Christmas is here. That special week is finally upon us. People are lining up outside of the podiatry clinic to get that last minute appointment to make sure their feet are silky smooth for that special day. They are also using up the last of their private health funds allowance. This means one thing. Orthotics. For many clinics December and January are 2 of the highest grossing months of the year, and if they are not, you are doing something very wrong.
Let’s start with appointments. December is one of the craziest months with clients needing to get in. Yet while the work is there, many clinic are closing their doors. This makes no sense, why would you shut when you are busy? I usually work in my clinic Ace Health Centre about 20 hours per week. This week on the other hand due to the high demand im having to working 40+. That’s a big difference. Over double the time. As a business owner id be crazy to close my doors early. For my clinic quiet times come around May. These are some of the lowest grossing months, and so these are the times I ‘TRY” to take a holiday.
Epc plans for people who have been referred from their doctors run from January – January. These people are often not as privileged and so are short on cash. This means they are not as able afford podiatry. Making sure they have used their 5 visits is very important not just for them, but also for you as a business owner. I hear you say, but they don’t need it…. Most of the time this is just the podiatrist being lazy. How many of you cut your clients toenails, enucleate a corn, quick foot rub and send them on their way?
If your really not sure on what else you can do, here’s a few ideas.
- Do some balance work with them. A lot of people who cant cut their nails are also a falls risk.
- Set them a small exercise programme, a lot of podiatry clients are unfit and do no strength work.
- Shockwave / massage / dry needling / mobilization / tape – ask them how they are doing, if they have any new lower limb injuries and pain
- lymphatic drainage – if there’s swelling or edema, help them out
- In shoe modifications – help off load corns and callus, add a heel raise if needed
- Education. Foot health, shoe recommendations, topications
- A quick biomech assessment to see if anything else can help them
There is a few ideas. All of these should be reviewed 3 days post treatment. The last thing you want is to give your client exercises and have them do them wrong. They may put themselves at risk of injury, or better yet waste their time. If you did other modalities then review how they got on with the treatment. Make sure they got no adverse effects from shockwave or needling. If you made in shoe modifications review how they were, has it helped? It’s important to know if they worked or they ripped them off the day after.
Private health funds
We all know that most private health funds roll over at this time of the year. People should be calling up to use up the last of the allocated funds. This should be one of the biggest months for orthotics due to this. People that have forgotten throughout the year should be coming in as it their last chance, but also new ones calling up in an attempt to use it up before the fireworks go off.
If these people are not coming in, generally it’s because of the lack of marketing or follow up systems.
When you car is ready for a service, the garage sends text messages, emails and they phone, to make sure you know is time, and to make sure you book in with them. I know i appreciate it. This is what you should be doing as well, if you don’t already. Reminding them this is their last chance to come in and use their allocated funds, reminding them their orthotics need updating. The same then goes in January when there new allocated funds come round. The same should go for clients on EPC plans. Remind them they can now come back in to get that problem looked at and fixed. Remind them they can now come in to get a set of orhtotics for their fashion shoes, or other shoes because they are too lazy to swap them. This will only give you better treatment outcomes, and a better relationship with your client. We all lead busy lives. Sometimes with just need that reminder….or 2.
So to conclude. If your a business owner shutting your doors during the busiest month of the year, turning clients away, its crazy and you’re missing out big time! If your not busy at this time of the year then you need to rethink your marketing and systems. Take your holidays at times when your quiet.
That said, lucky for you we are staying open as well! While every other orthotic laboratory is enjoying their time off, we keep going as its the busiest time of the year for us. So why would we shut? We will of course be shut over christmas day and boxing day. But we are still doing our best to get your orthotics back to you before the end of the year!