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Bring Patients Back: 3 Easy Client Retention Tips for Chiropractors

Drs. Jeff Langmaid and Jason Deitch

Founder DCs, The Smart Chiropractor

What Client Retention Is and What It Isn’t

Generating client loyalty with a strong patient retention process can transform how full your schedule is day in and day out.

No matter how you practice, how you market, or how many patients you see in a week, your ability to retain clients will determine how successful you are.

To be clear, when we talk about retaining patients and as you read the 3 key client retention tips for chiropractors we’re going to focus on here, know we’re not talking about coaxing someone into something.

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Successful client retention involves implementing processes that will help guide and encourage your clients to prioritize and be proactive with their health through the care you offer by keeping the value you offer front and center.

We sum this up in one cohesive strategy we call Teaching and Inviting, Consistently, and you can read more about that here.

In this article, we’ll take that strategy a step further and dive into our 3 most powerful client retention tips for chiropractors.

The Smart Chiropractor's Guide to Reactivating More Patients Every Week

The Smart Chiropractor's Guide to Reactivating More Patients Every Week

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But first, a look at some important numbers.

Why Client Retention is Beyond Critical

It’s been estimated that acquiring a new patient is 5-10x more expensive to your bottom line than retaining an existing patient who has and is already engaged with your practice.

In fact, increasing your patient retention rate by just 2% could lower your overall expenses by 10%.

When looking at our client retention tips for chiropractors and looking at your bottom line, remember this…

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A loyal patient is always going to be worth more to you than 10 “one and done” patients.

Here’s what we mean.

Think of your bottom line as a bucket you need to fill each month.

"We are in our first month of The Smart Chiropractor and so far we have had our greatest amount of new patients in a month."


Dr. Alex Eckert, DC

Performance Health & Integrated Spine Care

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While any number of chiropractic practices may have found glimmers of success in getting new patients pouring in the top of their bucket for a few months at a time…

The truth is that these same practices often have so many holes in their bucket that as fast as those new patients come in, they fall out the bottom and sides of the bucket just as fast!

Infographic Depicting a Leaky Bucket of Patients That Can Result from Ignoring Standard Client Retention Tips for Chiropractors
Client Retention Tips for Chiropractors: Leaky Bucket

Talk about wasted effort!

The retention tips for chiropractors we’re going to cover below are designed to help you plug those holes so you can finally reliably fill your bucket month after month!

Our 3 Core Client Retention Tips for Chiropractors

If you’ve seen hundreds (and especially if you’ve seen thousands of patients in your career) yet you’re still looking at a schedule that isn’t full each week, chances are that you have some huge holes in your bucket.

At The Smart Chiropractor, we help you plug up those holes by giving you the tools and systems you need to connect with more of your ideal patients, retain them throughout active care, and reactivate them following periods of inactivity.

Not sure how to bring patients back to your chiropractic practice?

The following strategies can help.

We’ve handpicked these 3 specific client retention tips for chiropractors to help set your practice up for long-term growth whether your goal is to grow to sell or grow to, well, grow!

So, let’s get honest and get started.

1. Ditch the “Treat and Release” Model

We firmly believe that no patient should ever leave a visit without scheduling their next visit.

That may sound a bit aggressive for the “treat and release” focused chiropractors, but hear us out.

The key here is that YOU get to decide when the next visit is scheduled based upon your findings and their health goals.

We recommend a monthly cadence and here’s why.

From the moment someone connects with your practice, they’ve started their patient journey with you and can be considered a potential (new), active, or proactive (inactive) patient depending on where they are in their journey.

At The Smart Chiropractor, we refer to new patients as potential patients and inactive patients as proactive patients to better reflect the mindset that should be applied to patients in each of these phases when designing your practice’s client retention strategy.

Infographic Depicting the Patient Journey Tied to The Smart Chiropractor's Client Retention Tips for Chiropractors
Client Retention Tips for Chiropractors: Patient Journey

In other words, you should be prepared to help new patients see the potential in your care in every way possible and to help inactive patients be proactive with their care on top of driving home your value.

Your patients are stressed out – whether it’s from spending long days at the computer, not getting enough daily movement, or eating sub-optimally – and their visit to your practice each month is more than warranted – it’s not a “hard sell.”

Always be authentic, always be providing value, and always be looking for ways to make it easy for clients to say yes!

That may, in fact, be the biggest of our client retention tips for chiropractors.

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Whether you’re guiding at-home exercise, holding them accountable for daily health habits, performing movement assessments, delivering adjustments, or a combination of all of it – make it easy for clients to repeatedly and confidently opt-in for your care.

A monthly check-in is a great way to make the follow-ups easy to remember – and such a system can be easily turned into a monthly membership option for your patients that simplifies their decision and helps you generate recurring revenue as we discuss in our book, The Payday Practice.

The main reason this is the first of the retention tips for chiropractors we’re covering here is because “I’ll call you” or “call me if you need me” is just about the biggest hole you could possibly have in your practice bucket.

And if you think suggesting your patients schedule monthly visits is too aggressive, simply schedule a yearly visit instead.

This should ideally be on the books before the patient leaves your practice.

Your patients are in your practice because they desire your expertise.

You should connect with them each week, highlighting the benefits of chiropractic care.

A Male Chiropractor Starts Recording a Weekly Patient Education Social Media Video After Reading Some Client Retention Tips for Chiropractors
Client Retention Tips for Chiropractors: Care Management and Weekly Connections

Knowing they need to schedule an upcoming appointment can encourage them to get ahead of schedule.

Again, the direct benefit of this for you, the Doc, (as with the rest of the retention tips for chiropractors you’re about to dive into) is that you will improve your patient retention rate.

If you don’t help guide their journey, who will?

That takes us to our next tip…

2. Start Prioritizing Client Feedback

Talk to your patients about what they expect from you as their chiropractor.

Once you’ve recognized their desires and goals as your patient, keep yourself and your team accountable by taking notes and taking steps to improve your service.

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Showing your patients that you care about their experiences is a straightforward way to both show and provide them with even more value on top of your hands-on care.

They’ll recognize your efforts and that you took action with their needs and expectations in mind.

This strategy, in particular, made the short list of our top client retention tips for chiropractors because it can do the double duty of improving your client retention rate and helping you realize smart ways that you can expand your business to meet the needs of your community.

Again – value.

This comes down to ensuring that your practice’s patient journey is dialed in.

Ealier, we touched on the Proactive Phase of the patient journey.

We also touched on the 2 phases of the patient journey that come before the Proactive Phase – the Potential Patient Phase and the Active Patient Phase.

And although reactivation is primarily addressed in the Proactive Patient Phase, the truth is it’s crucial to incorporate our client retention tips for chiropractors at all stages of the patient journey.

A Professionally Dressed Chiropractor Sits Down for a Newly Added 1-on-1 Care Follow Up Session with a Returning Patient He Instituted After Reading Some Client Retention Tips for Chiropractors
Client Retention Tips for Chiropractors: Listen and Support

A practice with great retention (and a consistently full schedule) implements systems and processes that guide patients through each phase of the journey, leaving nothing up to chance.

Like a swan, you may feel like your practice operations are working hard under the water, but on top (to your patients), everything should look elegant and controlled.

When patients feel well supported and heard throughout their patient journey in your practice, they are more likely to refer and stay engaged with your practice.

Ensuring you have a beautiful flow to your patient journey can help dramatically improve your patient retention.

And that takes us to our final tip…

3. Engage for Engagement

As you work on your patient retention marketing strategy and implement our client retention tips for chiropractors, it’s important to remember how important staying top-of-mind with your patients really is.

Don’t let too much time lapse between appointments.

Nearly 90% of marketers use email marketing to nurture audiences.

About 80% of marketers recommend using emails for customer retention as well.

Sending regular helpful emails is a great way to help you remain top-of-mind.

A weekly educational email is a smart way to improve patient retention and drive reactivations.

We should add that when a patient begins care in your practice, we recommend starting them off with a new patient onboarding email drip campaign.

This drip campaign should be designed to help guide your patients through the process of becoming new patients in your practice.

A Sample of a Weekly Educational Email Delivered as Part of a Monthly Drip Campaign Provided to Chiropractors as Part of Our Patient Pilot Email Service
Retention Tips for Chiropractors: Weekly Educational Emails

Welcome them, let them know how to connect with you and your staff, and share any important information they should know about your practice, whether that’s regarding a monthly membership or referral program you’ve started or some other special service you offer your patients.

It’s estimated that up to 25% of patients drop out of care before the end of their active care plan – i.e. the Active Phase of their patient journey.

While “deal shopper” dropouts are almost certainly unavoidable, this can turn into a big problem if not addressed as part of your client retention strategy.

Not only will fewer patients achieve the best results from your care that you know are possible, but you, the doc, will miss out on critical feedback, reviews, and revenue.

Consider this.

Patients often drop out of active care – the Active Phase of the patient journey – because they have questions that have been left unanswered or they don’t understand the value and benefits of the care you are providing.

So, here’s a bonus tip to go with our official list of client retention tips for chiropractors – you need to tell them!

And one of the best and most efficient ways to do this is by sending that information directly to their inboxes as part of a well-constructed and well-thought-out new patient onboarding campaign.

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Email is perhaps the best direct line of communication you have with your patients, and leveraging this open line of communication to both proactively answer their most common questions and to reinforce the benefits of the care you provide is a smart way to improve retention and a big reason why engaging with email tops or list of client retention tips for chiropractors.

The new patient onboarding sequence we provide consists of 7 emails delivered over the first two weeks of care.

Each email focuses on a specific aspect of their onboarding to help guide them through your patient journey to help improve your retention and patient dropout rates.

Once your patients have been onboarded, we recommend sending weekly educational emails to help keep them engaged and keep the benefits of your care top of mind.

Remember this…

Client Retention is Earned by Delivering Value

Developing a proper retention marketing strategy that includes implementing the 3 client retention tips for chiropractors we just covered above will help your practice grow.

With a comprehensive strategy in place, you can both keep existing patients coming back and reach new ones.

A Word About Patient Pilot by The Smart Chiropractor

Our team at The Smart Chiropractor is dedicated to sharing our best retention tips for chiropractors and making patient communication easier for DCs and their staff through free resources like our blog and our subscription-based patient-education-focused marketing materials and services.

That’s where Patient Pilot comes in.

A Showcase of the Different Features Offered to Members of Patient Pilot by The Smart Chiropractor
Chiropractic for Peak Performance: Patient Pilot

Our automated email campaigns were designed to help provide patients with a fantastic experience that, in turn, can help fill the holes in your practice’s patient bucket and generates excellent ROI.

Over the past year, our team of chiropractic marketing geeks at The Smart Chiropractor has worked with over 300 practices and sent over 10 million emails.

There’s one BIG thing we learned from working with practice after practice after practice that we’ve kept in mind as we crafted our recent top 10 list of email marketing best practices…

Too many chiropractors with holes in their schedule form their marketing strategy around the notion that they have a new patient problem.

However, that’s often NOT the case.

Think of it this way…

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When you have holes in your patient bucket, and the faster you dump new patients (water) in the top of the bucket, the quicker it will pour out the sides (retention) and bottom (reactivations) until you seal the holes.

Click here to schedule a demo and see how our Patient Pilot email system and automated email campaigns can transform email marketing in your practice.

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