3 Mistakes That Kill Retention!

Imagine everyone in your community embracing the power that is chiropractic and seeing so many people that you would need someone directing traffic outside your office... While we all define success in a different way according to our values, we must agree that practice mastery is more a journey than a destination. This journey requires persistence and consistency. In order to grow a chiropractic practice, a chiropractor can do a combination of 3 things:

  1. Acquire New Patients
  2. Increase Patient Retention
  3. Add New Services

For the sake of this article, I will focus on what I feel is the biggest problem in our profession: RETENTION. According to my research, the average chiropractic patient in North America stays under chiropractic care for approximately 10-15 visits. This is what we call the patient visit average (P.V.A). The way to calculate your P.V.A. is to take your total number of visits and divide it by the number of new patients for a given time period. While I make no judgment on what is right or wrong, one can ascertain that a lower P.V.A. implies a symptom focused practice, while a high P.V.A implies a more wellness-based approached. If you value patients staying on for wellness/maintenance care as we all do ourselves as chiropractors, know there are 3 common reason behind poor retention.

  1. Poor Results: Not only are poor results bad for retention, they are also referral repellents. Make sure you are dipping yourself every quarter or at least twice per year either learning a new techniques or perfecting the ones you already perform. Become the best at what you and get amazing results. Changing lives gets people to stay and talk about you.
  2. Lack of Infrastructure: Wishing for your retention to increase will not cut it.  You need to implement a few procedures, which I feel are non-negotiable if you desire a high retention, wellness based practice. You have to have clear and concise day 1 and day 2 procedures where you process a patient and bring him or her back within a week for a Report of Findings or Doctor's Report. The Doctor's Report is a great way to inform your patients of the WHY behind the WHAT and HOW. Without the WHY, there is no COMPLY. In our office, our Doctor's Report is a 45 minute presentation of WHY they need chiropractic and WHY we will be the ones to get them to where they want to get. They attend with their spouse...no exception. Once the Doctor's Report is done, we then meet with every patient one on one to discuss their findings, what we need to do, how long it will take and what investment they will need to make (WHAT and HOW)! Remember you cannot do all of this without a staff that can speak this language. If your staff is not getting adjusted on a regular basis, how can you expect them to value wellness care, let alone lead your patients to making that decision.
  3. Lack of Communication: How many of you have had patients who got great results during corrective care (e.g. headache, lower back pain etc) only to see them leave because of a lack of understanding of the wellness care principle.  What does this mean? It means that throughout corrective care, they were never influenced and educated enough to collapsed their existing paradigm or beliefs about health. What I also find is that MOST chiropractors try to communicate logically instead of connecting to the patient's emotional needs. I recommend automating your education, leveraging video to engage your patients and communicating in a way that addresses your patients emotions from the day they walk into your practice,t o the day they say YES to chiropractic care for life.

​Your patients are with you for a short period of time relative to their day, week and month. You have minutes every time they come in to slowly change their paradigm about health. Are you being of value to your patients during that time? Do you have present time consciousness when you are with them? What do you talk about? 

Remember that patients are not really paying you for your time. They are paying you for your services and your knowledge they expect you to share. It's included in their fee! Learn to communicate in a way that addresses their emotional journey in your office. Whether you know it or not, they are already having emotions before they walk in to your office. Not addressing them paves a path for short stays and inevitably, poor retention. Learn more about Adjusting Attitudes and how it can bring your communication and retention to a new level.

Dr. Clayton 


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