In today’s competitive healthcare environment, it is important to have a strong patient referral base. As a healthcare provider, you are probably aware of how powerful referrals can be for generating new patients and growing your practice.
When done right, a patient referral program can add years of income to your practice. Let’s take a look at some of the best practices your office should maintain to get new patients through the door.
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Build a strong relationship with referring practices
Professional referrals are the lifeblood of every healthcare organization. Building and nurturing those relationships is essential for bringing in new patients.
Always keep the communication lines open with the referring practice and let them know what steps you will take to address the patient’s condition. Email them, call them from time to time, or arrange lunch appointments with them. Quick updates to the referring physician about the condition and progress of the patient tells them that you are committed to patient care.
Don’t forget to thank anyone who refers a patient to your practice. This will motivate your colleague to refer you more often.
Improve customer experience
Not all referrals come from other practices. Happy patients are more likely to give you good feedback as well as refer you to their family and friends.
To create a memorable experience, it’s important to get your internal house in order so it’s ready to welcome new patients to the practice. You want to ensure that patients feel comfortable and cared for, both in the reception area and exam room. You and your staff should pay close attention to the concerns and queries of your patients and make sure that they are cared for.
A percentage of your new patients should come from referrals by existing patients. If not, then you may need to address your customer service policies. Remember, unhappy patients won’t refer you to their family and friends. Worse, they’ll tell them to stay away.
Reach out on social media
Many patients turn to social networking sites to establish an ongoing relationship with their primary care physician.
The point of social media is to effectively reach your target audience and connect with them. It gives you a tremendous opportunity to interact with patients in ways that are not possible during appointments and consultations. This is your chance to talk to them and have a friendly relation with them.
Promote engagement by starting conversations on various health topics, providing healthcare tips, and alerting patients to new services and discounts you offer. Sharing your blog posts on social media is a great way to provide valuable healthcare information while driving patients to your website to learn more.
When done right, social media marketing can help you enhance your online reputation, solidify your brand, and bolster your authority among patients.
Be a thought leader
Most doctors go into medicine to help patients, not bask in the spotlight. But there is no denying that being a thought leader can help you attract new patients.
Being a thought leader in the healthcare industry requires lots of knowledge, effort, time, and desire to impact change. To achieve this status, you need to make your expertise and ideas known.
Write blog posts that are relevant to your practice, but don’t just write just to have content out there. Make sure that you produce quality content. But it shouldn’t stop at blogging. You can educate existing and potential patients on your healthcare practice by creating videos, podcasts, and newsletters. You can also offer speaking engagements at local hospitals.
Have a web presence
Many healthcare professionals feel as though their practice should be able to thrive on its own through referrals. But given the certainty of change in healthcare, it is important for healthcare providers to have a strong online presence.
Many patients will go online to acquaint themselves with the practice prior to making an appointment. Making a good first impression starts with a well-designed, patient-friendly website. Not only will it give potential patients an easy way to get to know you, but it also makes your practice look and feels engaging.
By having your credentials, education, services, and procedures on your website, you can help instill a sense of trust in your future patients.
Get more mileage from patient testimonials
Patients want to make sure that they receive care from the best doctors in their field. Testimonials can help build trust in your practice and offer validation for the quality of your services.
Tell your patients’ success stories in a way that people will take notice. Quotes and written testimonials can be powerful marketing tools, but videos can bring testimonials to life.
Short two-minute video testimonials will capture the attention of potential patients and drive more patients through the door. To get higher-impact testimonials, you can guide patients by asking leading questions. If you are an eye doctor, you may ask questions like “How has LASIK impacted your life?” or “Are you happy with the results?”