Q: After years of take-it-or-leave-it-yearly-pre-paid plans I'm starting to let go. I realized that the patients I look forward to seeing the most are the ones that decided on their own to adopt a chiropractic lifestyle despite my best efforts to "keep them on the bus.” Like you predicted in "The Seminar" I have been rewarded with diminished statistical results. I know in my heart that this is the best long-term sustainable route, but I was wondering if you had any knowledge on how long it has taken other offices to rebound to their former (and hopefully greater) glory?
A: Congratulations for acknowledging the practical realities of Samuel Butler’s quote, “A man convinced against his will; is of the same opinion still.”
Recovering your practice will be a function of how much damage has been done. If you’ve been force-feeding annual care plans for a couple of years you may have an equally long period of convalescence. It just depends how many people you’ve alienated by your well-intentioned, but off-putting approach to patient management.
Mostly what this does is reduce reactivations and referrals, the mainstay of a true practice. One doctor I worked with was compelled to send an apology letter to selected inactives, admitting the error of his ways and announcing his new patient-centric approach. Hard to know whether it was sufficient to remove the bitter taste in the patient’s mouth since it didn’t create an immediate flood of reactivations.
If it were me, I’d spend a weekend with the file folders of those you think you’ve offended. Apologize to the folders. Ask for forgiveness. Invite them back. Then forgive yourself, put the past behind you and move on.