After a difficult year, acknowledging the year’s wins is even more important.
By Matt Slimming, PT, DPT
You are working hard at building (or re-building) your business.
Your work week is split between treating patients, managing your staff as best you can, and overseeing some marketing efforts. On top of that, you must find time to make sure that all the legal and administrative requirements are observed correctly. For your company to continue to thrive, people need to have new reasons, almost continuously, to view your practice in a positive light. These reasons need to be communicated to patients, staff, the community, and other health care entities in your market. But as busy as you are, what can you do consistently to achieve that?
You have successes. We all do. However, as owners or managers we often just don’t slow down long enough to give these victories more than a passing nod as we move on to the next important task.
When we do that, we are missing out on reaping tremendous rewards for ourselves, our patients, and our teams. By celebrating successes, we recognize the hard work that goes on every day and reinforces the “why” behind what we do. When we pause to help others bask in that glow of hard-earned victory, it shows that we really appreciate their efforts.
In turn, our self-esteem is boosted and we gain new motivation to take the next big step forward in our practices. So how do we carve out time to add yet another “must-do” to our packed schedule every week?
Many of the effective ways that we can celebrate our successes don’t actually take any additional preparation time. The following are a few of my favorites.
At every single meeting (even a one-on-one) point to something positive that the team has achieved. Recognize the individuals involved. Explain what they did, how they did it, and why it is a big deal. Include a non-language celebration: a “woop-woop,” dance a little, or just a traditional hand clap or high five. These gestures can make it clear that this is a big deal worth taking a moment to acknowledge.
An important principle to remember is that we should praise publicly and criticize privately. It is OK to praise an employee before a group, just remember to always discuss the negative in a one-on-one, not in front of others.
Hopefully you measure things in your organization and compare actual data to target data. There are a vast number of metrics you could include, and many depend on what you value as a company. If you haven’t started this yet, three important ones you can start with are:
Net Promoter Score
This is a measure of customer satisfaction. It essentially asks the patient to quantify how likely they are to recommend your clinic to someone else. Some EMR software gathers this automatically. Alternatively, you can collect it by SurveyMonkey in a monthly email to the prior month’s new patients. Case studies report that companies that consistently measure and track NPS see faster growth than if they weren’t tracking NPS.1
Visits Per New Patient
This is a great way to get a quick look at how well your patients value your service. Generally speaking, if they are attending all their prescribed sessions, they value your physical therapists highly. Obviously, there are outliers in this data, but you will find that the overall trend is what matters: your physical therapists that are seeing patients for more visits are also the ones who develop stronger relationships and are more highly esteemed.
This is easily measured by dividing the total number of visits seen (year to date) by the total number of initial evaluations performed (year to date).
Targets for this one will vary by practice setting and region due to demographic data and insurance reimbursement patterns.
Referral Activation Rate
This is often overlooked. How successful are your front desk staff at scheduling new patients and getting them to show up for that first appointment?
This is a crucial metric. If you have a front desk person who is underperforming by 10% here, it could mean you are losing over $10,000 in revenue each month. It is also important to measure because there are a lot of things that go into doing this successfully. Therefore, it is relatively easy to improve if it is not up to par.
The target for this also varies by practice and patient demographic.
All of this data is worthless unless you are meeting every month with the people whose performance you are assessing by these metrics. When you meet with them, find something in that analysis to celebrate. Even if they haven’t met any of their targets, find something subjective to celebrate with them. It is amazing how staff performance goes up to meet the expectations it appears you have of people when you are positive about them.
In your private annual goal setting and planning sessions, make sure that you take time to recall and enjoy the successes you have had as an individual and an organization over the year. As the boss, you may not have other people congratulating you for your achievements. However, you still need the reward for all your hard work. Treat yourself with something that you enjoy and make the mental connection that it is to thank you for a job well done.
Take time every day to celebrate the good things that happened that day. This can be enjoyed with a loved one or by yourself. Couple it with something you enjoy: a meal, a drink or an activity. Talk about the success, how it happened, why it is a good thing, all that it means to you. That provides positive reinforcement to enjoy your work and to look forward to the next success.
GATHER GOOD NEWS
Create a system to capture testimonials from patients. Put these up on a wall and then go the extra step of posting one on Facebook each week. This will encourage your staff and your patients. It will promote your business in a very positive light and really show the health care community that you make great connections with your patients. Any business can find a handful of clients that are willing to write them a testimonial. If you can make this a sufficiently systematic process so that you can post a new one each week, you can really separate yourself from the competition.
Hopefully you can see the tremendous value that can be realized by pausing to celebrate your successes. It doesn’t need to be a big affair. It needn’t be difficult. But it does need to be consistent.
1Grenier L. How this ecommerce company grew 2x by making NPS their most important metric. https://www.hotjar.com/blog/nps-case-study/#grow-your-business-by-measuring-nps. Published February 12, 2019.
Matt Slimming, PT, DPT, owns STAR Physical Therapy and STAR Fitness in Louisiana. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.