Patient referrals are a keystone in any practice marketing strategy for continuing to build your client base and the revenue that comes with it. Word of mouth marketing is more important than ever. With social media, websites, and review sites available to nearly every one of your patients, the opportunity for patients to sing your praises and refer friends and family to you is greater than ever. Of course, so is the opportunity for them air their grievances and leave a piece of their mind for others to see.
To ensure you’re getting the best possible marketing for your practice, and the best chance of garnering patient referrals, consider the five following areas as your checklist of do’s and don’ts for referral building for your practice.
DON’T Treat Your Staff Rudely: Treating your staff like the professionals you want them to be shows your patients that you run a top-notch practice that their friends and family will appreciate coming to. If it’s necessary to correct a staff member, do so with polite consideration, or move the discussion to a private area away from patients.
DO Communicate and Provide Follow-Up: If a current patient refers a family member or friend to your practice, take the time to say thank you and let them know you appreciate the esteem and trust they’ve placed in you. If you recognize patient referrals in your newsletter, you should still take a moment to call and thank the referring patient as well.
DON’T Brag or Show Off Your Wealth: Discussions with your staff or colleagues about your new boat or your trip to the Cayman Islands is inappropriate in your practice. The patient who had to take time off work to wait 30 minutes in your lobby will likely find those discussions to be insulting and will not be likely to refer others to your practice.
DO Train Front Desk Staff on Courtesy and Customer Service: Your front desk staff is your first impression to a new patient. If that first impression on a referral is negative, it’s likely that they won’t continue care with your office and will look elsewhere instead. It’s often argued that the first impression is the only impression, so be sure that your front office staff gives your patients a friendly and sincere welcome and makes the initial visit as comfortable as possible.
DO Ask Your Patients for Referrals: Many patients don’t think about referring someone they know to their healthcare provider for a number of reasons. They may not know you’re looking for new patients, or they may not think it’s acceptable for them to recommend you to their relatives and friends. When you talk openly with your patients about referrals, they have the necessary information to help you out when someone they know is seeking quality care.
These few, simple steps are the foundation to encouraging your existing patients to help you build your practice through patient referrals. For more information on patient referrals and engagement, click here!