You want your practice to grow but you don’t have the bandwidth to take on more clients just yet. Do you have toBut, it takes a bit more shrewdness to be able to spot and exploit other more non-conventional forms of income that can be just as lucrative for a business as a growing client base.
Benefits of client retention as a method of boosting profits
A solid client retention strategy is a sure way to anchor your existing clients to your business. Imagine a patient is experiencing lower back problems and approaches you for help. Do you only take the pain away or do you ensure that the patient is enhancing his ability to perform musculoskeletal tasks? Patients that see a clear clinical pathway relating to their condition, will not only feel better about their recovery but are much more likely to be a good source of referrals.
Alternatively, keeping your service offering diversified is a sure way to maintain a comprehensive product package and keep your client retention high. Don’t only look at treatment as your core product. Which common patient issues have a clear pathway to other treatments such as Pilates or specific personal training? And where would it help the client to always introduce specific equipment to help their progress? These additions may look simple, but many practices let go of revenue as they let patients fall through the cracks of recovery.
Client retention strategy fundamentals
To build a solid client retention strategy, you have to understand the fundamentals of each client’s journey. There are two types of these, that together make up the augmented retention strategy fundamentals:
These relate to your onsite experience, and include: practice encounter, reception welcome and processing, first 10 minutes with the clinician, the ability of the clinician to remember each patient’s ailment, etc.
These relate to remote aspects of the practice such as website experience, online bookings, ease of getting through telephonically, etc.
For patients to come knocking at your door again, they will expect both sets of fundamentals to continuously meet their expectations.
Have you ever documented the fundamentals required at each stage of the client journey? Have you compared what you do today to what is required, to see what action you now need to take?
The importance of knowing what your cost per client is
It’s a far lesser investment to keep an existing client than to try to bring a new one on board. To start off with, you need to know what your cost per client is, in order to increase your profits. However, should you not have this information on hand, then holding onto your existing clients and having longer retention paths is advisable. New clients need to be exposed to a good dose of marketing to familiarise themselves with your business, and that type of publicity usually comes at a cost. Existing clients have already been acquainted and virtually require no marketing effort.
Always remember that fulfilled clients will plant the seed of their satisfaction with their friends and family, resulting in word-of-mouth marketing. According to recent data, as much as 70% of patients that come through the door of a physiotherapist for the first time, can be as a result of referrals. Should you have a good retention strategy in place, your number of referrals will naturally be higher. And, even though it’s hard to say what a good referral rate ought to be, any percentage under 100% equates to possible missed business opportunities.
Non–traditional earning methods in a physical therapy practice
Besides the obvious method of holding onto your existing clients, there is another less conventional but just as lucrative method to supplement your profits. You might notice that both after-hours and during office hours, you have unused space in your practice. This might be an empty consultancy room or a bigger space where group activities can be conducted. Lying idle, such space is underutilised and renting this out to those who might need that space, provides a quick and effective cash injection for your business. But, beware – over-reliance on this rent can cause you to start looking at it as a regular source of income, taking away the focus that you ought to have on your core products and services.
Conversely, you can pursue renting out additional space yourself. Even though, on the surface, this might appear as a further expense, obtaining strategically positioned space to expand your business into is a sure cash cow. For example, think of a small physiotherapeutic room at the local gym. Or a chiropractor consultancy at your community’s home for the elderly. Taking the business to the heart of where the demand exists, is a sure way to tap into income potential.
Earning methods – the choice is yours
Ultimately, you have various methods at your disposal to increase your profit. You can use marketing to expand more horizontally, by bringing new clients on board. Or, have a more linear income growth by fine-tuning your current resources towards greater profitability. This can include holding onto your existing clients and using these as evangelists of referrals, as well as more unconventional sources like free space rentals.