Because You Have Hired Them
By Tannus Quatre, PT, MBA
It is the ultimate privilege to earn the business of a new client. The effort, time, and money that goes into landing a new appointment on your schedule may be overlooked by some but never by the business owner. New clients are a precious commodity and the lifeblood of your business.
As such, every time we earn the business of a new client, we should be grateful, but we should not count all of our blessings quite yet.
Not every client is going to be a good fit. It is your job as the business owner or clinician to “hire” the right clients for your physical therapy practice.
The requirements necessary to achieve desired physical therapy outcomes are not unlike those required to achieve good business outcomes. Both require teamwork, and teams cannot be randomly or haphazardly selected. They must be hand picked, molded, and led.
In business, when a team is not working, the leader needs to make changes. Expectations must be clearly set, and when warranted, bad seeds must be removed for the greater good of the operation.
The same applies to the clients you choose to do business with. Difficult as it may be, you must make the choice to free your schedule of clientele that do not allow you to deliver your best work. If you want to be the best, you can only afford to hire the best.
Though the definition of problem clientele will be different in every physical therapy practice, here is a list that you may want to avoid hiring if you are committed to delivering the best care in your community.
The Uncommitted. You can only help those who want to help themselves. Uncommitted clients will waste time and resources that can be dedicated toward clients who are committed to their care. There are only so many hours in a day, and those hours need to be focused on those who want to use them.
Deadbeat Payers. You may choose to provide charity care through your practice, but unless you have an unlimited supply of funding, your business cannot be run like a charity. You must have good payers on which to build your business. If a client (or their insurer) does not pay timely and according to your policies, they will cause your boat to take on water.
Negative Nellies. Physical therapy is about living life to its fullest. While rife with circumstances that may occasionally dampen the spirit of those who need us, negativity for the sake of negativity is different. You simply cannot afford to expose your positive clientele and staff to those whose existence in your practice is a whirlwind of drama and negativity.
The Unsatisfied. Despite your best efforts, you cannot fix or please everyone. Different from the “negative Nelly,” the unsatisfied client is one whose expectations exceed your ability to deliver. The genesis of their dissatisfaction stems from an unrealistic expectation, and in this case it is better to cut bait than to risk a negative online review (or worse) by keeping them in your practice for too long.
Remember that only you can determine which clients are right for your physical therapy practice, and no single list or rule will apply to all situations. It is important, however, that you realize that it is your job to hire only the right clients for your practice. Doing so will allow you to deliver the most rewarding basket of goods to your clientele, your team, and yourself.
Have an example or want to share the right or wrong type of client for your physical therapy practice? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to consider it for a future article.
Tannus Quatre, PT, MBA, lives at the intersection of physical therapy and entrepreneurship, spending his time helping physical therapists build and operate successful practices through his company, Vantage Clinical Solutions. He specializes in marketing, finance, and business planning, and authors and speaks regularly for the APTA and PPS. He can be reached at email@example.com.