Helping Your Patients (& Your Bottom Line) Through the Holidays

While the holidays may be full of fun, festivities and family, there’s a real fear that some chiropractors have (or should have) in losing their patients and with it, their income.

Most chiropractic practices shut down for the holidays for at least for a few days so they can take some time off and enjoy life like “normal” folks – i.e. non-business owners, aka employees.

Other chiropractors are getting so busy that they can’t focus on anything other than running their business and making it to the end of the year.

But there’s another person in this relationship and THEY are the reason you need to really watch your holiday plans so that you don’t create a new year cash flow crunch.

That person is your patient.



Your Patient’s Holiday Danger

The danger is that your patient is also busy with holiday happenings – shopping, office parties, friend parties, getting ready for relatives visiting from out of town and yes, enjoying some time off.

And in the midst of all that, your patients may not see the value in keeping their appointments over the Christmas season. While some may miss a visit and set themselves back a step or two, others will use this as an opportunity to drop out of care altogether.

And with it, goes your income.

Appointment Atrocities are Not Automatic!

The threat of losing patients often leaves your appointment book like like someone dropped an atom bomb on it and it leaves you the chiropractor feeling a bit helpless. But isn’t it inevitable? After all, you can’t stop Christmas from coming.

The short answer is: NO. Atrocities to your appointment book are not automatic – if you take some preventative measures to make sure that the schedule is not destroyed by the holiday season.

The truth is, you don’t have to feel helpless and you don’t have to scramble around trying last minute promotions that may fall on deaf ears amidst all the other holiday noise.

The first step to keep your patients on track is to simply change some mindsets: yours and theirs.

Why the Custody Mindset Doesn’t Work

There are two mindsets a chiropractor can have about patient case management.

The first is what I call the “Custody Mindset” because it focuses strictly on retention or keeping patients in the practice. In this, the chiropractors goal is not to lose patients.

But a problem arises quickly here. Your definition of “keeping” a patient and theirs is likely to differ. In their eyes, even if they miss an appointment or two or ten, they are still in your practice.

Hopefully there are very few patients who conscientiously leave your practice.   But the downside is that, from their perspective, even if they disappear for a short time or for years, they are still patients in your practice. In other words you have retained them, kept them in your “custody” or in your practice.

But obviously, that doesn’t truly meet your goals. And frankly, it doesn’t help them meet theirs either.

Which is why we need to approach things from a different mindset and vantage point than simply “holding on.”

The Coach Mindset

Fortunately, there’s another way. Instead of focusing on keeping custody of your patients, we need to focus on coaching and committing them towards their goals.

This is a much bigger and better strategy.

First, it’s proactive, not reactive. Therefore, it can be done routinely, ahead of time, while you are approaching the holiday season.

Secondly, in this mindset, you are after more than just keeping your patients on the status quo. You are coaching your patients to think about their future and their health in a positive way. This gets them excited about continuing to work with you through the busy holiday season and beyond, pursuing their goals and keeping up the momentum they’ve made while under your care.

The Secret Sauce Behind Coaching to Commitment

There’s another “secret” benefit towards shifting your mindset from custody and retention towards coaching and committing your patients to their care.

If you aim for commitment and come up short, what happens? The patients either stays the same or even if they operate on their own schedule, they still are “in” your practice and they know that you care about their progress. So, you haven’t lost any ground by refocusing them on their goals and offering to coach them to success.

But the majority of the time, you will actually elevate your patient’s own mindset and perceptions of themselves and their care. By helping them focus on their progress and their future, they will get more excited, recommit, and become more engaged with their treatment plan.

In the end, this translates to better results for them and for you!

Coaching Patients Through Christmas

Making this happen is simple:

  1. Optimize Your Opportunities: as you approach the end of the year, don’t default to defeat. Take your patient’s remaining visits as an opportunity to remind them of their progress, focus them on their future (where they want to be) and give them the next steps in the plan to close the gap between where they are and where they want to be.

 

  1. Remind Them of Their Reasons – when you put things into perspective about where they are and where they want to go with their care, be sure to remind them of the reasons they started care with you in the first place. Give them their “why” as their goal.

 

  1. Don’t Let Them Down Easy – you do your patients an injustice if you “let them down easy” by simply accepting their holiday excuses. If someone says, we’ll be out of town at the end of next week, your response should not be “Have a good time” but to refocus them on their care and how they will avoid a relapse by keeping their schedule. Remind them of the time, money and effort spent to get them to this point and let them know you don’t want to jeopardize that.

 

  1. Use a Painful Analogy – often patients default to allowing the holidays to get in their way of care because they don’t really think about the negative ramifications of doing so. They just look at the positive side of having fun. But a quick, painful analogy can snap them back to reality. One of my favorites is relating their care to a weight loss plan with a simple question: “If you just spent a great amount of time, money and effort trying to lose weight and then decided to take the month of December off and eat like a pig, how do you think you will look and feel in January?” Most patients can easily identify with this analogy and most would admit some variation of “not good.” My response is simple: your care in this office is no different.

 

  1. Give a Plan B: Once you’ve gone through steps 1-4, many patients will commit and stay on track with their care. But for some, their holiday schedules are a major stumbling block. For these patients, AFTER (and only after) you have walked them through the first four steps and they STILL don’t commit to keeping their schedule, THEN (and only then) do you bring out “Plan B.” Essentially, this is a modified version of what your ideal recommendations would be that acknowledges the challenges of the holidays. So, if they are supposed to be seen 3x a week and they will be out of town, then you need to get them to commit to 2x a week for the next two weeks and then, in January, you can re-evaluate to see how their progress has been maintained and revise the schedule, if needed. In this way, you avoid the default of letting the patients pick their own schedule or missing all the appointments. And you remain in control of their care by stating that you will re-assess them in January and (if necessary) you will reset the schedule. For the minority of patients who need this, the Plan B strategy will work wonderfully and again, help your patient and your practice avoid a major disaster.

What are You Waiting For?

That’s it – now it’s time for you to make it happen. Start talking to your patients today and coaching them towards commitments beyond Christmas!

When someone recommends a new contractor to you what is the first thing you do? I know, Google them!  We all do it, and you can bet that when someone refers you to another person, or they find your website (usually through Google), the smart consumer will do another Google search about you to see if they find anything negative or off putting about you. The problem here is that negative can truly at times be in the eye of the beholder. Therefore, it is imperative that you become aware of what Google Search and other search results show about you and then deal with the situation at hand.



Try doing a Google Search on your own business without the personalized results that come up for each individual so you can see what others possibly see. Google bases its search results on your past behavior, so it’s important to remove this criteria from your search before you begin. Here are the instructions. Once you’ve removed this history, now you can get a mostly clear view of what other people might see. Remember though, that their search results are also colored by their own search history.

New LogogNow, do a search on your business name. Take a look at the different results on the first through fifth pages to make sure nothing is out of the ordinary. What descriptions are showing up for Google? Can you make these search results better using SEO? Google now shows a few links, in addition to the main page, in their search results. Are you using the right anchor text and descriptions to maximize your results?

Using a piece of paper or an online method make notes of each item that you can change and make better. Then once you have a list of these items go make them better. If you do not know how to change the anchor text or the descriptions showing up for your Google Search Results then ask your webmaster or an SEO professional for help. If you know what to do then go do it as soon as possible because it will take time for the updates to actually show up in search results so the sooner you do it the better.

Once you’ve handled the SEO keep up this by making sure to always consider what the titles of new WebPages and blog posts will be, as well as the description that might show up. Sometimes Google takes from your code but lately they are taking the first few words in your blog post or article as the description. It’s important to consider this and make both reflective of what you want to be seen at first glance.

 

Note: Don’t forget to also search images! The reason for this, is that if others have tagged you in photos, you want to know about it. If you don’t like the photos you’re tagged in remember that you can set up your social networks using the privacy settings to your advantage so that others cannot tag you inappropriately. Don’t be scared to ask friends and relatives and others to remove photographs that you find unflattering or a poor depiction of the brand you’re trying to project. No one has a right to post pictures of you that you do not approve.

Dealing with Google Search results and making them as flattering as possible will do wonders for your online reputation. If you’ve discovered your business name doesn’t even come up in search results then you have some work to do. Start blogging, article marketing, sending out press releases and have an all out re-launch of your products, services and website so that you can start showing up!

 

woman1-e1392771221402Citations are crucial to your local rankings in Google.  Not only that, but being listed on lots of these third-party sites (AKA “citation sources”) can help you attract customers from a wide variety of sources.

You may know where to get citations, and you may know all about how to go about building them.  You may even use the excellent Local Citation Finder.

But you probably don’t know whether you’ve gathered all the citations you need—or all that you humanly can gather.  That’s what this list is for.  It’s the product of 4 years of jotting down every citation source that Local Search guru Phil Rozek ever encountered.

The local-search landscape constantly changes, so we will keep growing and perfecting this list.  I know there must be some good sites I’m missing, even now.  I’d love any suggestions (see bottom of page).

I’ve broken it up into the following sections:

US citation sources

Data-aggregators

Industry-specific sites

“Events” sites

Ethnicity– and identity-specific sites

UK citation sources

Canada citation sources

Australia citation sources

If you’re looking for citation sources for Germany, New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, the Netherlands, or South Africa, go check out Nyagoslav Zhekov’s great post on“international” local citations.

If you run a business in the US, you’ll only really need to pay attention to the first two sections.  You may also want to skim sections 3-5, but that’s icing on the cake.

A few notes:

1.  The sites in the “data-aggregators” section aren’t reallycitation sources, but they help you earn citations, which is why I’m including them.

2.  None of the sites requires a reciprocal link from you.  In other words, this list does NOT include the types of sites that will list your business only if you paste their stupid link and logo on your homepage.  I haven’t found that those sites are important to anyone’s visibility— except theirs.  Your site should be about you.

3.  All the sites are free to add your business to, with a few exceptions (which I note in the list).  On the off-chance you try to list your business on one of the hundreds of other sites on this list and are asked to pay a fee, please let me know (in which case I’ll either note down that fact on the list or — more likely — remove the site from the list entirely).

4.  Red = the most important citations to gather for Google local rankings, regardless of your industry or location.

5.  When I write  “verification required” next to one of the sites, that usually means that the business owner or someone in the company has to go through a verification process (often by phone) in order to create or gain access to a business listing on that site.

6.  A few sites no longer have free self-serve “submit a listing” options because they’ve got a near-exclusive partnership with Yext (We are Certified Partners with Yext).  That means that in many cases the only way to add or edit a listing on one of these sites is to pay for Yext (although there may be creative workarounds).  I’ve labeled those sites, “Powered by Yext.”  I’m including them in case you want to check your listings.

The sites:

US citation sources

(it’s worth listing your business on any of these sites, regardless of your industry or location)

247OnlineNetwork.com

2FindLocal.com

6QubeDirectory.com

ABLocal.com

AGreaterTown.com

Akama.com

AllPages.com

AlltheLocal.com

AngiesList.com

B2BYellowPages.com

BBB.org

BigwigBiz.com

BingPlaces.com

Birectory.com

BizHwy.com

BizVotes.com

Bizyhood.com

BrownBook.net

BusinessDirectory.BizJournals.com

CBSYellowPages.com

ChamberofCommerce.com

Cherrp.com

CornerstonesWorld.com

City-Data.com

CityFos.com

CitySearch.com (verification required for claiming listing)

CitySlick.net

CitySquares.com

CMAC.ws

Craigslist.org

DexKnows.com

DigaBusiness.com

DirectoryCentral.com

DirectoryM.net (AKA nSphere)

DiscoverOurTown.com

eBusinessPages.com

eLocal.com

eLocalFinder.com

ExpressBusinessDirectory.com

EZLocal.com

FindItNow.com

FourSquare.com

Fyple.com

GetFave.com

HotFrog.com

iDirectory.com

iBegin.com

Infignos.com

InsiderPages.com

Inter800.com

Jayde.com

JudysBook.com

JustClickLocal.com

JustDial.com

Kudzu.com

LinkedIn.com

Local.BOTW.org (costs $1.99 / month as of June 2013)

Local.com (powered by Yext)

Local.Yahoo.com

LocalCensus.com

LocalDatabase.com

LocalGuides.com

LocalPages.com

MakeitLocal.com

Majon.com

Manta.com

MapQuest.com (powered by Yext)

MerchantCircle.com

MojoPages.com

MyCityBusiness.net

MyHuckleberry.com

MyLocalServices.com

MyWebYellow.com

NetHulk.com

Nexport.com

OneClickLocal.com

OpenWiFiSpots.com (only if you offer free Wi-Fi access)

Patch.com

PegasusDirectory.com

PetesDirectory.com

PremiumPages.net

Primeplace.Nokia.com (verification required)

RadarFrog.GateHouseMedia.com

RateItAll.com

SalesSpider.com

SeekItLocal.com

ShowMeLocal.com

SmartGuy.com

SocialRaves.com

SocialStreets.com

SoMuch.com

SuperPages.com

Switchboard.com (powered by WhitePages, and in turn by Yext; see note on WhitePages, below)

Thumbtack.com

Topix.com (powered by Yext)

TripAdvisor.com

TrueYellow.com

Tupalo.com

Tyloon.com

UrbanSpoon.com

USBDN.com

USCity.net

UserInstinct.com

ViewPoints.com

Wand.com

WherezIt.com

WhitePages.com (powered by Yext – although apparently you can contact Whitepages for help)

WhoFish.org

Yalwa.com

YellowBot.com

YellowBook.com

Yellowee.com

YellowHours.com

Yellowise.com

YellowOne.com

YellowUSA.com

YelloYello.com

Yelp.com (verification required only for claiming listing)

Yippie.biz

YP.com (verification required only for claiming listing)

ZipHip.com

ZipLocal.com

ZipperPages.com

ZoomInfo.com

Data-aggregators

Acxiom (MyBusinessListingManager.MyAcxiom.com)  (verification required; paid)

ExpressUpdate.com – AKA InfoGroup, AKA InfoUSA

Factual.com (paid)

LocalEze.com (verification required)

Industry-specific sites

AllAboutCounseling.com

AllAboutVision.com (optometry)

AlphaLegal.com (law)

AmericanTradesman.com

AOA.org (optometry)

AssistedLivingFacilities.org

AssistedLivingInfo.com

AutoMD.com (auto mechanics)

Avvo.com (law)

BailBond.com

BuildersYellow.com

ChiroDirectory.com

CyberAtty.com (law)

DealerRater.com

DentistComparisons.com

DentistDig.com

Doctor.com

DoctorOogle.com

DoctorsDig.com

eLocalPlumbers.com

Eventective.com

EverydayHealth.com

EveryDentist.com

EyeOnJewels.com

Fixr.com (contractors)

Frommers.com

GatheringGuide.com

GetMowed.com (landscaping and lawn-care)

HealthGrades.com

HG.org (law)

HomeExpo.com

HomeOwnersCircle.com (home-improvement services)

HomeStars.com (home-improvement services)

HotelClub.com

HotelsCombined.com

Houzz.com (home-improvement services)

Justia.com (law)

LawyerCentral.com (law)

LocalGranite.com (granite suppliers)

LuxuriousLandscapes.com (landscaping)

MacRaesBlueBook.com (industrial)

MenuPages.com (restaurant)

MyWedding.com (bridal, florist, salon, etc.)

Networx.com (contractors)

OpenTable.com

OurParents.com (assisted living)

RateMDs.com

SeniorHomes.com (assisted living)

ServicesListed.com

ShopCity.com (shopping)

SpaFinder.com

SportsTavern.com

StorageFront.com

UrbanSpoon.com

VisionDirectory.com (optometry)

Vitals.com

WeddingWire.com (bridal, florist, salon, etc.)

Wellness.com (health industries)

YogaFinder.com

Zagat.com

Zillow.com (real-estate, home-improvement services, landscaping)

“Events” sites

(you can get citations from these if you’re hosting a public event at your business; see my post on this for more detail)

Cityseekr.com

EventBrite.com

EventCrazy.com

Eventful.com

EventSetter.com

Festivals.com

Patch.com

TicketBud.com

TicketLeap.com

Yelp.com/events

ZVents.com

Sites geared toward specific ethnicities / identities

(For more detail on these sites, see the post where I originally published this list.)

AlbanianYellowPages.com

AsianBizOnline.com

BlackBusinessList.com

BlackOwnedBiz.com

Chinese411.com

CopperPages.com (Indian & Southeast Asian)

DesiWebUSA.com (Indian)

FilAmBizPages.com (Filipino)

FilAmPages.com (Filipino)

GreekAmericanBiz.com

IndianVillage.com (Native American)

IndoUSListing.com (Indonesian)

IranianHotline.com

iZania.com (Black & African American)

Jewocity.com

LatinaMarketplace.com

Latin-Businesses-USA.com

LebaneseinAmerica.com

MakBiz.net (Macedonian)

MuslimBusinessUSA.com

NAOTW.biz (Native American)

RUList.com (Russian)

RussianImpact.com

SaigonNet.net (Vietnamese)

TurkishBiz.com

US4Arabs.com

VeteranOwnedBusiness.com

VeteransDirectory.com

Yasabe.com (Spanish speakers)

YaSas.com (Greek)

UK citation sources

(For “Add listing” pages for the following sites, see my blog post on UK citation sources.)

192.com

AccessPlace.com

ApprovedBusiness.co.uk

BizWiki.co.uk

Britaine.co.uk

Brownbook. net

BTLinks.com

Business.Unbiased.co.uk

BusinessNetwork.co.uk

City-Listings.co.uk

CityVisitor.co.uk

CityLocal.co.uk

CompaniesintheUK.co.uk

Cylex-UK.co.uk

Directory.TheSun.co.uk

FindtheBest.co.uk

ForLocations.co.uk

Foursquare.com

FreeBD.co.uk

FreeIndex.co.uk

Fyple.co.uk

GoMy.co.uk

HotFrog.co.uk

Listz.co.uk

LocalDataCompany.com

LocalDataSearch.com

LocalLife.co.uk

LocalSecrets.com

LocaTrade.com

Manta.com

MarketLocation.com

MisterWhat.co.uk

MiQuando.com

My118Information.co.uk

MySheriff.co.uk

MyLocalServices.co.uk

Near.co.uk

Opendi.co.uk

Qype.co.uk

Scoot.co.uk

SmileLocal.com

TheBestof.co.uk

TheBusinessPages.co.uk

TheDiscDirectory.co.uk

ThomsonLocal.com

Tipped.co.uk

TouchLocal.com

UFindUs.com

UK.Uhuw.com

UK.WowCity.com

UK-Local-Search.co.uk

UK-Locate.co.uk

UKSmallBusinessDirectory.co.uk

VivaStreet.co.uk

Wampit.com

WheresBest.co.uk

WhoseView.co.uk

Yalwa.co.uk

Yell.com

Yelp.co.uk (verification required only for claiming listing)

Zettai.net

Canada citation sources

411.ca

BBB.org

Brownbook.net

Canada.WorldWeb.com

CanadianBusinessDirectory.ca

CanadaPages.ca

CanPages.ca (submit at contactus.yp.ca/canpages)

CityDirect.info

CTIDirectory.com

Cylex.ca

DakiTaki.com

eLocal.ca

eSourceCanada.com

FindHere.ca

FindUsFast.ca

FoundLocally.com

FourSquare.com

GoldBook.ca

HotFrog.ca

iBegin.com

IC.GC.ca

LocalBiz.ca

LookupCanadian.com

N49.com

Opendi.ca

OurBis.com

ProfileCanada.com

ScottsInfo.ca

SeekItLocal.com

ShopinCanada.com

WebLocal.ca

WikiDomo.com

Yellowee.com

YellowPages.ca (verification required only for claiming listing)

Yelp.ca (verification required only for claiming listing)

Australia citation sources

AGFG.com.au (dining & tourist businesses)

AussieWeb.com.au

AustralianGuide.net

Brownbook.net

Cylex.com.au

Eatability.com.au

EnterpriseSearch.com.au

Fyple.biz

HotFrog.com.au

Local.com.au

LocalBD.com.au

LocalBusinessGuide.com.au

LocalStore.com.au

Manta.com

NationalDirectory.com.au

POIdb.com

RaveaboutIt.com.au

StartLocal.com.au

Superpages.com.au

TrueLocal.com.au

WhitePages.com.au

Yalwa.com.au

YellowPages.com.au (verification required only for claiming listing)

Yelp.com.au (verification required only for claiming listing)

YourCity.com.au

How can I improve the list?

Here’s a short wish-list of things I’d really love your input on:

  • Citation sources you know of that aren’t on the list
  • Ways you think I should organize/present the current list
  • Any tips or “words to the wise” regarding any site on the list
  • Any thoughts you have about the relative importance of any of the sites—like how you’ve seen them influence your Google local rankings or someone else’s.  In other words, which ones would you suggest highlighting in red?
  • Whatever you think would make this a better list
Some people who’ve helped so far:

Credits

Big thanks to Kirk Pomerleau, Bruce Mishkin, and Holly Pedit for their contributions to this list early on.

Special thanks to Nyagoslav Zhekov of NGS Marketing for a long list of insights that helped make this list better.  (By the way, I highly recommend you check out Nyagoslav’s excellent blog on local search.)

Giant thanks to Andrew Webber of SEO Maverick for his excellent additions to the list of Australian citation sites.

Hearty thanks to Zachary Palmer of Divot Agency for suggesting 9 sites, and for his further input.

Gratitude to Chris Sheehy of SidewalkBranding.co for 32 sites that made the list.  (By the way, Chris’s HQ is just a few miles down the road from me – check out his site if you’re a Rhode Islander who wants a local local SEO.)

I thank Stephen Brown of Brown & Rice, P.A. for telling me about several sites that had gone extinct.

Cheers to Hayden Williams for telling me about 9 UK citations I’d missed.

Thanks to Michael Gottesman Biz Tech Coaching for suggesting the “Powered by Yext” labels.

Cheers to Rod Marchant-Smith of Peninsula Air Conditioning in Sydney for confirming which Australian citations matter most.

Merci to Marc Poulin for helping me keep the Canadian citations list up-to-date.

Please email me with any suggestions, advice, or questions you’d like to share.

Thanks!

John

P.S.  Want help with your citations?  Check out my services.

We all want to know what the magic words are in running a successful business–is it drive, passion, risk, money? The truth is, it’s not really the words that we want to hear, it’s what our customers would love to hear us say. It’s the words that will bring your customers the greatest sense of satisfaction and the words, as a business owner, you feel proud to stand behind. Keep these short, but important phrases top of mind during your daily customer interaction.

“How Can We Help?”
Too often business owners go above and beyond to guess their customers wants and needs. But if you give your customers a platform, they are happy to provide these details for you. The simple, open-ended question of “how can I help?,” kicks off this dialogue on a positive note that invites solution-oriented discussion. Whether it’s on your website’s“contact us” form, your Facebook Business page, or your online reviews, this question positions your business as a pro-active problem solver.

“We are Always Here”  
Gone are the days when business hours ended when the “We Are Closed” sign came out at 5:00pm. Today’s on-demand technology makes the marketplace just a click, tap, or swipe away–on any device, at any time, on any day of the week. Yikes! And while this doesn’t mean that small business owners are working 24/7, it does mean that your business needs to be searchable, mobile friendly, and just a “click-to-call” away at all times. Being found on the first page of the major search engines, popping up in local listings (like Angie’s List, Google Maps, and Yelp), and appearing sleek and optimized on all mobile devices truly legitimizes the words: We are accessible; we are here for you. Even if you choose to save your emails responses until Monday morning, when you are present on major digital platforms you bring credibility to your commitments.

“We Hold Ourselves Accountable”


Oh, the blame game! No one likes it, but when you’re a small business owner it’s your responsibility to ensure satisfaction–and to hold yourself accountable when satisfaction is not met. There is no better way to maintain and monitor this accountability than online reviews, a place to bask in the positive things your customers have to say and a place to turn the negative things into something great. In fact, 79 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, using reviews to inform and inspire their purchasing decisions.

“We Appreciate You”
Customer appreciation must go on long after the sale has been made and the “thank you5 things your customers need to hear you say for your business” email has been sent. The best kind of appreciation is one that gives a deal to your customer in the form of an easy-to-use online offer. Whether it’s a loyalty incentive, a discount on future services, or even a Starbucks gift card, these type of offers demonstrate your thankfulness for their business more than any words ever could.