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How Customer Service Affects Your Bottom Line

It’s not new that customer service is important. But most private practice owners don’t know how to improve it and are missing out on the great rewards.

So how much is it really costing you?

According to leading business research conducted by the Harvard Business Review, it’s costing you a lot more than you know.

Improving the customer service level by just 5% can increase profits by 125%.

Here’s more,

  • Businesses who make customer service a priority can make 60% higher profits than rivals
  • It can be 7 times more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep a current one.
  • Negative interactions spread to 2 times as many people as positive interactions.
  • 91% who are not satisfied will simply never return.
  • 96% of unhappy customers will not complain.
  • With the power of social media and the internet, a customer who is dissatisfied will tell 9-15 people about their bad experience.
  • 52% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations.

So how does a private practice start making “customer service” a priority and enjoy the rewards?

Customer service for private practices can be broken down into 5 distinct categories. They are:

  1. Communication Convenience
  2. Pricing Transparency
  3. Clinical Clarity
  4. The Patient Experience
  5. Complaint Resolution

But the essence of customer service can be boiled down into this one important principle. . . “It’s how you make the patient feel that matters most.”

Here are some quick tips you can use immediately to start improving your clinic’s customer service level.

Respect Them and Their Time

  • See them at the time of their appointment. If their appointment is at 9am, get them started at 8:55 or 9:00 am. Not 9:05. And definitely not at 9:10.
  • Avoid staring at a computer screen during the exam while they are sitting right next to you.
  • Get new patients in based on medical urgency. Don’t make someone suffering wait too long to get in.

Remove Financial Ambiguity

  • Let the patient know what the cost-of-care is going to be on their first visit.
  • Do not make them wait until EOB’s are in, or keep them coming in without knowing how many more sessions they are going to need, etc.

Recognize Their Individuality

  • Not every patients wants to come in two times per week for 4-weeks (or do they need to). Tailoring a program that fits their schedule goes a long way in enhancing customer satisfaction.
  • Some may want more self-care and things they can do on their own while others may want to come in more often and receive care in the clinic. Learning what the patient might be wanting and designing a plan that meets their expectations is important to elevating your customer satisfaction.

Your staff play a large role in making the patient feel important, listened to, and cared for. Installing an efficient and effective training system that translates into actual performance improvements can reap huge rewards for your private practice.

Whether you are a 2 or a 40 person team, customer service should be made a top priority if you want to enjoy the rewards of a more loyal following, higher revenue and more referred family and friends.

If you want to improve your clinic’s customer service system, click below to learn more about the TRANSCEND ClinicalEX Bootcamp coming July 7-9. Doors are now open for the Early-Bird registration discount.

“Not Your Ordinary CEU Course”

What To Say to a Patient With a $2k Deductible

I got a lot of FAQ’s posed at the recent “Cash Client Revolution” (CCRev) conference in Las Vegas.

(Which by the way was sold-out and explosive!)

The attendees loved the answers so much they tried it out immediately upon returning to their practice Monday morning.

Here’s what one attendee had to say,

“I was able to implement ONE thing, and the best thing is that IT WORKS! I didn’t realize that patients are willing to pay the total cost of their care when you tell them the reason why…Thanks James!”

-Jennifer Angeles, PT (MD)

Many questions were presented from over 50 PT/OT/Peds practice owners and their staff who attended this revolutionary conference.

(View more “behind-the-scenes” snapshots of the conference. Find out who was there and what crazy things they did in Vegas!)

But let’s jump into solving this one question.

It’s a popular question and I get it a lot these days,…

“What do I say to a patient with a $2,000 deductible? How do I get them to onboard when they have to pay the entire cost-of-care out of pocket?”

Great question…

…Common dilemma

(I don’t look at it as a “dilemma” however since it really helps set us up for higher and faster pay).

Converting patients is essential to your future.

The real solution to this question starts with you adopting some very important truths. They are,

  1. A one sentence answer won’t always do the trick.
  2. Patients truly want a solution to their problem and if it’s made affordable they’ll buy in (“Affordable” doesn’t mean cheap or discounted).
  3. You must determine the Cost-of-Care (COC) at eval.

Here are the steps* to converting over 80% of all these type of patient prospects:

  1. Don’t talk too much about finances over the phone.
  2. If they ask, “How much will it cost?” then merely reply with, “Depending on the complexity of your condition it can range between $40-$90 per treatment. Most feel better their very first session and many are done within __ sessions.” (6-12 is best). This is enough for them to come in.
  3. When they arrive, instruct them to call their insurance company and get 3 pieces of information, (1) deductible, (2) co-pay, (3) and any maximums (even if you already got it online beforehand). Put them on the phone right in your lobby. It’s important they hear the bad-news from their insurance rep instead of your receptionist. The phone number for members has a much shorter wait-time than the number for providers.
  4. If they say they can’t afford it reply with, “I hate insurance companies…Don’t worry, if you really want to solve your problem, we can make it very affordable. Just go see the therapist and after the exam we will determine the total cost-of-care and make it very affordable, don’t worry.” (Most will proceed with the exam).
  5. Now the therapist completes the exam and at the end of it, he/she goes over the “Cost-of-Care” instead of the usual educating, body-mechanic and home-ex training (which you don’t get paid for most on eval days anyways). During the exam, don’t aggravate the pain and make sure to relieve their pain during the exam (important).
  6. The cost of care is determined by the therapist saying, “Your condition will require an X amount of visits.” Using six, twelve, or 30 is best (most of the time). Figure out the TOTAL cost based on their deductible, co-pay, per session rate, etc. Tell the patient the cost and ask them, “Do you have any concerns with that?” (this is important).
  7. If they say “No.”, great. “Go to the front and receptionist will take care of you.”
  8. If they say “Yeah, I’m not working now and can’t afford that.” Then you reply, “What if we were to break it into 3 payments of $__, do you have any concerns with that?” Most will like it and onboard immediately.
  9. This only works if you DON’T aggravate their pain and make them feel better during the exam. Very important.
  10. People get anxiety NOT from the cost but the unknown. Once you PROVE you can relieve their pain/problem and clearly define the total cost (and make it affordable if need be) most are relieved and onboard immediately.
  11. There are other factors but this is the essence of how to convert most all hi-deduct, HSA, and cash pay patient prospects.

*This is an abbreviated version of just one strategy. The full training addresses all the other variables and factors and all strategies based on the situation. (Any deviation from my steps can result in failure.)

This attendee applied the COC strategy and had this to say,

“Hey all just had a major break through for myself with cost of care – mom paid 1/2 the COC on the day of eval up front ($800) and dad will pay the other half in a week… Also yesterday I had a dad that I could see was trying to figure out COC for remaining visits… I quickly saw what he was trying to do and said “Oh I can help you with that” then quickly figured it out. He was relieved to see it would ONLY be about $1000 left. James you are just so wise and amazing – I love EVERYTHING you teach us!”

-Mary Kostka, OT (WA)

My solutions are NOT based on speculation, reason or theoretical “should work” answers but proven time-and-time-again in real life.

I’ve been seeing cash patients for over 12 years (before most were even thinking about cash clients) and have tried it all. During my trial and error phase, I lost a lot of prospective patients. And my mistakes cost me. You can avoid that.

The best way to success is…

…to simply copy someone already doing what you want to do.

If you missed the CCRev Conference but want to jump on the waiting list for the next one (and be offered a kick-ass discount when early-registration opens), click here.

Wise practice owners, who pursue learning and adapting, are going to rule this industry (mark my words).

James Ko, PT

P.s. If you want to skyrocket toward making an extra $100k (or more) with your practice this year (no BS) and get the step-by-step training from the comfort of your home, keep your eyes peeled for the invitation to register for my “Advanced Power Coaching (APC11) With James Ko”, an 11-week online group training class for PT/OT/Peds. It’s coming soon 🙂

How to Make a Living AND Have a LIFE

The take-home pay of MOST practice owners is less than $160k. And that wouldn’t be all that bad if they were only putting in 20-30 hours per week, but that’s just simply not the case.

They are giving up a lot more than that.

(even if you are making more than $160k, read this entire email if you want to move higher)

Most work over 40 hours per week routinely! And sacrifice time with…

  • their kids
  • their spouse
  • their friends
  • themselves

And even when they are present they are not fully there (you know what I mean?).

They’re always thinking about something related to the business.

They also sacrifice…

  • Vacations
  • Walks in the park
  • Playing golf, fishing, hiking, playing the guitar,
  • Road trips
  • Smelling the roses
  • and more.

So why is that?

If they are spending so much time on their business, why aren’t they making more?

(and the answer is not decreasing reimbursement)

I’ve come to know test there are 3 main reasons but I’m going to share one with you here…

Believe it or not, most practice owners typically think it’s part of the process and it must be done this way. Somewhere in their thinking they believe…

“You have to pay your dues.”

“You have to work hard and sacrifice to make a good living.”


“Nothing comes easy.”

These words sound awfully similar to what my mother and father would always say to me while growing up.

But the problem is I don’t want the life my mother and father had.

They are almost 80 years old now and they have a lot of regrets. They don’t have much in terms of money, achievements and pride.

They are very sorry to me (and they say it way too much) that they don’t have anything to leave me when they die…

I love them…(more than you know)…

But I don’t want their life.

What if I were to tell you that there’s a better way?

You don’t have to bust your ass-off all the time to make a living and a LIFE.

Because the fact-of-matter is, you don’t.

There’s a better way specifically for PT/OT’s in private practice.

Learn more here… 

James Ko, PT

I Went to the Dentist and Was Reminded of What It’s Like to Be a Patient

I got a chance to be a patient and see what a patient sees. Fortunately, it was just for a routine teeth cleaning but what I learned was priceless.

(I have important “Take-Aways” for you below.)

Since I’m new to the Dallas area, I jumped on Yelp and found a random dentist with a good star rating.

(Actually Amanda made the appointment for me.)

It’s not fun being a patient. (And not great with “selfies” yet).

Here’s what I learned:

(1) It’s not fun being a patient…so stop being so serious.

Everything about the experience was quite sterile, stale, and frankly… boring. Albeit I didn’t have a serious condition. All I needed was a teeth cleaning (more reason to take it light-heartedly) but not all patients want it to be serious even when it is serious. For example, check out this video of a patient dancing with his walker.

I would love to see more high fives, smiling, personal questions, and more fun (and I’m kind of a geeky serious guy!). A few might not like it but most everyone else will (as long as it’s not childish, done in good taste, and no ridiculing).

My take away: Up your game and add more fun. You will get more patients loving you. Don’t mind the few who might not like it. Most will love it. You can’t please everyone. It’s better to be lovable with a few hating you than to be palatable with no one loving you. (And what I mean by “loving you” is not cookies and thank you cards but rather elective service sales and family n friend referrals.)

(2) What the receptionist says and how they treat you is super important.

When I first walked in to their office, they gave me a bunch of tedious paperwork, which I hate (all patients hate). Just for a teeth cleaning. This is after I walked around the entire building in the hot sun trying to find their office entrance. And to top it off, she wanted to charge me a different price than what was quoted over the phone. The difference in price was not that important, it was the principle. It’s not fun being a patient.

My take away: If your front door entrance is not easy to find, go out of your way to explain it during the first call. Train staff well on prices. If you are going to get anything right, get pricing right. And don’t say, “It depends.”. People hate that. Don’t have long tedious paperwork, it pisses people off. Email it to me so I can complete it at home. I don’t mind completing forms at home. Most patients don’t.

(3) Don’t override the receptionist.

When the receptionist and I were talking about the misquoted price for the teeth cleaning, the dentist came up (since he overheard) and took over the conversation. This actually lessened my respect for the dentist and entire clinic. He began explaining how his pricing system worked (they had membership rate and non-membership rates).

My take away: If your prices are so confusing that even your staff can’t get it right, change it. Make it simple. And train your staff. Ambiguity is one thing but misquoting a new patient is another. If you screw up, take ownership and honor what your staff quoted. It’s not the amount, it’s the principle. And never, never, never, override your receptionist. Patients will lose all respect and credibility for her, then you’re screwed. You won’t have a chance in hell making patients loyal. Make the best first impression you can.

(4) Don’t make it complicated.

See my comments above. Even when the patient has a deductible, co-pay, co-insurance, etc., make it easy and understandable or you might lose them (Learn “COC”, the quick and simple way. And patients love it).

(5) Your technician/aide is super important.

The girl who set me up, and later flossed my teeth after the cleaning (Which btw, I have no clue why they do the flossing. It’s pointless.), she was nice. She was timid though. She definitely blended into the sterile culture.

My take away: Hire techs who are nice but confident and outgoing. Surround yourself with fun people (because we’re not all that fun). Create a culture that encourages staff to be fun and outgoing.

(6) Don’t go overboard with the education.

The dentist was boring. Before the cleaning, he went on and on about what he was going to do and so on. After the cleaning he kept on wanting to teach me all about the mouth and teeth. Even as I tried to interject with a question, all he wanted to do was complete his educational spiel. Very bad first impression.

My take away: Don’t do all the talking. Don’t overeducate. Instead relate to the patient. Listen to their questions. Take interest in the person and they won’t find you boring. Ask questions about them such as “So, I noticed… how do you like your work?” etc.

(7) Have a menu.

If you are going to have several different prices (like membership rate and non-member rates), have a menu. If your pricing is even a little complicated, have a menu. Even if your prices are simple and straightforward have a menu.

My take a way: Have a menu!

(8) Use a reminder app.

Even though I wasn’t crazy about this office. I don’t formulate judgements based on one experience so I told them I wanted to come back for another cleaning in 3-months. They said teeth cleanings are usually performed every 6-months. But I told them I like to do every 3-months because I smoke cigars. They appeared reluctant to schedule me (And it wasn’t like I was being an ass where they didn’t want me as a patient–I was being quite polite.). My followup cleaning was supposed to be last Wednesday. I purposely waited to see if they would call or remind me or not. This was going to be my test to see if they had their sh&% together. They didn’t. I didn’t go.

My take away: Use a reminder app for appointments more than 30 days out. I don’t usually schedule patients more than 2-weeks out but I do have “Maintenance” and “Wellness” patients that schedule 30-60 days out. Search google for a “Reminder App” if your scheduling software doesn’t have that feature. I personally like Alarmed myself (it’s an ios app). But patients get the impression that you have your sh*$ together. Important.

(9) Be on Yelp

More and more people are searching Yelp for healthcare related services. See their growth rate here. If you are not there, you are losing out big time. People love the rating system. And they have a great mobile app.

Take away: Be on Yelp! Complete your profile/account as completely and thoroughly as possible. Add pictures and a lot of content. Get people to rate you there more than facebook or google. Trust me.

Now, you can try and go through this list and implement it one by one or…

the better way is to get on the path of creating a culture that breeds a “lovable” clinic in every nook-and-cranny of your entire care system. This fixes the root problems and not just the symptoms.

The items and problems I listed above are mere symptoms of a lost identity. They have no culture. They have no identity. They have no mission, purpose, or beliefs.

So what they end up with is a stale, sterile and boring experience…for the patient (and staff).

Will they stay in business? …Who knows.

Will the owner of the practice become wealthy and have abundant fulfillment?…Probably not.

Life is short. Start giving patients what they want…and you’ll get what you want–more referrals, more cash sales, more loyalty!

Soon I will be announcing an impromptu training on this topic.

LEAVE A COMMENT if you want to be invited 🙂

Which One Are You Most Like?

Go through and circle the number of the trait that most closely matches you. There are 12-Points

Download the PDF to do the exercise below.

See which one your’re most like. It can help you identify areas needing work but more importantly it can help you visualize a model to follow. Speeds up the time to success!

Download the PDF to do the Exercise.

So, which one are you most like?

There are 12-points that are being compared. How lose close are you to the successful one?

(Quick time-out for a second)  Mac in his sparring gear! He models after me 🙂

Do you know what makes the above two practice owners different?

Seems like there is a huge difference on paper but believe it or not it’s not as much as you might think.

I work with clinics that flounder as well as those who generate $3mill and $5million (and more) in revenue and I have to say, there’s no reason why you can’t be like them.

It only takes a few key adjustments to become a “Power” Practice Owner.

(And that’s the truth.)

The difference can be made up with a few key items.

They are:

  • UPC
  • GTC
  • and “IWTQAR”

You are asking what the hell is that, right?

Well, this is what I’m covering on the first Live Session of APC11. You can find out more about it here.

(Doors close in a matter of hours.)

But believe me when I say, this could change everything for you.

This is a private group training online for 11-weeks.

Which means…

It’s private, and personal, and geared for fast results.

So, if you are truly grasping what this is about and what it can do for your practice and personal life, you will see why you can’t let it pass by.

This kind of live online training that helps you become a “Power Clinic” only comes along once in a blue moon.

Take advantage of small windows of opportunity like this, because that’s where the greatest treasures are usually found. Learn more.

I go live… Tuesday (April 4) at 12noon PST. And don’t sweat it if you can’t make this first one since a replay video will be available. You won’t miss a thing.

Ok, gotta go!

Keep moving forward…

James Ko, PT

P.s. It’s a 100% money-back guarantee. You have 3-weeks to try it out and see if it’s right for you. If not, simply shoot me an email and I’ll refund your entire enrollment fee. And I won’t take it personally, swear.