Which is more expensive? The cost to attract new patients or to keep current patients coming back?
There’s a clear winner here. Research shows the cost of gaining new customers is 5 times or more than the cost of keeping customers you already have.
It’s an evergreen challenge for PT practice owners: how do we keep our patient coming back?
Delivering exceptional care isn’t enough. Independent PT practices need a system in place to reactivate patients who’ve been successfully discharged. Staying engaged with patients after they’ve completed care:
- Keeps you top of mind, and keeps your patients connected to the positive experience they had in your care.
- Provides ongoing education and guidance that improves their daily lives.
- Helps maintain their awareness of value of PT—and may well help them recognize a musculoskeletal issue sooner, rather than later.
Information-rich communication and well-targeted offers can bring patients back to your clinic and and help them overcome the uncertainty that every patient—even one’s who’ve already committed in the past—faces when they undertake treatment.
Maintaining enduring relationships with patients is one of the most rewarding parts of practicing physical therapy. With every course of treatment, the trust between patient and therapist gets stronger, the relationship becomes more deeply established, and the reluctance to seek out and commit to PT diminishes. Patients you’ve successfully reactivated also have more reason to refer you to others. These loyal, longtime patients become your clinic’s most committed advocates and ambassadors.
4 things to know about successful patient reactivation
Start BEFORE discharge
The truth is, the groundwork for reactivating patients starts with the first interaction your patient has with your clinic on their very first visit, and never stops. Every single interaction you and your team have with your patients can put trust and connection in the bank—or not. But that doesn’t mean well organized quality assurance check ins at key points during treatment aren’t critically important.
Your patients made a commitment, putting themselves in your care. They decided to trust you to solve their problem. But as clinicians, we know that treatment isn’t always a perfectly linear path. To avoid discouragement and drop outs, patients need our active, attentive help to understand and recognize their own progress along the way.
Measuring patient satisfaction alerts us to the problems our patients are having in real time, so you can address issues before they escalate. It can also shine a light on the doubts, fears, and uncertainties that so many of our patients experience during treatment—the very things that often lead patients to withdraw from care.
Reach out with PURPOSE
Every PT owner knows that communication and outreach are essential to attracting patients, new and existing. Too often, PT marketing is inconsistent and lacking focus. That’s not only a waste of your time, effort, and money. It also actively hurts your credibility with the patients you’re trying to reach. A systematic, consistent approach to reactivation marketing builds on the patient relationship and knowledge you’ve already built. It delivers useful, relevant information, messages tailored to address their specific concerns, conditions, or interests, and a clear call to action—the response you want patients to take to re-engage with you. Using metrics to track results is essential, so you know what’s working and can adjust your approach to boost the effectiveness of your outreach.
Too many promising reactivation leads are lost because follow-up from PT teams doesn’t happen fast enough. Your reactivation system must incorporate a plan for rapid response to patients who respond to your outreach—responses that are direct, personal, and help the patient take the next step in renewing their commitment to physical therapy.
Lead with GRATITUDE
It’s easy to overlook the transformative power of gratitude. But it’s there, just waiting for you to activate it. Uncomfortable with the notion of having to “sell” to your patients? Working from a place of gratitude means you don’t have to. Instead, you’re using the active, genuine, daily practice of gratitude to nurture authentic relationships with your patients that provide them a potent, memorable sense of security and value. A culture of gratitude in your clinic begins with you, the practice owner. And it can’t happen without you. The more you cultivate gratitude for your patients, staff and partners, more it spreads to every part of your practice, and becomes intrinsic part of your work and your practice culture. I know it from personal experience as a practice owner and entrepreneur, and I see it every day in my work with other PT owners: gratitude changes everything.