What’s Next When A Patient Completes Care?
Our previous blog post described the PT patient funnel from Introduction to Investigation to Decision. Introduction is the phase when a prospect first hears about your practice. This is most likely from a friend, family member, physician, or even online. Additionally, it is when the prospect identifies that they have a need or want for PT services. Next, the prospect begins researching or the Investigation stage. Physical therapy is one of several treatment options. And, they look into your competitors to determine which PT clinic is the best fit. Lastly, the prospect has all the information and context needed to make their Decision—to make an appointment for PT. This decision phase is critical to the success of your practice.
Once the decision to make an appointment is made, the PT patient funnel is solely controlled by you, your practice, and the new patient.
Committed Patients and Engaged Practices
You and the patient transition into the Commitment stage of the funnel. The time between booking and the actual appointment is your practice’s opportunity to really “wow” the patient. You want to impress them with both your customer service and marketing. Use your website to streamline the new patient process. Start by having FAQs available to help new patients know what to expect, and make forms available to download and complete prior to the visit.
On the day of the first appointment, the patient needs to have a truly easy and comfortable experience. The front desk and PT staff can provide welcomed support to the patient as they start their initial evaluation. Everything from an informative new patient packet to a clean and attractive facility add value to a patient. Now, you still have to sell them on your full treatment plan. Remember, the last two phases of the PT patient funnel are largely owned and directed by the clinic experience.
From PT patient to practice advocate
Once the patient leaves your office, they have to convince a spouse or family member that spending the money for deductibles or copays at your practice is a wise investment for them. They also will revisit your website and social media to verify they are making the right decision.
This is where online reviews can really matter. Often past patients will leave a review about how they feel after therapy. You want to make sure that these online reviews are accurate. Even a negative review can be a public relations win if you respond to it appropriately. Thus, you demonstrate how much you care about your patients, present and past. After discussing with family, confirming their online research, and verifying with insurance, the patient is now ready to commit to PT at your clinic.
The last stage of the PT patient funnel is Referral. Referrals are an essential component of any successful business. You want patients to continue to rave about their successes with your PT. And, you need them to send their friends and family to you for care. Additionally, if the patient was referred to you by a physician, you want them to report back about their improved health and mobility. This will encourage the physician to send future patients needing PT to your clinic.
To support the referral stage of the funnel, there needs to be an emphasis in the clinic on asking for referrals. You can also give print materials that make it easy for current patients to refer. Furthermore, promotions and engagement on Facebook and Twitter can make it easy for patients to share your information with friends and family.
The PT patient funnel is ultimately circular from Referral to Introduction. The feedback and recommendations of current patients supports the sharing of your clinic’s information with friends, family, and doctors. To learn more about the patient funnel and how to best market your physical therapy practice, Check out our Marketing Funnel Training Workshop here.