Patients Hate it When You…

Loyalty is the foundation of a practice that’s independent and free.

Without patient loyalty, you will always be wondering where your next patient will come from.  It becomes a never ending search for more new souls to feed a machine that keeps eating up and spitting out lives. You will be chained down to your practice/business FOREVER. Every six weeks you’ll have to go out on the prowl, and “market” for new patients (which is code for going door-to-door to physician offices). That’s no way to live a life, or run a business.

“Stop trying to grow a business and start BUILDING A COMMUNITY.” -James Ko, PT

Studio Shot of a Large Mixed Age, Multiethnic Group of Men and Women Cheering With Their Arms in the Air

What is loyalty?

In the purest sense of the word it’s when a patient says (or thinks),

“I don’t care about anyone else out there…I just love you.
And that is why I continue to do business with you, FOR LIFE
…and bring in family, friends, neighbors, and strangers.”

I try to get patients ADDICTED to me. Yes…addicted. I want them to love their EXPERIENCE so much they don’t ever think about other options or choices. I try to create a customer FOR LIFE bringing in everyone they know not only for therapy but for the many other things I offer (ie. wellness, fitness, massage, acupuncture, performance enhancement, weight-loss, yoga, and more). You can NOT merely render “treatments” anymore if you want to grow. Patients are no longer “patients” they are now “healthcare consumers” with higher expectations and more choices. They are very careful WHO they choose to spend their money with and if they don’t LOVE you, Google and Yelp are only a click away.

We live in a society that doesn’t understand loyalty, how to cultivate it, or embrace it. Loyalty is very, very different than satisfaction. Satisfaction is merely, “I like it here…but as soon as something (or someone) better comes along, I’m gone. This is what I am seeing in most practices today, “satisfied” patients, not loyal community members. That’s why it’s so easy for physicians to open their own therapy departments and steal away patients.

Unlike admiration and respect, loyalty must be EARNED and it’s never freely given.

So how do you earn loyalty?

Start by NOT doing what patients hate. Studies show that patients hate…ScreamingMan

  1. Waiting.
  2. Paperwork.

So don’t make them wait or give them a whole bunch of paperwork. Or , even better yet, see them on time EVERY session. Actually have a policy that states, “NO WAITING”. And streamline your paperwork! Minimize it. There’s no reason why they have to write their name 7 times or look at a computer screen for a tedious online interview. Go above and beyond but start with these basics (the basics can go very far btw :).

Once you get these basics down–and it will take you time to change your ways (if you’re anything like me)–then you can move on to the real nitty-gritty…

  1. No Unexpected Bills (legally)
  2. The Greeting
  3. Resource Sheets
  4. Comparable Signs
  5. Rules
  6. Surveys
  7. Parties
  8. The Ko Method
  9. And finally, … forgiveness

These are all steps to building loyal patients. Without it you can’t succeed. Without it you can’t take advantage of “Duplication” (one patient bringing in another, and so on). Without it, you will always be a slave to your practice–always wondering where your next patient will come from. That’s no way to live a life.

These kind of testimonies will start coming in once you create experiences and build loyalty (instead of merely treating patients).

A referred patient (from prior patients) costs 5 times less, spends 10 times more, and improves 2 times faster than conventional patients. Which do you want filling up the foundation of your practice, patients from “marketing” efforts or referred one’s from existing patients that become members for life?

It’s your life, how do you want to live it? We can help.

IndeFree‘s Clinical Excellence course coming to a city near you! View the calendar>>>

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James Ko

I believe... "It's not the strongest practices that survive and grow, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most adaptable to change." I'm a physical therapist, private practice owner, and founder of IndeFree Association. I like reading James Patterson, Nicholas Sparks, enjoy golfing and playing guitar. I love playing with Mac and Cozy! For over 15 years, I've helped thousands of practices grow and succeed. This is my dedication.

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