Chiropractic Marketing Ideas – Mystery Shopping
Written by Drew Stevens
Are you having issues retaining patients? Do you question why patients never make a second or third appointment?
Just the other day I visited a chiropractor to assist them with chiropractic marketing issues. Upon arrival there were children screaming, a receptionist the flat out ignored me, children opening doors to exam rooms and husbands or significant others hanging around and lolly gagging in the pre-treat area. The practice looked more like a fraternity then a chiropractor’s professional office. Perhaps it is time to use some mystery shopping to define what is wrong.
Mystery shopping was standard practice by the early 1940s as a way to measure employee integrity. Tools used for mystery shopping assessments range from simple questionnaires to complete audio and video recordings. Mystery shopping is easily done by hiring a chiropractic-marketing consultant or professional services firm. They pose as patients and simply review your practices’ marketing and customer service procedures.
Smith Chiropractic uses mystery shopping frequently to decide how patients are greeted upon entry and if they are sitting in waiting rooms more than 10 minutes. Additionally, Smith looks to see if fees are collected and if staff confirms or schedules follow-ups.
Here are some tips for a successful mystery-shopping program:
• Create goals and objectives and ensure congruency with the organizational strategy.
• Succinct and Simple. There is little reason to have numerous surveys and questionnaires. Quick observed behavior is sometimes easier. Once while performing a Mystery Shop at the Ritz we were scurried about from room to room to determine the validity of a VIP program. After 15 minutes it became easy to understand VIP testing was merely covering errors.
• Measurements – Seek measurements of success. Make them reasonable and achievable.
• Get your front line on board. It’s vital that the people responsible for the results of the mystery-shopping program – front line employees, supervisors, store managers and regional managers – understand and are supportive of the program.
• Assign adequate supervision on your end. A well run mystery shopping program will require administrative time on your end. Make sure the person assigned to handle the program has the authority to make decisions and the time to act on the results (e.g. coach, provide recognition).
• Review periodically. This is important to keep the program fresh and relevant.
And now lets provide you with a mystery shopper tool kit:
• Choose your objectives – Understand what it is you want to improve and what the value is to the department and the organization.
• Methodology – Choose a simple method that allows clients to respond expeditiously. Surveys, focus groups, one on ones etc are all helpful to engage feedback.
• Measurements – it may sound trite but one is not a trend, look for true trends and gaps. And anomalies.
• Create additional communication and feedback loops to truly understand customer sentiment.
• Documentation – Document everything to ensure the proper information is recorded.
• Engage senior management – no matter what upper management must be involved in all mystery shopper analysis.
• Create Action – When completed ensure success by implementing the new set of standards. Do not wait place these procedures into immediate action.
Many organizations seek to use mystery shopping to better understand anomalies in their practice. The notion is not to shock or surprise staff but rather implement new practices that ensure the organization is focused on the most vital asset – patients. The more focus on patients the less interruption in revenue flow.
What best practices do you use in your practice to retain patients? Our readers want to know? Drop us a line in the comment area.