Oldie but goodie! This post was originally published in July 2015 and updated in September 2017 as part of an on-going series highlighting popular past posts.
Building your patient relationships is more than just making sure you put on a friendly face every time your patients are in for their care appointments. It requires a consistent investment of time and attention throughout the continuum of care. It goes without saying that the stronger your patient relationships are and the higher the level of overall patient satisfaction is, the more likely it is that your patient retention percentages will improve.
Your patients keep coming back because they trust you, so you are doing something right. Making sure you are reaching out to them, not only to remind them of their upcoming appointment, but also other times and in other ways throughout the year makes your patients feel like more than just a patient–perhaps more like a part of your practice family.
When you care about somebody, you invest time into that relationship. You call or text them, send them an email periodically sharing updates about your family and other areas of your life to let them know you are thinking about them and to feel more connected to them. You probably also reach out at other appropriate times which call for congratulations, condolences, etc. This effort reassures them that you care.
It makes sense that the efforts you go to, to deepen the meaningful relationships in your life, would likely produce similar results if incorporated into your patient relationships. Here are some ways you let your patients know you care:
1. Send appointment reminders to make sure they don’t forget or show up late to their appointment. Your patients will appreciate this, especially if your schedule is typically booked out a few weeks. (Fewer no-shows will be your benefit.)
2. Follow up their visit by sending a quick text message to say, “Thank you for coming in. We appreciate you!” When appropriate, a follow up to see how they are doing or if they have any questions lets them know they are on your mind and that you care.
3. Sending a monthly patient newsletter to keep your patients up-to-date with industry news, especially as it specifically pertains to their health, is another way to show your concern for their well-being.
4. Use automated patient surveys to find out your level of patient satisfaction and more about each patient’s experience. Thoughtfully consider the feedback given and thank your patients for expressing their opinion. (You could send them a coupon or small gift to say thank you!)
5. Don’t forget to wish your patients a happy birthday! Birthday messaging is a simple way to show your patients you remembered them and is also a great marketing tool!
There are many proactive and consistent approaches you can take and efforts you can make to effectively build patient loyalty and improve your patient retention. Get together with your staff to come up with a strategy that everyone is on board with so that each staff member is aware of how to do their part to ensure a positive patient experience every time. Just remember, it’s the little things that count!
Done your work? Got happy patients? Here are some tips to get them to leave reviews online.