Business is booming for Martyn and Sarah Walker, but the couple admit it has been bitter-sweet, as they’ve seen first-hand how modern stress impacts the nervous system, resulting in bone and joint misalignment and muscle pain. In recent years, demand for chiropractic services has been so high the couple decided to open a clinic in Bridgend to complement their Porthcawl practice. It was at this point, along with a desperate need to manage their busy diaries and make life easier for their customers, that it occurred to Walker Chiropractic that they could replicate their holistic approach to pain management in their ‘digital practice’. And the results have been just as spinetingling.
Digital has allowed us to solve the problem of time
“We focus on our customers’ health but, like many business owners, forgot to apply the same care to our practice”, says Sarah Walker. “We weren’t unwell exactly, but we were suffering growing pains and wanted to see what we could fix and how.” Digital, the Walker’s discovered, would allow them to solve the problem of time. An online booking system will soon let patients’ book or cancel appointments without waiting to get through to reception. Automated marketing using CRM will keep them engaged and support quick referrals. And digital health records mean less admin and more time for patient care.
We started looking at our business in a holistic way
“We always view our patients’ care in a holistic way, but it hadn’t occurred to us we could do the same with the business,” says Sarah. “We had a number of issues but were looking at each one in isolation. We wanted to continue growing our customer base and stay in touch with our existing customers. But we also wanted to reduce paperwork and make it easier to manage our patients’ records and appointments. And it wasn’t until we met with an adviser from Superfast Business Wales that we were able to use digital to link everything together. The key for us was time.”
Our digital adviser opened my eyes to how we could improve the business
She continues, “We weren’t sure what to tackle first but as we’d just opened a new practice in Bridgend, Facebook seemed an obvious place to advertise. We’d heard Superfast Business Wales was running a social media event, so we booked on and found it very useful, especially for someone my age who wasn’t used to communicating like this. But it was the one-to-one session with a digital business adviser that opened our eyes to how software can save time, provide better customer service, and improve the way you run your business.”
On the surface it’s an online diary but it does so much more
Buoyed with confidence, the firm introduced a bespoke practice management package, Practice Hub, that creates an evolving set of digital health records for the practice’s clients, all immediately accessible, while being stored safely online. “On the surface it’s essentially an online diary that we can remotely access if we’re out of the office. But because all our patients’ records are digitised, we now have useful data, such as patient gender, how many people come through the door and how long they stay for. And soon our patients will be able to use it to book their appointments online,” says Sarah.
We’ve seen a 50% increase in customer enquiries since we started using Facebook
The package is integrated with Active Campaign, a CRM system that Walker Chiropractor now uses to stay in touch with existing customers. And it gives Sarah a better understanding of her customer base so she can use this knowledge to attract more patients. For example, most clinic visitors are digitally savvy, so it made sense to interlink the CRM with the website enquiries and social media feeds. “We wanted to make the most of this, so we brought in outside help to ‘up the ante’ on Facebook and have already seen a 50% increase in customer enquiries in the first couple of weeks.
The beauty of moving to digital is having more time to spend with patients
“The beauty of our CRM and clinic software is that we have more time to spend with patients which is what we’re here to do. We’re not bogged down with writing physical reports and having to look through paper diaries as everything is digital and it all links together. But the biggest benefit for us is customer care is about building long-term relationships. And our systems allow us to access patient files to provide feedback and updates on their care and encourage patients to work with us to maintain their health long after their initial pain has gone,” says Sarah.
It was scary at first, but the new software makes my life so much easier
“We had been wanting to go down the automation route for a while and it started with social media, but after speaking with our adviser it led onto so many other things. It can be scary when you’ve been used to working in a paper-based way, but I’m very pleased with my software; it makes my life so much easier. If like us, you’re not sure which direction to go in, speaking to Superfast Business Wales makes you more aware and highlights what’s out there. Sometimes you just need to sit down with someone outside of the business who can provide impartial advice and that’s exactly what Superfast Business Wales does; the support was so good I just wish we could have a follow up!”