How are you preparing your Private Practice for Christmas?
You may be thinking it’s too early to talk about Christmas, but it’s right around the corner..
How do you feel about Christmas? Do you love it/ hate it/ don’t celebrate it?
Maybe you’re concerned about lost revenue when everything shuts down, or perhaps you can’t wait to take a much-needed break?
I happen to love Christmas, but in the past (until I worked out what to do), I’d always find myself rushing, rushing, rushing to ‘tidy up’ all those urgent patient requests. Because my diary was so crammed, I found myself turning down Christmas invitations, and frankly, I started to resent Christmas flying by without my having a chance to enjoy it. Bah Humbug!
I think all Clinicians should take time off over Christmas, but I also believe it shouldn’t be stressful in the run up, and it shouldn’t cause us financial hassle either.
The secret is in implementing a Christmas plan – and it’s never too early to do this.
Decide NOW when your last clinic session is going to be.
In the same vein, decide NOW when you will re-open (ideally in the New Year). Will you, for instance, choose to close up shop at the end of the day on Friday the 20th of December and take two entire weeks off, and reopen on the 6th of Jan? Or, will you be the last one standing for last-minute urgent cases, and work on the 23rd and 24th?
Start shouting this from the rooftops now.
This serves two purposes. Firstly, it will get your patients organised (so there are no last-minute pesky requests when you’re heading down the M3). Secondly, it brings with it a ‘scarcity’ factor, which can actually help you to attract patients into clinic. In other words, it helps spur patients into taking action about that knee pain that threatens their ski trip, or the cough that their wife has been nagging them about.
Tell patients about your Christmas hours in every place you can.
Pop into your email signature and add a crimbo message at the bottom that explains your opening hours. Go one step further and use this as an opportunity to promote a special offer (e.g. a pilates class offer for the New Year).
You could also consider using a free tool such as ‘Hello Bar’ https://www.hellobar.com/ to add a banner to the top of your website pages to encourage people to book in before clinic closes on such and such a date.
Ring fence your last two days in clinic.
Plan out your appointments so that in the last day or two, you are only seeing follow-ups or urgent cases. Why? Because patients who book in to see you for an initial appointment, who then can’t be seen for the follow up appointment until the New Year, are likely to feel dissatisfied or coming knocking on your door for the results of that MRI scan.
In the ten days prior to clinic closing, see if it’s possible to book the initial appointment, along with an anticipate follow up appointment, all in before your Christmas departure.
If you have a medsec, get him or her to sound out if it’s likely that imaging or other investigations will be likely. It may be possible to persuade your scanning department to hold some slots for you, or at the very least you can set some expectations with the patient.
Don’t wait for patients to dawdle back into the clinic in the New Year.
Grab them in early. Many patients hold back from booking in that follow up, because they wait to ease back into work before they get around to making that appointment.
For most people the pace of return to work in the New Year is actually slower than they imagine, so remind them of this and be super pro-active about getting that diary date confirmed for first thing in the New Year.
Make sure you get communications and email handling planned in advance.
Set up your email ‘out of office’ two days before you actually shut up shop. Announce that that you’re closing in two days, ‘so get that last minute request in now.’ You can switch over to your formal message on your day of departure, e.g. ‘we’re gone now ‘till the second of Jan and in the event of an emergency…..’
Make sure your ‘out of office’ message spans one day after you’ve returned.
It will give you 24 hours of email breathing space, (even if you are actually back in the office). Nice.
Hit the ground running with a new offering in the New Year.
Plan now, so you can promote it on the cusp of the New Year. Set your emails up so that your email machine (e.g. Mailchimp or Convert Kit) will buzz up your email list with some pre-penned emails you’ve written as a sequence.
For instance, if you treat marathoners, you could encourage them to embrace thecold weather and burn off those mince pies. Get into their email inboxes before your competitors do.
Finally, I want to encourage you to do two further things.
Consider raising your prices in the New Year if you haven’t recently. Use the end of the year as a great time to announce this.
Last, but not least, start planning what you’d like for your business in 2020.
We’re planning further business retreats and events in early 2020 (such as a one day retreat on how to make and use video to market your practice), so ping me an email if you’d like to be included. I'm at email@example.com
Here's a link to the biz retreat we're hosted in November and will be hosting again next year.
Private Practice Ninja Biz Retreat 2019
Now it's time for you to grow your Private Practice.