The best traditional marketing for your healthcare practice is virtually free. Referrals, nonetheless, are invaluable.
Referrals help to attract new patients, boost your bottom line, increase brand awareness, and allow your practice to grow and thrive. So when you create a network of happy patients by providing excellent customer service and creating a pleasant experience, they’ll return the favor by recommending you to their family and friends.
Is anything more impactful than patient referrals? Physician referrals.
Physician referrals are a vital part of growing your practice and increasing revenue. Think about it: Who do patients trust more than a family member or friend? When it comes to their health—a trusted doctor.
You may be doing your part by referring patients to other physicians, but that doesn’t mean they’ll return the favor. You’ll have to do a bit of work to increase referrals:
- Do some research. Ask patients to say who referred them so you can follow up with the referring physician, especially if this is the first you’ve heard of him or her. Say thank you and share any treatment plan information.
- Contact and welcome any new providers in the area. A phone call or letter of introduction with your contact details will establish great rapport. You can also offer to serve as a resource if questions or concerns arise.
- Share your info with referring practices. If you know a practice refers patients to you, make it easy for those patients to follow through on the recommendation. Leave your business cards or flyers with the referring office’s front desk and ask them to give them out when relevant. Thank them for taking this extra step for you and ask if your practice might do the same for them.
- Be available. Make sure it’s easy for referred patients to make an appointment with you. If necessary, consider leaving slots open for them. After all, their experience will affect the referring physician’s view of how recommendable you are.
- Be easy to find online. You’ll want a clean, organized website that shows up at the top search results and makes your information easy to find. Clearly display your address, phone number, and how referred patients can make an appointment.
- Keep communication lines open. Communicate often with referring physicians to discuss patient-related issues. This will improve the quality of patient care and support your relationship with the referring doctors.
- Meet your referrers: When you’re looking to increase your referrals, a face-to-face meeting with the referring physician can enhance your relationship. It’s also a great idea to network and maintain good relationships with the referring physician’s staff.
- Continuously reevaluate your referral relationships. A warm, welcoming practice that was on the cutting-edge 5 years ago might not be the same practice today. Be aware of changes that occur in referring practices so you can confidently send your patients there. When a patient is satisfied with your recommendation, you’ll reap the rewards of quality care and customer service as well.
Creating a solid referral network can take time, and you probably won’t see results right away. It’s worth the wait, though—the outcome could mean a boost in patient loyalty and in profits.
To Learn more about growing your medical practice through feedback and referrals, pick up your copy of the Practice Marketing Sourcebook.