Clarifying chiropractic assistant duties and supercharging performance

By setting goals and chiropractic assistant duties, recognizing wins, and providing support, you’ll create an atmosphere of high performance

Chiropractors can be the most fantastic health care providers in the world, but if their office staff isn’t performing, they will undoubtedly lose patients. Having a strong front office person or team with clear chiropractic assistant duties can make the difference in making or breaking your business.

How can you be proactive and help your chiropractic assistant’s (CA’s) performance? We asked Jeff Langmaid, DC, co-founder of The Smart Chiropractor as well as The Smart Chiropractor podcast, and author of Marketing Chiropractic to Medical Doctors.

Langmaid shared smart tips about many actions you can take. What follows is the interview, edited for length and clarity.

What are some of the easiest and most cost-effective actions that DCs can take to supercharge their CA’s performance right away?

One of the best ways to supercharge your CA’s performance is to establish clear goals and expectations. Does your current CA know, very clearly, what would be a win? If they can’t, in a single sentence, explain the actions they would take to have a high-performance week, then it’s unlikely they will.

Establishing goals and expectations helps to provide a roadmap towards success. If they are answering phones — how many rings should go by? Are they reinforcing the treatment plan and connecting with the patients at a heart-to-heart level during patient care?

Start by evaluating the specific tasks your CAs perform. Then, clearly define how that function should ideally be performed. Establish a checklist of these actions and review it each week with your CA. What gets measured gets managed.

How can chiropractors invest long-term in their CA’s chiropractic assistant duties to improve their interactions with patients?

It’s incredibly important for your CAs to have clear and effective communication with your patients. One great way to invest in your CA’s to improve their efficiency is to invite them to attend seminars with you.

Many seminars have CA-specific tracts and workshops that are specifically designed to improve communication. Seminar weekends can be a great way to help your CAs stay engaged in their chiropractic assistant duties and learn the latest communication struggles — they’re also crucial for team building.

Aside from chiropractic seminars, you can support your CAs with their specific interests and passions. Perhaps you sponsor them to participate in the local Toastmasters or morning networking group. Encourage your team to stretch their comfort zone, support their growth, and incentivize them to do so.

What kind of continuous training should DCs offer to their CAs?

Weekly team training is critical. An excellent CA is not only well-versed in the specific techniques offered in your practice but also has an understanding of the larger health care landscape.

By taking time each week to review your CA’s performance, you have an opportunity to coach and train for improvement. Additionally, weekly training provides a chance to review your wins, get aligned on handling difficult patients, and discuss current health care events that may impact your practice.

Should DCs ask their CAs what they can do to supercharge their performance?

With many things in life, the answer is in the questions. Asking your CAs how you can help them improve and grow should be part of your quarterly team meetings.

Weekly meetings are critical to handle “real-time” challenges and provide timely feedback on performance. But quarterly meetings are an excellent opportunity to ask questions and discover how you can support your team’s growth. Different people have different interests, and understanding your team members’ personal and professional goals can help you support their growth.

How can DCs show CAs that they are valued?

Rewarding your team is critical to foster a culture of success. Many doctors are unable to do this because they haven’t set clear goals. To show your CAs they are valued, the first thing you need to do is establish goals. Once your practice goals are established, you can measure your performance.

All successful teams set goals and consistently track their performance. When a goal is reached, it should be time to celebrate. Keep in mind that not everyone is motivated by money. Showing a CA they are valued can be as simple as recognizing them verbally.

As a leader in your practice, you need to be quick to acknowledge the individual when goals are reached, and if you fall short, analyze the process instead of criticizing the person.

How should DCs challenge their CAs?

Challenging your team is essential to growth. When setting your goals and chiropractic assistant duties, it’s wise to have a three-tiered system. The first level should be the expectation of what you hope to achieve. Your second level is a stretch goal, achievable, but it should take some hard work to get there. Your third level is beyond that; it’s the biggest win you can think of (within reason).

Using this system, you channel your team to stretch, strive, and perform at a higher level. Your first level should be accomplished by doing a great job with the current systems and processes. The second level should only be reached with optimization of those processes. The third level will only be reached by thinking outside the box.

If your goals are set up correctly, you should expect to hit the first tier, occasionally hit the second tier, and rarely hit the third tier. Reaching the third tier consistently means that you’re not reaching high enough.

If your team is struggling even to hit the first tier, then it’s time to evaluate your goals and office procedures.

What are the biggest mistakes chiropractors can make?

The biggest mistakes chiropractors make when supercharging their CA’s performance is thinking it will happen on its own. Creating a successful practice and cultivating a high-performance team requires time, energy, and effort.

Your team needs to understand your practice’s mission; they need to live your core values and be able to identify the practice goals. By setting goals and chiropractic assistant duties, recognizing wins, and providing the support necessary for your team to blossom, you’ll create an atmosphere of high performance.

If you take the steps required to supercharge your CA’s performance and look deeper, you may just notice the side effects of better office vibes, improved patient care, and more revenue.


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