One key to a successful practice is having an abundance of new patients walking through your door. But, you probably do not want to rack up a heavy advertising budget that could eat away all your hard-earned profits.
The answer, however, is right inside your practice. Namely, word of mouth from your already existing clientele.
Patients who are extremely happy and enthusiastic about the service they receive from you and your staff will readily refer family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. You would be amazed at how willing an enthusiastic patient is to have others experience the same level of care that they themselves have received. They will of out of their way to get someone else to come to you because your team delivers fantastic service and results.
Contrary to popular belief, satisfied patients do not refer. Patients enthusiastic about your service do refer. For example: You’re hungry, in a hurry and don’t have much money. You might run out to a fast-food joint. Soon, you are no longer hungry and it didn’t cost you an arm and a leg. All your criteria have been met and you are satisfied, right?
Now, the opposite scenario. You go to an upscale restaurant where it’s very expensive, takes several hours to eat, you eat everything because it is so delicious, and then you leave the restaurant with a bit of pain. So, if a friend asks you for the name of an excellent restaurant where they really take care of you and where is will have a great experience, which restaurant are you going to refer them to?
Probably the second. Why? Because you are enthusiastic about the ambiance, top-level service and care even though it cost a lot, took longer and you hurt!
Do you want your practice to be like a fast-food restaurant or a class act? If the answer is a class act, remember this: when referrals are not coming in the door in sufficient quantity, focus on improving service and this, in turn , will increase the number of enthusiastic patients leaving your practice.
Here are some of the ways to improve the service and care levels in your practice:
- Be sure to book your appoints in such a way that you can run on time. This is a courtesy point and impresses patients, even though they sometimes run late themselves.
- Send a thank you card to any patient that refers someone to you. This says that you appreciate their help and encourages further referrals. Send a small gift of appreciation such as tickets to the local cinema or a Starbucks $5 gift coupon.
- Manners are a key point in healthcare practice or any other kind of business. From the front desk staff, to the denturist and even the lab technician. Patients respect those who treat them with respect and good manners.
- Care about your patients. If you really don’t care for them, you shouldn’t be treating them. Find something about them that you like and focus on that. If you are short on caring, they will do the same to you.
- Give them the best quality denture for their money. Educate them so they want the best. When they have gone ahead with the ideal, they are much more likely to refer others to you.
- Have a mission statement for the practice so that staff and yourself are on the same page with regard to quality of care and service to the patients. Focus on it until it becomes habit.
- Get the patient to put down a 50% deposit at the time of the taking of impressions. Then have them pay the balance on the try-in appointment. That way, the last visit when they finally go home with their dentures it is a more positive experience, as there is no discussion of money. Make delivery day a big deal.
- Do follow up call four weeks after insertion to ensure that all is well. Not all patients who are having difficulties will call you. This is show that you care about their well-being.
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