Clear Vision’s own statistics highlight that patient recommendations remained the biggest source of new patients for UK dentists in 2013.
The dental businesses which are thriving continue to focus on this key source of growth.
How to provide your patients with an exquisite service and memorable moments which they will want to share was covered in my last marketing blog.
So let’s assume you have patients who have positive remarks to make about your dental practice and go on to the next step…
How do you move the process along from simply having delighted patients, to enjoying a rich stream of new patients recommended by them?
Some patients will go ahead and recommend you of course. When you provide patients with a positive and remarkable experience, positive remarks will be made.
But it pays you not to leave it to chance. You can and should drive the process if you are serious about practice growth.
You will maximise the number of patient recommendations you get when you play a consistent and persistent ‘numbers game’. And in order to be consistent and persistent you need SYSTEMS. In this case, systems which:
• TELL THEM THEY CAN RECOMMEND YOU
• ASK THEM TO RECOMMEND YOU
• MAKE IT EASY FOR THEM TO RECOMMEND YOU
Some patients won’t automatically assume they can recommend you. So consider how you can tell them they can do so.
• Include a reminder on your website
• Include a reminder in your patient newsletter
• Display upbeat notices about recommending you around your practice
There are other places and opportunities for you to simply let them know they are welcome to recommend you. Just make sure you do this, so they know they can.
Actually asking them to recommend you is vital. So consider the appropriate moments to do so…
• When you have completed a course of treatment
• When you have made a difference and can share good news about the improvement of their gum health
• When they recognise your efforts to provide a memorable moment for them
The list goes on…
Then decide who will do the asking and agree how they will do it. Issuing patients with an ‘invitation’ to recommend you can work as it tends to make them feel special when done well.
I appreciate making these requests doesn’t come easily to some. So practice and test how you do it. Role play can help too, before you ‘go live’. You can also ask a professional trainer to help you – just don’t underestimate the important of making this work for your practice!
And lastly make it easy for patients to do so.
Give them a small supply of your business cards if it’s all you’ve got (don’t just give them one, give them three or however many they want, you’re playing a numbers game remember).
Better still, create a ‘recommendation’ or ‘invitation’ card which is unique to your practice and pass it out to patients.
You need to record when you’ve asked a patient and pass on your cards of course, to make sure you don’t do it too often and damage the great experience you provide.
Plus when patients recommend you and provide new patients coming through the door, you need to thank them. This involves the creation of another great system. And provides another great opportunity for a memorable moment…
Do you have a query or are you making progress with your patient recommendations? Please share your comments and insights below!
Need my advice on your practice marketing? You’ve got it! Just email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me on 01249 712074. I’ll gladly have an informal, no obligation chat with you.