Q: What is the best way to address a patient who says they have found other San Diego chiropractors who charge $25 per visit while our office charges $50 per visit? She's acting like we’re over charging her.
A: “They must know what their adjustments are worth,” is probably what you want to say, but that would just give you some temporary emotional satisfaction and avoid the real issue.
Her observation reveals at least two things: 1) she thinks an adjustment is an adjustment is an adjustment. This is a common belief. By the way, based on how insurance carriers reimburse, they believe the same thing, and 2) she is confusing price with value.
Many patients see the repetitive nature of the visits they experience and figure all patients receive identical adjustments. Most patients don’t know what it takes to become proficient at adjusting. And in some offices, especially those who adjust on the first visit, much of the meaning and majesty of the adjustment can be lost in a rushed attempt to help the patient.
That said, there is a market for the Ford Focus as well as the latest Lexis Coup. And some eateries will offer the choices of inexpensive pasta dishes as well as lobster. The customer chooses based on their budget and priorities, not the dealership’s or the restaurant’s. Nothing personal, it’s just part of the charm of the free enterprise system.
As third parties become less and less a factor in chiropractic and chiropractors can no longer call around to find out what the going rate is, this “deregulation” effect will become increasingly profound. Yet, those who believe that lowering the price will increase patient volume are misled. These same practices will often offer complementary visits on the birthdays of inactive patients and find few takers. It’s not the price, but how much patients value the adjustment.
Bottom line, selling on price is the last act of a desperate business. It turns the produce or service into an undistinguished commodity. It tends to attract the least loyal of patients. The suspicion of which is probably what prompted your question in the first place.