Empowering Women in Chiropractic – Systemizing the New Patient Phone Call – Kim Klapp


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Awesome. Hello, ChiroSecure viewers, and thank you for joining me today. Like so many of you, I am a raving fan of ChiroSecure. They certainly have the best coverage. We know that, but they also have amazing customer service and tremendously helpful resources. So I’m grateful to them for all they do for our practice, as well as all the ways that they support the profession, including sponsoring these programs. I also appreciate you for turning it tuning in I’m Kim Klapp, founder of assistants for chiropractic excellence and for over 25 years now, I’ve continuously been managing my husband, dDr.r. Tom’s practice. We’re in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and I’ve been coaching CA since 2000. So with that experience in mind, if you have any questions at all hiring training practices, items, just post them either today or after the show. And I will be happy to get back to you.

So today we’re going to be talking about systemizing the new patient phone call, and I’m sure you’ve heard, but you’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression. As a matter of fact, Princeton university studies showed that our initial judgments of other people are formed within one 10th of one second. So when it comes to first impressions, there are no redos, no do overs, no rewind button, you know, so stop and think about how much does a bad first impression costs. So consider your case, average you for you will, let’s say it’s $4,000. So what would it cost your office to lose that perspective patient? Well, it doesn’t just cost your practice that $4,000, if your new patient doesn’t return instead multiply about 4,000 by all their future referrals, you know, for their spouse, each child, their friends, your coworkers, it’s staggering. So also money aside. There’s no way for the doctor to help people that a CA can’t schedule. So everyone who calls your office should be treated with that care, concern and respect. Now this scene from pretty woman is perfect for this concept.

[inaudible] do you remember me? No, I’m sorry. I wasn’t here yesterday. Wouldn’t wait on me.

Oh, you were on commission, right? Uh, yes. Big mistake. Big, huge. I have to go shopping now.

So we did not want to have that big mistake. Big, huge happen on your phone with a prospective new patients. You know, speaking of other mistakes, you know, if you call a business, no one enjoys being placed on hold. And I think about you feel when you call, let’s say you’re a CA and you call an insurance company for benefits and you’re stuck on hold. How frustrating and annoying is that right now, consider this. You’re actually getting paid to sit on hold and it still sucks. So why would you want your patients feeling that way? You know, people don’t like waiting on the phone any more than they like waiting unnecessarily in your office, you know, and I love this cartoon. The caption is thank you for continuing to hold your wait time is approximately 70 minutes. If you’d like to pretend you’re poking me in the eye, press one.

The bottom line is this to hold onto your patients, avoid putting them on hold whenever possible. And just my opinion and automated phone answering system is not a very warm, friendly, or fuzzy first impression. Um, and maybe a computerized voice in that web, you know, you’ve, I’m sure you’ve called them. You know, the press. Now, this number for this department is that really the kind of first impression you want in your practice, you know, is that congruent with the extraordinary new patient experience that creates rave creates raves and referrals? Probably not. So let’s take a moment and talk about how to make a better phone connection. And really, I find if you build it, they will come. And obviously like you just saw you want to be prepared. You know, so what that means is to have your new patient intake forms handy, you know, that means that every phone station in your practice, you know, that’s why this is one of the few paper forms that we use in our office, because it’s actually more convenient.

We can answer the phone in our break room without needing a computer, but otherwise you’d have to put that perspective, new patient on hold if you’re not prepared. And we just like, just like we talked about that sends the wrong message from the get go. So that’s why we want to be prepared. Now, basic phone etiquette dictates you want to answer the phone as soon as possible, you know, definitely before three rings so that people don’t get the wrong idea that either you’re closed or that they’ve called the wrong number. And before you even answered the phone, visualize a prospective new patient on the other end, whose appointment depends on your telephone skills, because it actually does. So make your first impression. Absolutely fantastic. Now, personally, I like to imagine my ideal new patient, which would either be the Dalai Lama or David Beckham calling this schedule depending on the day and my mood.

But you want to focus on having that present time consciousness, you know, whatever you’re doing. You know, if you’re having a conversation with a coworker or doing something on the computer, you want to make sure that you stop and give 100% attention to the phone call. And so I find it’s really easy. If before I pick that phone up, I take a deep breath and then exhale, exhale out any stress. And of course you want to remember to smile. You know, people can hear it in your voice. If you have to rely on a mirror next to your phone or a sticker that helps you smile, you go for it. But yeah, just might be in the wrong, wrong position because for the most part, I see it’s are pretty upbeat, happy people, at least in our office. I’m speaking about beat. You want to use an uppy, pleasant and professional tone for your greeting.

Now we like to start by incorporating our attitude of gratitude. Since gratitude is one of our practice core values. That’s why we began our greeting with thank you. And we end our greeting with our name because it greatly increases the chance that they’re going to remember it and use it. And that helps make that connection. So remember, one of our goals is to build a connection. So before we pick up the phone, we visualize exhale, smile and say, thank you for calling first choice chiropractic. This is Kim. Now at this point, the vast majority of people on the other end of the phone say, hi, Kim, this is fill in the blank with their name and voila. We’ve bridged the gap. We’ve made a connection and we’re on a first name basis. How simple is that? But the bottom line is the first impression is the one that lasts.

So let’s talk about that. New patient intake form. Ours is called our prospect profile. It’s just two sided. And we gave him like a set of every phone station and they’re made into pads. But first of all, keep in mind, your client’s never going to see this form. It’s an internal form. It’s just for you. So it’s your handy helper or cheat sheet if you will. So make it really easy for everyone on your team to get complete information from any perspective, new patient who calls, you know, script it all out. I think joke that we’ve made this form so easy. Even dr. Tom could complete it correctly without saying a lot, because he’s a big, big vision person, not so great at details. Anyway, we’re done throwing him under the bus, but when it comes to scheduling over the phone, it’s dealt full that every team member has been in your practice since day one.

So if you’re unfamiliar with the patient’s name, who’s on the phone, you know, color idea side, just asking them, have you ever been here before? And if, yes, we find out the date of their last visit. If not, we find out if they’ve ever seen a chiropractor before, and if they have, we want to find out how recently that way, if they have current x-rays on file at that office, they could minimize the ones taken at our office. Plus recent chiropractic care obviously affects remaining insurance benefits. Now, instead of asking how they heard about us, we prefer to plant the seed and ask, were you referred by one of our clients or a healthcare professional? Because willing to assume from that very first contact that of course I must’ve been referred to her office. Everyone refers to us and hint, but if not, then we find out how they did hear about us.

Now, the next step number three is to get their critical information, obviously, name, date of birth when we’ve actually specifically asked their age. So we don’t have to grab a calculator or do math. I’ve got an English degree to find out if they’re at least 18, if they are a minor, obviously it would be a complete waste of their time to show up without a parent or guardian to authorize care and sign all the forms. We also obviously get their phone numbers and email and find out which number they prefer to be contacted. And then we move on to number four, which is scheduling and ask, are you scheduling for yourself, your children or your entire family? And that’s because our office focuses on family care. So we want to invite them again, planting seeds, letting them know that it’s pretty commonplace for our clients to bring their families and for care.

And when it comes to actually setting up their appointment, the scheduling part more choices, isn’t better. So I’m an ice cream fan. And if you go to Baskin Robins for an ice cream cone, they have 31 flavors and therefore 31 choices. Now dairy queen on the other hand has three choices, chocolate, vanilla, and twist. So think about for a moment, how much easier it is and faster to decide a dairy queen, the fewer choices, the easier it is for a perspective client to feel comfortable scheduling. So keeping that in mind, we want to offer just two choices at a time. So if someone’s calling in the morning, I’ll say this morning, or this afternoon, if it’s later in the day, this afternoon or tomorrow morning, and then once we figure out which shifts they’re coming in, we narrow it down to the specific times. So again, two choices would nine, 15 or 10, 15 be better.

In other words, we want to spoonfeed them choices to keep it simple, and then also be accommodating as possible. Because if that perspective patient was referred to your practice by either a patient or another doctor being accommodating is going to show special, respect the refer. And that way the new patient believes it’s going to make their visit extra special as well. You know, it sets the tone for they themselves wanting to refer more people to your office. So they, Oh, well maybe that way the friends that I’m going to send in is going to get preferential treatment as well. So how we do that is just easily saying, Oh, okay, well, since Jim referred you and we’ll make sure we can see you today, if that works out best for you. Now, on the other hand, if the prospective patient found us online or through some other advertising, what’s going to happen.

If we can be accommodating with the scheduling of their appointment, they’ll go ahead and take whatever appointment time you offer. But if it’s not their preference or if it’s not soon enough, what do you think they’re going to do after setting up that appointment with you? Yup. After they hang up with you, they’re just going to call another office for a more convenient time. And then now your office drops to plan B and they may or may not call you back to cancel. So that’s why it’s really important to get people in. As soon as possible in our practice, we actually advertise same day appointments for most new patients. Now, it really doesn’t matter how long someone has been suffering, right? Because we know that most people don’t call as soon as they have their first final insult injury or trauma, right. They typically wait until they can’t deal with it any longer, but whenever finally decided they want care, they want it now, which is why it’s so important to get them in today or tomorrow at the latest, speaking of scheduling, we then ask if they’re scheduling for wellness or if they are experiencing any health problems.

Again, we’re planting the seed about wellness and lifestyle chiropractic versus merely relief based or pain based care. We also find out if their circumstance is related to an auto accident, a work related injury or a personal injury involving an attorney. No, we always clarify it with involving an attorney because the majority of people consider an injury that they do to themselves. For example, gardening, to be a personal injury, don’t know what happened to that slide, but we also find out if they have any health insurance and if they do, we ask them, you know, do you mind sharing that information to save you time on your first visit and possibly save you money? Now again, you can save the pro prospect profile form ensures that we get all the details that we need to verify coverage. And on the reverse of the form, we also keep those accident details.

In case it is an auto accident or worker’s comp injury or a PI case, along with the rules that apply in our state, that way we don’t have to keep those rules in our head, you know, and we also have reminders on there for our CA’s to get a doctor’s lien signed when that’s appropriate, plus there’s space to enter additional insurance policy information, if they happen to have secondary or tertiary coverage. So we give each prospective new patient the option of either completing the health questionnaire or case history over the phone or electronically. Now I know there are certain States that don’t allow a CA to take a case history. Obviously don’t want you violating any laws, but regardless of whether you are getting the information from them over the phone or electronic chronically, the important part is you want the information in advance of the appointment.

Okay. You know, in addition to demonstrating that new patient that you’re concerned about them and what they’re dealing with, well, it also saves them time in the office, plus it virtually eradicates. No-shows a huge benefit to your practice because once that prospective new patient has invested the time and divulge their private health information, it’s extremely rare that they’re winning mr. Initial visit. So the scripting on our prospect profile is we’d like you to complete your health questionnaire. So we can save you some time on your first visit. Do you have 10 minutes now to complete it with me over the phone? Or would you prefer me to email or text it to you so you can fill it out yourself? Now I am a huge fan of form doctor, you know, completely customized little forms and HIPAA compliant. And then when it allows clients to provide their information securely, you know, they can even upload their ID and insurance cards and you can put them directly in your practice software or print them out, or keep them as PDFs, whatever makes you happy.

So what we just do is we log in and we enter the patient’s name, email phone, and the appointment date. And then we choose whatever form is appropriate depending upon their age. So maybe it’s a regular health question, or maybe it’s a pediatric version. Maybe they’ve had an auto accident, but we send them whatever they need and they get it instantly via text and email. And that way they can complete it on the laptop phone, whatever. Now, if you want to save $50 on this amazing software through form doctor and who doesn’t like saving money, just use the promo code ACE Kim. When you go to form dr. Com again, I’m a huge fan and I’m happy to share my form, dr. Farms, if you sign up with them as well now, alright, so we end the phone call by managing expectations about their initial visit.

We want to put them at ease. So we want to make sure, obviously that they know where we’re located because it’s stressful when you get lost or when you’re having to look hard for something. And if they’re not going to be uploading their insurance cards and ID into form doctor, we ask them to bring them as proof of identification because that is required. Um, we let them know how long their first visit is going to take. And of course, when we do that, we pad, the time of initial visit in our office, took takes about 60 minutes. And we tell them, as you can see 60 to 90, because we want to under promise and over deliver, you know, that’s how we will get those happy, satisfied clients who stay pan refer. But then we also reiterate what their appointment time is and let them know that we’re looking forward to meeting them.

Now, after that phone call and before the initial visit, of course, there’s other steps that need to be taken to make sure that their first visit is extraordinary. So take those extra steps, you know, send the confirmation email that shows them when their appointment is. So there’s no commit miscommunications along with the link for directions to your office and hopefully photos of your practice. So are we have photos of the doctors and that email as well as of our office building. So again, they feel comfortable before they even get there, you know, verify insurance benefits in advance whenever possible, do what you can to make their visits super easy and super, super fun and minimize that in office time. So one of the things we do is we do a mail merge with any additional first visit forms that way, their name, date of birth ID and date are all preprinted and the appropriate fields.

And then we organize them chronology chronologically of who’s going to meeting them. And when, so maybe this is a form for the doctor, maybe this is a form for an internal tracking form, but again, we want to have everything run as smoothly as possible and respect their time. And in addition to the automatic text reminder that we send out the day before we actually call each new patient the day before to further make a positive connection. And again, another way to virtually eradicate new, no shows with your new patients. So, you know, this has just been a snippet of the multitude of ways that you can make that new patient experience extraordinary. And that’s actually going to be my CA excellence coaching topic next month in August. But if I can help you in with that or with this month’s course on team building, and doesn’t everybody need the course on team building after the craziness, we’ve all been through time to reconnect with one another, or if you need help with hiring or training for new CAS, HIPAA compliance practice systems, you know, again, here’s how to reach me. I am happy to help. I will help with anything I can. Um, so click, you can also go to my website, chiropractic assistance.com. You can just click or email me directly that way, but I’d love to help your team retire levels of excellence. And so again, I want to thank Cairo secure for providing this forum to increase chiropractic success. Next week, your host is going to be event note from KMC. So be sure to watch it.

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