We’ve all had that one patient that makes you want to stay in bed in the morning and makes you question why you do what you do, but unfortunately, the occasional lousy patient is just part of running a podiatry business.
Most bad patients will give you early warning signs, and your goal, as you become more experienced, is to identify them as soon as possible, so you can take action sooner rather than later and eliminate them from your business.
In this episode, I want to share my top six ways to identify bad patients, and what I’m about to explain is far from a complete list. Still, it’s an excellent place to start, and having friends in other professions and industries, it’s nice to know they share similar problems with their patients, clients and customers.
1) THEY WILL OFTEN COMPLAIN ABOUT YOUR FEES
Even if your prices are incredibly fair, they will still say you’re too expensive, and if you challenge them and ask how much too expensive we are, they will never be able to give you a precise answer.
And the reason they cannot give a definitive answer is that they’re fabricating this price comparison.
2) THEY HAVE A RUDE AND ABRUPT PERSONALITY
When they walk into your business, they’ll look sour-faced, and everything that flows from their mouth has a negative undertone. They rarely talk, and when they do, it is short and sweet.
They also make your team uncomfortable because they give off a bad vibe, and you often find your team taking cover when they arrive.
3) THEY’RE ALWAYS ASKING FOR A DISCOUNT
Not only will they ask for a discount, but they will tell you why your podiatry business is losing out big time by not offering discounts to pensioners and seniors, the unemployed, students, healthcare cardholders, and people with one leg.
And if you point out that you’re busy, which is why you do not need to give discounts, they’ll tell you…well, you could be busier
4) THEY’LL ASK FOR AN ACCOUNT
Let’s be serious, who leaves home without money or payment options (cash, card, smartphone, etc.)?
Bad patients do, that’s who, and they’ll only tell you they have no money with them after you’ve already provided the service, never before the consultation. They also never apologise for not having money.
However, A good patient will almost want to leave one of their kidneys behind as collateral.
5) WHEN YOU GIVE THEM AN ACCOUNT, YOU HAVE TO CHASE THEM FOR PAYMENT
A good patient who receives an account will pay quickly, whereas a bad patient will delay payment and make excuses why they can’t pay, resulting in your business having to spend time chasing them.
If you have to chase them, do it as fast as possible because the longer an account is outstanding, the harder it will be to get paid because a bad patient will quickly justify why they shouldn’t have to pay you.
- You were running late and made me wait 10 minutes.
- It wasn’t the best treatment I’ve ever received.
- I could have got it cheaper elsewhere.
6) THEY WILL COMPLAIN AND RAISE THEIR VOICE AT THE MOST INOPPORTUNE TIME
Bad patients love an audience and often raise their voices so others can hear they are unhappy with your service. If you ask them to keep their voice down, they will raise it in defiance.
Unless, of course, you offer a discount…then suddenly their voice lowers. It’s funny how that works.
Here’s the good news. You’re going to find that most patients who visit your podiatry business will be nice people, easy to work with, and will make going to work enjoyable.
So never let a few bad patients spoil your day, no matter how bad they are.
This is why it is important to surround yourself with a good team, good mentors and business advisors and why you need positive, uplifting friends in the profession.
“There are more honest people and more good people than there are thieves and bad people. It’s just always been that way.” Michael Nesmith
I’ve been a podiatrist since 1988, and when you are treating patients with foot pain, it can sometimes bring out their dark side; however, a good patient, regardless of how much pain they are in, will always be polite, courteous, and respectful. They will never use their pain and discomfort as a reason to be disrespectful to you.
Good patients will never:
- Complain about your fees.
- Be rude.
- Ask for a discount.
- Ask for an account.
- Be late with a payment if you did give them an account.
- Raise their voice under any circumstances.
THREE REASONS WHY BAD PATIENTS WANT YOU
There are three reasons why some podiatry businesses have more bad patients than others, and it has nothing to do with their abilities as a podiatrist.
1. Their fees are too low.
2. They give accounts too easily.
3. They don’t have well-defined systems to deal with bad patients quickly.
If you have any questions about this episode, you can email me at email@example.com, or if you’d like to learn more about One-On-One Business Coaching, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org; otherwise, you can go directly to my online calendar schedule a face-to-face Zoom meeting with me.