THE CRITICAL IMPORTANCE OF
When you look at the best businesses, products, and services in the world, you'll notice a lot of differences - but you'll also notice a few similarities. One of the similarities that's almost universal is the following:
What appears to be a very simple product, service, or experience on the surface, is actually made up of very complex components, which work so well & smoothly that they aren't noticed.
Complex Simplicity At Work
Probably the easiest of these to relate to is chiropractic treatment itself.
To an outsider watching you treat a long term patient, it might look like what you're doing is very simple.
After all, to this outsider, it looks like you're spending just a few minutes with the patient, asking a couple of questions, and then performing an adjustment or two.
What they're not seeing, of course, is your expertise & understanding, your ability to see what's needed for each patient in any given situation, based on tell-tale signs & relevant information that is very meaningful to you, but would be meaningless to an outsider.
What they're not seeing are the years you've had to spend learning the complexity of the human body in order to be able to treat patients in minutes.
Without seeing those things below the surface, of course it looks simple.
Complex Simplicity On Your Computer
For an example of this outside of the world of chiropractic, we need turn no further than technology, and specifically computer software.
We all love how easy Microsoft has made doing most of our business tasks, from word processing, to spreadsheets, to publisher, to website creation - whatever it is, they've made it much easier for us to get great results.
But in order to do that, there is some amazing technology underlying it all.
And the best part is, you don't need to understand ANY of that technology to get the benefits - that's why it's so powerful.
Why It Matters To Your Practice
Naturally, the same principles hold true for your practice. One predictor of the success of your practice over the coming years is how you answer the question: "How much is happening in my practice that my patients and my staff are unaware of? How much is contributing to the practice growth that even I'm not fully aware of?"
In an ideal world, your practice should be run so that to your patients, your staff, and even yourself, it looks easy.
But underneath that appearance, and underneath that ease of use, there should be a well thought out underlying system or structure that allows it to be so easy.
How it works in real life
As an example of this 'hidden detail' that’s directly applicable to your practice, let’s look at a patient retention strategy I’ve had some of my clients adopt.
We’ll walk through it, so you can see how something that looks simple from your patients & staff's point of view is actually taking full advantage of a VERY complex underlying system.
Patient Retention System
What it looks like from the patients point of view:
"It'd been a while since I'd been in to see my chiropractor. In fact, it was one of the furthest things from my mind. But I got a call from her the other day, and booked an appointment for this week - Now I'm looking forward to it, because I'm feeling a little stiff lately."
What it looks like from the staffs point of view:
"Every day, I get a list of a few active patients to call and see if they want to make an appointment within the next couple of days - It just takes a couple of minutes, and most people book their appointment on the phone."
It couldn't be easier... Right?
It looks easy, and it IS easy for the people involved. That's what makes it successful. But let's take a look under the hood, to see WHY it's so easy & successful
It starts with creating a model. By looking at 2-5 years of visit history - in other words, tens of thousands of data points - we can create a model of patient visit behavior. Specifically, we're looking at time between visits.
In other words, we see just how often a patient goes 1 day between their first & second visit. Then how often they go 2 days. 3 days. 10 days. 500 days.
Next, we do this for every one of the first 40 visits they have in the practice.
Why would we do that?
We do this because our goal is to retain patients - in other words, to keep them as active patients so long as they still require treatment.
Without knowing WHEN a patient should be coming in on a visit-to-visit basis, we'd be operating solely on guesswork, which is rarely more useful than actual data.
In this case, we want to know when the best time to get in touch with a patient is while they're still "active" patients - we don't want to wait too long, but we don't want to get in touch too early.
To see the importance of this, imagine waiting 1 month to contact somebody after their first visit to see if they want to book a second - that'd be MUCH longer than normal between visits, right?
Similarly, imagine getting in touch with a patient 4 days after their 50th visit, to see if they want to book their 51st visit - that'd be FAR too soon, and likely to be annoying to the patient, right?
With the model we’ve created, we know the ideal time to get in touch with a patient to proactively ask them to book their next visit.
Now, for the hard part…
Just knowing when you SHOULD get in touch with a patient is a far cry from actually doing it.
So, every day, we run a program that sorts through every patient in your database, and returns the patients who have been gone longer than the model suggests is normal since their last visit.
This is the equivalent of asking your staff to do a separate search for each visit number & visit lapse combination your model spit out, to see which matches come up.
The program returns the names, phone numbers, and select patient history for each patient that fits the model - which is what makes it so easy for your staff to get in touch with the right people, and what makes it so effective at keeping patients from leaving before their treatment is complete.
The Big Picture
Of course, this is just ONE system - your practice has DOZENS of interconnected systems that it relies on to run smoothly.
From the way your staff answers incoming calls, to the way your external advertising is set up, to the way you meet & assess new patients, and to every other area of your practice, you can usually gauge the effectiveness of your existing system by asking: "How much is going on behind the scenes that my patients and my staff don't see?"
In other words, how much
complex simplicity have you
worked into your