When one of your patients or clients takes their time and effort to talk it up about you and your practice to a friend, co-worker, neighbour or family member and sends them your way, showing your appreciation is just plain good manners.
However, HOW to do this is a controversial topic and there are a million opinions and variations on how to appropriate acknowledge the thoughtfulness and kindness of your patient or client.
Why Is It Important?
Almost one for one, most practitioners agree that their best quality new patients or clients come by way of referrals. And typically your favourite patients or clients refer others who are their friends therefore similar to them. As a side bonus, it is also the cheapest method of marketing.
Have you ever had a patient or client ask you if you are accepting new patients? If the answer is “yes” (and a shocking number of professionals do answer “yes”), then whatever you are doing to encourage referrals is not being effective, e.g. signage, handing out business cards, asking for referrals. It is surprising how many people do not even know you are accepting new patients. And many do not even think about referring unless you introduce the idea to them in some fashion.
Further, for the ones that do actually refer, you want to do anything and everything you possibly can to encourage them to continue to do so.
How to Say “Thank You for Your Referral”
A thank you card is the very minimum you should do. If allowed by your regulatory bodies, it is a nice gesture to include a small Tim Horton’s card or Starbucks card, etc. etc. Most professionals are doing this irregardless because it is a thoughtful gesture.
Make the Thank You card special and personal. You can design your own or buy nice ones from Staples. You don’t have to pay a fortune for the card as what is in it is the most important part … staff’s signatures, handwritten note, etc.
Skipping the card, which is immediate acknowledgement, and instead giving the person free service or free product the next time they come in is too late usually. Instant gratification is the watchword in today’s society. And everyone loves a gift, no matter how small.
Personal Thank You
Additionally, you should make a notation in the patient or client’s chart and thank him or her personally when they come into the practice the next time. Saying thank you is very easy to do!
Signage in Your Practice
You should have an attractive, eye catching sign saying “We love it when you refer your friends and family to us!” or “Yes, please DO refer your friends and family to us!” or something along that line. Make it EYE CATCHING and large enough to be noticed because many of these signs in practices are so insignificant that they don’t make an impact and so nobody notices them.
Return the Favour
Obviously, when a patient or client refers someone to you, it means that they have appreciated the service you gave them. Therefore, letting them know that you appreciate the returned favour is mandatory!
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