Patient Retention – Getting Patients To Book Follow-Up Appointments

What do you do when your chiropractic patients leave your office without setting a new appointment? Sure, every now and then we all have patients that need follow up care, but don’t schedule their recommended appointments But if it’s happening more often than you’d like, the following suggestions may be helpful.

Here’s a typical scenario:

Your new patient, Mrs. Jones, arrives at your office complaining of hip pain. During her exam, you discover her pelvis is rotated. You explain your findings, discuss contributing factors and outline a typical treatment protocol.

Her adjustment goes smoothly, and she gets up from the table with a big smile, saying she feels better already. Pleased, you recommend she return later in the week for another adjustment. She nods in agreement. You then escort her down the hall and deliver her into the care of your CA, who will perform e-stim and laser therapy. Satisfied, you usher the next patient into your treatment room.

Later, when you check with your first desk staff, you learn Mrs. Jones didn’t schedule a future appointment. You scratch you head, wondering what went wrong. She seemed satisfied. You made a clear treatment recommendation. She had insurance with a low co-payment. And yet she left without scheduling another appointment.

Sometimes we need the skill of a detective to determines what goes wrong when a patient doesn’t return. Then again, we often never know.

However, there’s an easy way to increase patient retention. By working in conjunction with your staff, you can easily decrease the number of patients that don’t schedule further treatment.

Chiropractic patients look to their chiropractors for recommendations, so to increase patient retention, make it a habit to suggest a follow-up appointment date to every patient.

To make it easy on your staff, write down your appointment recommendation on a note pad for the patient to carry to the front desk. You can order small note pads imprinted with your name, address and phone number from any local printer. (As an added marketing touch you might add your website address to the bottom of the pad.)

Upon check out, we employ a useful sales technique. The front desk staff asks the patient about the doctor’s appointment recommendations. The conversation goes something like this:

“Mrs. Jones, what was Dr. Mixon’s recommendation for your next appointment?” Or “Mrs. Jones, what day did Dr. Mixon want you to come back?”

Asking an open-end question that requires more than a yes or a no answer encourages the patient to supply a date. And the slip of paper that was handed to the patient further emphasizes the recommendation.

Of course, not every patient will book their next appointment. But most do. We aim to make sure those who don’t, leave with a business card and a good impression of our office.

Learn more effective patient retention techniques.

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