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Today’s blog post will give you three quick strategies to fix slow times…fast!!
We Can’t Help You
Recently a chiropractor contacted me to ask for help with getting his practice to be more profitable. He loved my tagline “work smarter, not harder” and wished to move his business in that direction. Without being able to point a finger on a particular problem, he stated that he felt he was working harder than ever and seeing less in the way of financial rewards and personal satisfaction.
The chiropractor submitted a Practice Analysis Questionnaire and took me up on my offer to conduct a FREE, no obligation review of his practice.
I called the doctor at our scheduled time in the morning and was immediately put on hold, during which another call came in that the receptionist needed to take. (It wasn’t a “Would you mind holding for just a minute?” either – it was a “HOLD!” and then nothing!) After several long minutes on hold, our call was disconnected.
I called again a few minutes later and was put on hold…again…for nearly 10 minutes before I hung up in frustration. Out of curiosity, I dialed the doctor again later in the day and got a recorded message saying they were out to lunch.
In addition to a myriad of billing blunders, coding issues and a sizable A/R that could sink a small town, guess what this office also listed as one of their chief challenges? Getting new patients! Sure – there are hundreds of ways to get potential new patients to call your office. And none of them will work if no one is answering the phone properly. Often the first step to working smarter is to make sure what you are doing is working at all!
Let’s go the other route and throw out a question…
What if you woke up tomorrow morning and there were absolutely NO NEW PATIENTS available anywhere in the world for chiropractors. That’s right, no matter what you did, you could NEVER get another new patient into your chiropractic practice. So the deal would be… for the life of your practice, you only had your existing patients. What would you do differently?
This question is not only a great topic for a team meeting, it may also provide you with some interesting thoughts and observations towards developing variable income streams for your practice. There’s no “right” answer here – but a lot of potentially good ones!
The Collections Knock Out
Many of you have heard me rant about the futility of sending an endless round of statements to your patients in an attempt to collect past due balances. While the alternative of sending everyone to a collections agency is not exactly a viable solution either, we’ve been “beta-testing” a solution for the past several years that has proven to be a winner. It is a “statement of delinquency” form that was developed to get slow paying patients to pay. I will admit that I was initially suspicious of its simplicity. But thousands of “beta-testing” trials later have proven one fact: simple works! In fact, several chiropractic clients using them has found that they work particularly well even in stalled economies such as the one we are in now.
The Delinquency Statements are very simple and inexpensive to produce. Here’s the
“recipe” if you’d like to make your own: include a big fat heading reading “Statement of Delinquency” that catches anyone’s attention. Then include the name of the responsible party, services rendered and, of course, the amount due. Finally, be sure to add a couple lines that mention what you will do if the balance is not paid and how the delinquency will be cancelled if payment is received in 10 days.
(For those of you who may not wish to “re-invent the wheel” you can purchase the exact template and instructions for printing and use as part of the Collections Knock Out package – and once you have purchased the template, you can reproduce as many as you like…forever!)
While this represents a definite direct hit to your escalating A/R, coupling the Delinquency Statements with an Auto-Debit Strategy in which you offer patients the ability to pay their balance over time helps you increase your ability to capture an enviable percentage of your delinquent accounts.
In fact, several clients utilizing our Collections Knock Out strategy have remarked that this one-two punch has resulted in better collections performance than their collection calls and collections agencies combined. And the best part – you can do it yourself at a fraction of the price!!
To Your Success — and may it be quick!!
Tom Necela, DC, CPC, CPMA