An important part of a private practice management is the ability to report on your practice activity. Every comprehensive private practice management software (PMS) will equip you with the tools to mine a certain amount of data from your software and gather insights into trends in your practice.
If you don’t see the point consider this…If you don’t measure your results, then how will you know if you’re making progress?
In addition to managing appointments and managing client information, your PMS should provide you with extensive reports for a data-driven perspective to your business to provide insight into what you’re doing well, what you can improve and what you are plain bad at. We’re all adults here so we can handle the truth.
You’ve likely heard the adage “if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail”, and this is doubly true for business. If you don’t have a watertight business plan, then how will you know if your business fills a niche in the market? Or how will you be confident that will get customers in the door? The same goes for monitoring your business as you’re running it.
Business insights and data can show you where you need to improve to reach the goal of your business. But what is most important is that you analyse this data and create strategies to help reach your goals. Below we’ll take a look at the most important insights your PMS can provide, and some action points for when you identify an area that you’d like to improve.
When is it time to expand your team and space?
At a minimum, a PMS should be able to provide a report or reports that display your overall business activity to compare over a period of time, ideally month to month, quarterly and annually. For determining your rate of business growth, it is great to look at a minimum of your Revenue as a practice and broken down by practitioner.
Have you set business growth goals as part of your business plan, or do you measure it by certain KPIs?
Either way, your PMS should be able to provide this data for you to assess, so you’ll know when you have to hire more staff or move to a bigger premises. If your business isn’t growing at the rate in which you want it to, revisit your business plan and see what can be reworked *hint hint* which staff members are not getting their diaries filled up. You may need to employ some more grassroots methods that you used early on in your business to drum up enthusiasm and get clients through the door like developing partnerships with local businesses + sports teams. Your business plan should also contain your marketing plan, and this will help you locate more people who are interested in your services.
The cancellation rate of your clinic and reasons for cancellation are extremely valuable insights to track. When you can identify how often your clients cancel their appointments, and for what reasons they’re cancelling, you can then look at ways to reduce this. For example: if you can identify that a lot of your clients are cancelling or not showing up due to forgetting about the appointment, then you know you’ll need to send appointment reminders to your clients to ensure that they remember their scheduled appointments. If you’re still getting higher than desired no-show rates but sending appointment reminders, you may want to review when you’re sending these, as data shows that the longer in between the reminder and the appointment, the more likely the client will not turn up to the appointment. If your data shows you that you have repeat offenders – clients who frequently don’t show up to appointments, you might consider implementing a cancellation or no-show policy to protect the revenue you would be making from this client.
Another good item to track is which Practitioners and Services receive the highest rates of cancellations. You can share this data with your team as you wish and work together to develop solutions.
Client retention rate is very important to monitor. It’s much more cost-effective and less labour-intensive to encourage your existing clients to come back to your practice, rather than create advertising campaigns and marketing to new clients. So, even when you are drumming up new business don’t forget about your core clients. Depending on what you discover from this metric, you may want to devise an incentive for your clients to make repeat appointments to re-attend your practice such as discounts, complimentary items, passes or packages. client-therapist rapport also plays a major role in client retention, so it’s crucial to ensure that your clients feel valued and listened to when receiving treatment, so they can trust that they are receiving the best care possible at your practice.
As your business grows, it’s crucial to measure your occupancy rate. Your PMS will be able to provide you with the data to show trends in practice occupancy – whether it is increasing over time or whether there are trends at certain times of the year. If your occupancy rate fluctuates over certain time periods, perhaps you can create a promotion for clients to attend during quieter times with a discounted rate for select popular services. If you don’t notice that your occupancy is increasing as per your forecast, you know you’ll need to step up your marketing game to cast your net wider for new potential clients.
Another essential item that your PMS should offer is the ability to customize this data. All practices have different goals and the ability to get the data that is relevant to your practice and your situation is of utmost importance.
It’s these kinds of insights into your client behaviour and business trends that will make the difference between a surviving practice and a thriving practice. Knowledge is power, and the only way you’ll be able to reach your business goals is by using the data to your utmost advantage.
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