Here is the real reason for this discussion today. Despite the nastiest economic meltdown in most of our lifetimes, people—YOUR private practice patients—still buy what they want.
Don’t let the question mislead you. In business terms, the front end of the business is what draws patients (customers) into their first encounter with us.
In most of our practices, that usually means a patient crisis of varying degrees. Not uncommonly, pain—for which the patient is seeking a rapid solution to a problem.
Fortunately, most of us are really effective at crisis care. But the simple economics of most private health care practices dictate that in today’s world, we have way more to offer our patients. But here’s the kicker: businesses with longevity are very good at building back-end sales. Most private practice owners, however, miss the mark.
But here’s what you can do almost immediately. Ask your patients for feedback on a regular basis. I suggest you ask every patient to fill out a “Tell Us How We Are Doing” form at each re-exam. This simple step is often neglected.
Next, brainstorm with your staff. What are patients telling them? What makes them happy or dissatisfied? Often, patients will tell staff things they’ll never say to our faces. Have they asked for other services, or perhaps support products like comfort items (braces, supports, pillows, et cetera)?
Here is the real reason for this discussion today. Despite the nastiest economic meltdown in most of our lifetimes, people—YOUR patients—still buy what they want.
If you doubt me, look at the most recent Black Friday sales figures. Better yet, go to any place people gather on weekends, like a great restaurant.
I told a story several years ago about patients in local practices balking at $15 co-pays, but spending hundreds at the spa (on health and cosmetic desires) right down the street from their office!
Why does this happen? Because most private practice owners don’t treat their businesses like well-run corporations with strong customer service, then developing the product and service lines to meet their patients desires.
So what might be some great back-ends to your practice? In addition to the things we mentioned above, weight loss products, support, and coaching, personal and fitness training, and cosmetology and cosmetic care.
And more: wellness care (which should be built into every initial case presentation!), massage therapy services, healthy cooking and meal preparation, yoga and meditation, addiction recovery, and so on.
Just remember, the time to be thinking, planning, and brainstorming about the future of your private practice and livelihood is when practice is going really well.