In the first place, the sole source of income for your practice is from patients or clients you provided service to. If they are happy enough, they will not only pay you but may even bring you cookies or chickens, etc. (I have heard the cutest stories on this.) But, even better than that, they will come back for more service and, if they are incredibly happy, they will refer their friends and acquaintances to you. And I am VERY sure that you already have some patients who do all that!!
Therefore, if you would like to expand your practice, it never hurts to ask yourself this question: “How do I get EVEN MORE of my patients to come back to me and also to refer more people to me?” Here are 5 ways to make a lasting impression on your patients and fill up your practice with referrals:
The Golden Rule:
Treat your patients the way YOU would like to be treated.
Have you ever gone to a healthcare practice as a patient where you have been treated like a VIP from beginning to end? If you haven’t, then think of things that have happened to you on the negative side that you would want to make sure NEVER happen to YOUR patients, and what you can do on the positive side of it.
The First Impression is NOT your Reception
The first impression these days is created by your website and Facebook page. Most patients or clients will look you up online before making an appointment for the first time.
So be sure that you have a good website, with less words and more pictures. Keep in mind that the purpose of the website is to make people love you and your practice. Boring them to death with a lot of narrative about where you went to school and so on is not going to enhance their idea of you. Photos of you and your family (and grandchildren if you have some) are always heartwarming.
On your front page, you should have a nice short 1-2 minute video with a good cell phone camera, of you in upscale dress (not in your PPE for this particular video), in an uncluttered reception area talking about your practice and your mission or passion to give people awesome service. (Choose your own wording.)
Also, this is a place to have a few extremely happy, well-spoken patients do a testimonial, either in writing with their picture (finished product ONLY) or, even better, a short 15 second video. They can sign a waiver giving you permission to publish.
The second impression on your existing patients and potential new patient IS your receptionist because how the phone is answered, and the warmth and sincerity of the dialogue is definitely a make/break point in the service level of your practice and how full your schedule will be. Also, try to never let phone calls go to Voice Mail during the open hours of your practice. If a potential new patient hits the VM, they may just dial the next provider on their list and you just lost a life-long new patient.
A great first visit for a new patient is super important for long term relationship building. Always see a new patient within 48 hours of initial contact is an important rule (keep a daily opening in your schedule for this purpose). When they arrive on time, be sure to see them on time. You can even send them a short 15-second video by text or email the night before their first appointment introducing yourself and letting them know that you are looking forward to meeting them and taking care of them. When they come in, greet the patient like you are excited to see and meet them, and make them feel welcome and at home.
Your patients share personal life information with you, like their grandson is graduating next week or their daughter is getting married in 2 months, and so on. Because you have so many patients and you would have to be a super-genius to remember all those personal touch details when they come back for their next appointment, it is a great system to store those snippets of info in the patient’s chart in the computer or in the hard copy file. Make a habit to check those and refresh your memory before you see each patient so that you can ask the patient about them. Show you care – they will appreciate it.
When a patient has received a somewhat major treatment, you should do a quick follow up call just to check and see if everything is okay. A new way to do this is to text or email a 10 second video of you saying you loved seeing them today and hope that they are doing fine and if not, please call me at this number. A little extra care goes a LONG way.
Implement all these ideas for lasting impressions and fill up your practice!