Every year, as summer approaches, I am asked these 3 questions…
“It’s slower here in the summer. What can I do about it?”
“I’m taking some time off. Should I hire a relief doc to take care of my patients while I’m gone or should I just have my patients wait ‘til I come back?”
“How should I let my patients know that I will be gone?”
HERE’S MY RESPONSE TO EACH…
1. “It’s slower here in the summer. What can I do about it?”
Nothing. Do nothing about it. Accept it.
“Summer” is what it is. Just like weekends, night, day, rain, and snow.
People are predictable. So rather than attempt to change their behaviors, make choices that work with reality, not against it. If you can’t afford to accept that, it tells me that you have other issues about your practice that need addressing… Like what are you doing when you don’t have “summer” as an excuse for why “it’s slow”?
Why can’t you accept the ebbs and flows of life? What changes do you have to make in your personal life and spending habits to not only accept summer as is, but enjoy it yourself?
2. “I’m taking some time off. Should I hire a relief doc to take care of my patients while I’m gone or should I just have my patients wait ‘til I come back?”
There is no right answer here but I’m not a big fan of relief docs. You sort of lose if patients like them better than you and you lose if they don’t. Like my answer above, I would choose to enjoy your summer. If you run your practice and your personal life right, then you can afford to be closed. The “loss” of revenue won’t and shouldn’t matter much, especially in the long run. If you can’t afford to take vacations, then you have bigger problems that attracting more patients during the summer won’t fix but ChiroTrust can. It’s all about having the right product, positioning you and your practice properly, and not ignoring your list 12 months out of each year.
3. “How should I let my patients know that I will be gone?”
Well, it depends on how long you’ll be gone. For example, if you are planning on being gone for a week or two, then I’d only let those who have been in your office during the last 90 days or so know. Most everybody else won’t even know that you’re gone, so there’s no need to market the fact that you won’t be there. I would recommend placing a sign on the counter a couple weeks prior to your vacation and a sign on the front door the day you leave. Whomever is answering your phones can just let the incoming callers know. Never let your phones go to an answering machine or a recorded message. If you’re going to be gone for a longer period of time, then in addition to a counter sign and a sign on the front door when you leave, mail a letter to your list of patients who have been in the practice in the last 90 days.
Patients expect successful doctors to take vacations.
So either take vacations or take some time off.
Because if you don’t occur to others and yourself as already successful in practice, then you’ll never become successful in practice.