Who are you really treating when you’re treating a patient?
I know that sounds a little bit funny, but what I want to talk about is giving you an idea of thoughts that you should have with each new patient.
First of all, each person is uniquely different. When your receptionist answers the phone, that person that they’re talking to could be a source of 100 referrals for you for the next year. They could be a source of 200 injury referrals in their lifetime. They can be a source of so many different things. You have no idea who you’re talking to and unless your clinic, or whoever is answering the phone, treats that person that way, you’re making an error.
You never know who somebody is attached to. You never know that the person that is calling is the wife of a hospital administrator that can get you more injury referrals through the emergency room than you ever dreamed of. You don’t know if it’s the wife, the child, a friend, or the girlfriend of an attorney that may be able to get you as many referrals as possible. You don’t know if it’s the husband of an attorney that may be able to get you as many referrals. You don’t know if it’s the husband of a Congresswoman.
You don’t know who these people are and you make a mistake every single time. I know I’ve made a mistake every time I’ve ever minimized somebody. Every time I’ve looked at somebody and thought, okay, it was always short term thinking on my part because you’ve got to remember people are attached to a lot of other people, and so when you’re treating that person, you’re treating the whole tribe that comes with that person.
You’re treating all of their connections. If you don’t get great results with that patient, if you don’t handle that patient well, that communication goes out like a ripple out to their whole network. Say the person calls in and they have auto injury and they have headaches and migraine headaches. They are a mother of two children. The two children are 8 and 13 and they have been happily married for 15 years. Okay, well, guess what? When you’re treating that patient who has migraine headaches, you’re also treating their family. You’re treating the husband and the kids, and if you don’t get that condition resolved, think about what it does to that person’s life. If they have migraine headaches for the rest of their life, think about what that does to their marital relation. Think about what that does to their relationship with their kids.
Now, everyone wants to have great relationships, great relationships with your kids, great relationships with your spouse. But if you are in pain all the time, it can really be challenging. Here’s the husband, who does everything for the wife, and who would do anything and everything for her, and now she’s injured, she’s hurting, she’s complaining, and he doesn’t know what to do. Here’s the kids who love their mommy. They’re going through their various stages and instead of those stages really being acknowledged, they are not. With a child, you go through these various stages. First, newborns and they’re not interacting all that much. Then all of a sudden they start interacting and you’re like, “Oh my God.” And then they become little kids and then they start talking and asking all the questions and they start going to school.
And every single one of these stages is an amazing stage. And if a person is robbed off of that because they’re in pain it’s not a good thing. And the other thing is, is that you’re participating in that person’s life and you’re participating therefore in the lives of everyone that they’re attached to. And I need you to start thinking about that. How are you training your receptionist to handle that call? Are you basically letting them know, hey, if this was the most important, take a famous actor, but if this was Tom Cruise that called in, how would your staff handle him? If this was the head of a country, how would your staff handle him? If this was the governor of the state, how would your staff handle him? If this was Bill Gates, how would your staff handle him? If this was, Taylor Swift, how would your staff handle her?
They may handle them different, but that’s not really where you want to be at the highest level because you never know who they are connected to. And it’s those connections and those interrelationships that can make all the difference in the world, in your center, and in your centers of growth. And people like to be acknowledged. Do you think about any experience, any customer service experience that you’ve ever had when somebody made you feel important? You felt good and remembered them. Now, why? Because it doesn’t happen very often. It doesn’t happen often enough, right? The patients that are coming in are your lifeblood in your clinic. They’re your lifeblood.
An injury patient should be treated as if that patient is going to be your patient for the rest of their lives. When they come into you for chiropractic services, whether it’s injury services or non-injury services, the attitude needs to be that this patient is going to be our patient for the rest of their lives until I retire or until they expire. They’ll be my patient until they fire me and they decide that I’m not, but up unto that point for the rest of their life, that’s how I treated them. What’s the importance of good healthcare? What’s the importance? Chiropractic is great on the injury side, it’s fantastic. Best there is for an injury side.
Now when I say best there is, I mean highly trained doctors that can get great results. I don’t mean the average mediocre doctor, that’s not what I’m talking about. There’s average mediocre doctors in every profession. No injury patients should be a part of those doctors. They should not be going to those doctors. Too high risk for long-term residual complaints. As a great doctor, when that injury patient sometimes will have the idea that this is all over when the injury over, but it’s not. Just like dentistry, your teeth have to be maintained. And so you’ll have a dentist your whole life. If you are into optimal health, your body does very well with long-term maintenance of the spine as an organ itself. That’s irrefutable, right?
So when I look at that injury patient when they came into my clinic, I looked at them and said, “Hey, they’re going to be my patient for the rest of their life.” So it’s my responsibility to do a great job for them. It’s my responsibility to set them up for having the best opportunity to have the best health that they can for the rest of their lives. So that attitude has got to permeate into the people that you train to handle these patients. It has to permeate, right? And you set the tone for that in your own center, doctors, you are the ones that set the tone. You’re the ones that train your staff and training your staff on this is really, really important. And making your staff feel important in the process is also important.
So that first contact, when somebody calls you, is that you have the ability to get their information. You take their information, you get their phone number, you’re able to text them. If I get a cell phone number and now my staff is texting them and saying, “Hey, we just want to make sure that you’re on your way and that everything’s okay.” Now it’s better if I could email and text instructions on icing. Instructions on what to do about their injury so that they can start to treat the condition themselves. Very few clinics that I’m aware of do that and they are clinics that I personally have trained.
If you do that, you’re starting to set the tone for the relationship. You’re starting to exchange with that patient before the patient’s ever done any exchange with you. You’re already starting to give to that relationship. There is a law of reciprocity that says if I give you something that you will feel obliged to give me something back. That giving me something back is to show up for the appointment. So all of these things are really, really important and they’re things that should be trained. But that initial contact with the patient, it really has to be understood. Everyone in your clinic has to understand how important these people are. The more important you make all of your patients and the more important you make them feel and the more you acknowledge them.
When is the last time you have a patient that’s been a patient of yours for two, three, four years and they come in every three months or four months or whatever it is. We acknowledged them and said, “You know what, I really appreciate you. I appreciate the fact that you make your appointments, you keep your appointments, and that you take this seriously and that you long-term maintained this.” That’s my whole mission. My whole goal. Or the patient is actually it’s an injury patient and they’re maintaining their schedule. “Hey Mary, I just want to acknowledge you that you’re keeping up with your schedule you’re doing your job and I want you to know that I appreciate that.” Acknowledge people. In my clinic, we used to have an acknowledgement day, sometimes once a month, sometimes every two weeks, where we just picked out things and we just acknowledged patients. We would just pick something out that we noticed about the person that we could admire about them.
When you start to admire people, watch what happens. Take a day, take with your staff and just have a patient admiration day. Pick out something. “Oh my gosh, your hair looks fantastic today.” “Oh, I really like what you’re wearing today. That’s a really nice color on you. Really matches your eyes.” “I really appreciate the fact that you’re so good with your schedule at the front desk.” “Gosh Mary, you’re so easy to schedule. We really, really appreciate that. Thank you so much for being so easy to schedule.” Just admire something about them and watch what happens. If you do that for one day, and you do it and all your staff for one day, it’ll change the way you look at things forever and you will understand more of what I just said on this podcast. So make that first contact, understand how important it is and understand how interconnected the people are and understand that you’re treating all of them. So take it with that point of view and see what happens.
For more information on Spinal Ligament Injuries please check us out at www.smartinjurydoctor.com or check out our SmartInjuryDoctors® Podcasts on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play or Stitcher.
For information on spinal ligament testing by board certified medical radiologists go to www.thespinalkinetics.com
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