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It's fun to stay at the AFCA
We listen to our readers and business partners at Open for Business magazine. Several have reached out over the past few months to tell us about a business in Grand Island, Nebraska, that seems to have the ‘right adjustment’ when it comes to customer service. After these recommendations, we decided to check it out.
We spoke to Dr. Scott Rief, the owner of Active Family Chiropractic and Acupuncture (AFCA), to find out what his strategy is and why his business has earned such great reviews.
He was excited to visit with us and help us learn more about his business, his team, and his unique model that is focused on building strong patient relationships through engaging customer service and wellness education.
Disruptive business and innovation are key components to progression within an industry and community. According to business research, these “disruptions” are actually improvements to existing products and services that ultimately change the market and competitive landscape.
A disruptive business forces those around them to be better… or not. They change the way the consumer thinks by offering a more desirable product or service. The competition must rise to the occasion by also improving or they risk losing business.
Dr. Rief and his team at AFCA have incorporated this strategy in a variety of ways.
The customer experience
When you think about the “Happiest Place on Earth,” do you think of the chiropractor’s office? If you are a patient at Active Family Chiropractic, it is likely that you do. Dr. Rief has made it his mission to replicate Disney’s® approach and create an experience that brings not only resolutions to patient issues, but the desire to return.
At AFCA, you won’t find the waiting room full of frustrated people in discomfort, often found in medical lobbies. Patients immediately check-in and begin their treatment with a relaxing therapy on one of the roller tables. They are then moved into the room where they can receive electrode treatment to loosen tight muscles and increase nerve response. From that point, a patient moves onto the adjustment portion of their visit. The doctors at AFCA might then work with the patient to provide some education through either rehabilitation exercises, wellness videos or creating a treatment plan.
PHOTO COURTESY: ACTIVE FAMILY CHIROPRACTIC & ACUPUNCTURE
Dr. Rief encourages a fun and positive work environment with his staff. He has grown his business from one employee to approximately 16. In a typical day, patients witness the team high-fiving one another, dancing, and having an overall good time at work. This atmosphere sets the tone Dr. Rief wants in his office.
He works with his team so each member recognizes their purpose in the business, not just the mundane tasks that must be accomplished. He wants each person to see the big picture and how what they do makes a positive impact in the lives of AFCA patients.
“We talk about it a lot [in our office]; having the Disney experience and making sure that people are satisfied,” said Dr. Rief. “One aspect of that is keeping staff happy and engaged. If you truly love your job and have a passion or purpose, that is when customer service is going to be easy.”
AFCA learned early on that in order to attract patients to a business, it is important to get out in the community and talk about chiropractic care. The physical part is only one piece of the entire process. AFCA has practice representatives who partner with existing businesses to offer wellness education through human resource departments and health seminars or classes. They go on-site and offer education and tips for promoting good health and wellness through chiropractic practices.
In the office, patients find several information screens, interactive spine and muscle displays, as well as take-away literature that help patients understand various conditions and treatments. AFCA even has a classroom with a computer that allows patients to view informational clips to help them learn more about their conditions.
Preventative health care approach
Dr. Rief works hard to change the reason for patients’ visits. He understands that often the initial visit is the result of pain. His goal is for his team to work with patients to develop plans for preventing future pain by returning to the office for wellness checks. Together they create goals and benchmarks that are revisited on a regular basis to gauge progress. He wants patients to be involved in their own state of wellness.
"I like the comprehensive plan that is individualized for me at Active Family,” said ACFC patient Jacy Horst. “I don't just go in for an adjustment. A plan of care is designed to meet my health concerns and lifestyle. They listen to me and my concerns and concentrate my care around those things. The [wellness] program has helped improve my overall health for the long term, not just temporarily."
AFCA offers more than simple adjustments. In order to achieve patients’ healthier well being, they have a multitude of services. The office is equipped with a rehabilitation space used to show patients how they can stretch, train and exercise their muscles and joints to prevent injuries and pain.
It is fair to say that AFCA isn’t the typical medical office, nor are their channels of communication. It is refreshing for patients to walk into the office for their appointment and be greeted by first name. The appointment system used at the reception area pulls up the picture and name of the patient at the time of their appointment, ensuring this is possible.
When they arrive, patients are offered green tea in the reception area. These are just a few of the details the AFCA team instills into their daily routine. One purpose of the staff is to send text messages to patients to remind them of their upcoming appointments. The doctors and therapists follow-up with the patients to see how they are doing after adjustments and appointments.
“If you care and love your practice and how you treat people, [employees and patients] recognize that. That’s one thing that the other doctors, staff and myself have— patients know we care. We don’t just show up to go to work. We care. We have a dream and we have a purpose of healing people,” said Dr. Rief.
Dr. Rief began his practice in 2007 in Grand Island. He and his wife chose this community as it is close to home for both of them. He was fresh out of school and had spent some time working with his sister in Lincoln, who is also a chiropractor.
As he began educating people about the importance of chiropractic medicine, he began to increase his patient base and the need for additional doctors in his practice.
He admits this was a challenge for him. However, he soon realized that if he wanted to grow his business, he had to adapt to the growth in a positive way. In 2010, he brought Dr. Gavin Payne aboard and, shortly after, built a new space to house their practice, which was expanding quickly. That expansion included Dr. Christine Rollman in 2012. This has been a great benefit to the practice and patients. AFCA patients now have a choice of three doctors and that has played into the customer service mission as well as the goals of educating patients.
“Once you get over yourself, it is the best thing ever. I think anyone who practices [alone] or has their own business thinks that they are the best at what they do,” said Dr. Rief. “You might think that, but when other people start seeing that doctor and they [prefer] to see that other doctor instead of you, sometimes you have to swallow your pride and realize they are just as good… that is how we can help more people.”
Dr. Rief also focuses on elevating his team and working with them as the business grows. They take company retreats together away from the office to bond and get training that helps make them better at what they do. This is vital for everyone to have that passion and really love what they do on a daily basis.
Dr. Scott Rief and his team is excited about what the future holds for AFCA in Grand Island. He says he never stops working on his business. He enjoys working and practicing chiropractics with his patients, but he knows it is necessary to also work on his business to keep it the best it can be. He continually asks his team if there are any “red flags” that need to be addressed, so they can take care of the issues and improve. He doesn’t believe in luck. He believes in work. He knows that to be successful, it takes determination to make the destiny happen– and a lot of high fives.
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