Today’s post is brought to us by Matt Wolach, the Director of Sales for WebPT. Thanks for contributing Matt!
Most are aware of Southwest Airlines’ legendary ability to stay solvent in a fierce industry. Especially remarkable is the company’s ability to stay in business when so many airlines were filing bankruptcies. But few know the secret.
Sure the company’s commitment to customer service and funny flight attendants and pilots are renowned. It doesn’t hurt that Southwest doesn’t turn away customers by charging for extras like checked bags or window seats. All of this helps.
But the reason Southwest continues to thrive, even when charging the consumer less, is that they clearly understand their core business. They are in the business of flying. ‘Well of course,’ you say. Ok, so let’s put it another way.
Southwest knows they only make money when their planes are in the air.
Southwest does not make money when the planes are on the ground. Thus, they do everything they can to shorten the time on the ground as much as possible. This is what’s called a “turn time.’
First, they learned long ago that boarding people by number rather than by seat or row actually allowed people to get on the plane quicker. This prevented bottlenecks, allowed for a shorter turn time and ultimately a faster turn time.
Second, they knew that to be fast on the ground the entire Southwest team needed to work together. They coached teams on ignoring role assignments and improved collaboration. Again, this increased turn time.
Due to these factors, Southwest has the best turn times in the industry. There was even a 10 minute turn in the early Southwest years! Of course, more stringent regulations prevent that now.
So what does all this mean for you?
It means that your clinic needs to focus on what you do. You are a physical therapy clinic. You only make money when you are performing physical therapy.
Time spent faxing patient files, calling patients to remind them of their appointments and looking for charts doesn’t directly make money for your clinic. Finding out which patients haven’t shown up recently, figuring out which notes need to be written, and even time messing with IT equipment are all activities taking you away from your therapy.
Even more time consuming tasks are billing and collections. How much time do you spend on those?
Yes, a front office can do much of those functions. If you could eliminate those tasks, or at least streamline them, you would be able to save money on payroll or have a more efficient team that is more focused on marketing or improving your practice in other ways. Implement the tools necessary to make your practice successful.
You are not an IT person, receptionist, or medical biller. Sometimes it is easy to get lost in your business and forget about why you started this venture in the first place.
Do therapy. That is your expertise. That is how you make money. Get a web-based practice management system to do the rest.