This past couple of weeks have been kind of a reminder of what exactly we do while being in practice. We try to make things as easy as we can when you come into our office. I’m going to go into a few examples that we have had this week and then elaborate on them at the end:
- Someone calls the office and indicates that they would like acupuncture. She stresses multiple times that all she wants is acupuncture and nothing else. We agreed to this. Paperwork gets filled out, I have a brief conversation with her to make sure that we are on the same page as to the expectations of the visit. We perform the acupuncture, she gets off the table, happy as a lark, thanks me profusely, walks to the front desk, writes a check and schedules for more care all with absolutely no push or convincing from me. Seems like a pretty simple thing if you ask me, but this seems to be a rarity in the market.
- Patient has been shopping around for chiropractors. We have seen him before, but he wanted to try something different. He wasn’t necessarily unhappy with care but wanted to try a different approach (This actually happens all the time, so don’t take offense if you are a new chiropractor if someone leaves your office for a while and then comes back). Right side lower back and hip pain is the main complaint. He works on a farm and is on concrete and under equipment most of the days. He doesn’t want to pay more than he has to and he wants to get better in one visit. Laugh all you want but this is normal. We do what we do, treat him the best that we can and he gets a little relief. Before he leaves he says he will be back next week, this is not on my urging. He’s happy and thanks us for taking the time to listen to his issues.
- Last example, long time patient comes in with left shoulder and scapula pain. We treat him roughly 3-4 times, no red flags are noted that would indicate advanced imaging or anything beyond what we can provide in our office. He doesn’t feel that he is making enough headway with care so we end up sending him to his primary care doctor for a second opinion. He returns a week later indicating that his primary care would like him to continue care with us, they indicated that proper treatment was being rendered and that give it a little more time and we would eventually get it solved.
I use these specific examples for a reason. When someone calls the office and requests a specific service, why as a profession do we feel the need to push other services. While I completely understand that I have numerous tools at my disposal but if the patient is not happy when they leave the office, you essentially are losing a patient. At a certain point, it’s a mind game. A happy patient will return for more services and refer their friends.
Patients will come and go and we have our own bias built in but just know that most of the basic treatment provided by chiropractors is largely unchanged on a simplistic level. Techniques may be slightly different but the overall goal is the same, but active listening and taking a genuine interest in the care shows that you do care. For the patient we hadn’t seen in some time we did nothing different than any other office we showed a listening ear and a productive service and he left happy.
The third patient is actually the most interesting to me because he indicated that his primary care physician had nothing but positive things to say about our office and treatments. I do not know them on a personal or even professional manner. I find it actually flattering. We treat people for what they come into the office, we don’t try to up sell services that are not necessary and treatment plans can be few and far between. When trying to work with other professionals knowing what your limits and expertise is can be very beneficial.
In ending, treat people with options that they actually want, active listening is probably more beneficial than the treatment itself, keeping things simple can prove to be just as beneficial as thousand dollar treatment plans and staying in your lane with other healthcare professionals are some of the keys to success of our practice.