Everyone looks for the magic bullet that will act like a magnet to draw new patients into your practice in droves. There are tons of false promises out in the market place selling you on this and promoting that as “the most outrageously successful marketing tool” to date. You sometimes buy in, and almost as often, you regret it.
So what is the REAL secret?
What is the REAL secret to attracting new patients to your practice? Get ready. You are going to reject this concept at first glance and think that it is too simple.
So here it is: The most basic and most workable marketing tool of all is delivering the highest quality service possible and with a care level that exceeds the patient’s or client’s expectations. Word of mouth and referrals result.
There is no substitute for good, honest delivery above and beyond what the patient or client expected. This sounds simple but it has been proven time and time again in all the most successful practices in Canada. They are over the top on high quality delivery and really, truly caring about each patient or client.
A Completely Different Perspective
Rarely does a practitioner look at what percentage of his patients or clients actually refer anyone to the practice. What may appear to be a healthy number of new patients may in fact represent a very small percentage of the active patients or clients. For instance, if your practice is getting 10 new patients per week, that would represent 500 new patients per year and your active patient base is 15,000, that means that only 3% of your patients or clients are referring.
The answer then is to focus on improving the service to the other 97% of your patients should they too will begin referring.
What creates referrals?
Let’s take it out of a practice setting so you can look at it with different eyes:
What if you walked into a car dealership to buy a new car and the salesperson came over and pointed out different cars to you in the showroom and then left you to just look at them with no additional help. After a few minutes, you might walk out in disgust and go to a different dealership where you hope that you will get better service.
The next one is the opposite … a wonderfully friendly sales person comes over and asks what you are interested in and what your expectations are for the car. He really listens and then demonstrates a couple of vehicles he feels would fit your needs. Then he takes you out for a test drive for both cars. You fall in love with one of them, he does the paperwork, and voila, you now have a car that is perfectly suited to you. A couple days later, he calls you to ensure that you are doing fine with your new vehicle and answers any questions. The dealership keeps track of your oil change and service dates and contacts you to bring your car in for the TLC it needs.
It is probably a good guess that you would be likely to refer friends, family, neighbours and co-workers to your dealership because you would want them to experience the same great relationship and service.
Word of Mouth
Most practitioners will say that word of mouth is their favourite way to attract new patients to the practice. If you are not getting a ton of referrals, then perhaps it is time to look at your practice with a magnifying glass and from a patient’s or client’s point of view. Be brutally honest and really look. What aspects of the practice could enjoy a posh up on service and an increase of genuine care and interest in the patients? From the front desk to the back, there are many points where the patient interaction could probably be improved.
Caring is the watchword that cannot be emphasized enough. Look for ways to give more care to a patient or client than they expected. Real caring cannot be faked so sometimes you have to dig a bit deeper with certain patients to find it in you to care about them. Not every one is going to be your social cup of tea. But as a patient, you owe it to them to give them the very best service and care that you can.
Yes, you should still do other marketing, like websites, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, newsletters, etc. etc. and thereby attract even more new patients or clients. BUT, superlative delivery and care levels are what are going to keep even those patients coming back and referring as well.
Have a staff meeting and brainstorm some new ways to super impress your patients or clients and then implement them. Have some fun with this!