not always tell you when they are unhappy with your service and decide to leave.
How many patients are you losing without knowing why? Maybe it is time for you to analyze your practice for capacity issues. Become a better observer and look at your practice from a patient's point of view. In today's fast-pace world, people value their time more than anything. Learn how to be efficient and achieve amazing clinical results. Would you see you 3 times per week?
Your answer to growth may be right there in front of your eyes...just stop long enough to take a look!