How is it that other doctors get patients seemingly without effort while others struggle? How can you get more patients?
The combination of decreased reimbursement from insurance companies and more competition make it increasingly challenging to keep existing clients or patients, get new ones while being profitable.
Before creating a strategy for acquiring new patients, let’s look at what you are doing with existing patients.
In sales there are 3 fundamentals:
- Go after the low hanging fruit (existing patients).
- Apply the 80/20 rule – 20% of your patients are 80% of your business.
- Focus while keeping it simple.
Existing patients are the foundation of your practice and will help you get new patients. These are people who have already provided you with a phone number and email address. Examine and analyze what you are doing now and implementing systems that provide the best possible services and patient care, will help you get new patients in the future.
Last summer I had more procedures in a 3-month period than I have had in the last 10 years combined. I saw my regular doctor, surgeon, other surgeon, dentist, periodontist, several labs and our veterinarian. All of these required multiple visits.
I saw this as a rare opportunity shop my own doctors and discover what they are doing well in order to help my own client doctors improve customer service and get more patients.
6 things you can do now to get more patients without a digital marketing agency.
1. Follow Up: How are you processing patients as they are being seen? Is this being done efficiently? Are you capturing the attention of your existing patients while they are in your office? Do you use email marketing?
During my study that included 8 different healthcare professionals, the best tactic that most professionals did was follow up. This is especially important after surgery or an aesthetic treatment such as lip filler. Checking on your patient even if you know they are happy shows that you care and are available to address any concerns. The person that followed up with me was either the doctor themselves or the nurse. The doctors also provided me with their cell phone numbers and let me know where they would be if I needed them. In one case the doctor was going to Florida the day after my surgery and wanted to make sure I had a way to reach him. Coming from someone who has worked with doctors for 20 year, this was impressive.
What does following up accomplish? It turns a stressful and likely unpleasant experience into a positive.
For example: Nobody likes to go to the dentist. Especially the dog. In order to make an unpleasant experience comfortable both my veterinarian and dentist called me to see how my dog and I were doing. This reassurance eliminated fears and anxiety and provided a contact if anything went wrong.
Follow up is how you can get more positive reviews and referrals.
2. Call backs: What I mean by call backs is the process of reviewing patient records and identifying who is due for their next treatment or annual exam.
Your staff should be doing this automatically. The feedback I am getting from various doctors is that this is the quickest way to book appointments and increase revenue.
3. Schedule your client or patients next appointment before they leave.
This step is often over looked. It may not be the doctor who forgets, its usually the staff. When running behind schedule and staff is stressed scheduling your patients next appointment doesn’t get done. The reality is that by scheduling the next appointment your staff is saving time. If you are the provider, after each client or patients appointment, walk them to the front desk and kindly say “Jane Patient needs to schedule a follow up visit in 2 weeks”. If your nurse or MA schedules the follow up remind them that Jane Patient needs to schedule her next visit in 3 weeks. All of the professionals I saw did this.
4. Get positive reviews. When a patient or client has a great experience kindly ask them for a review. Take it is far as handing them a card instructing them how and what platforms to review you. You can also have an iPad or laptop in your office already prompted for patients to write a review before leaving your office. The more positive reviews the more likely new patients or clients will choose you.
5. Social Media Marketing. I know what you are going to say. It doesn’t get me business. As a doctor, healthcare or beauty professional, no matter how patients heard about you they will check out your online reputation including social media to find out more about you.
Use social media for what it is meant for
--- being social.
Allow people to get to know, like and trust you. Provide high value and relevant content. Share your blog posts, products or services, staff, new locations, events, business hours, holidays, how to videos, demonstrations, surgeries, etc.
Example: One doctor shared on Instagram stories how he went to work during a snow storm the night before surgery in order to see how long it would take to get there in the morning (seattlesnowpocalypse). This video was creative, relevant, informational and demonstrative.
Check out your top competitors and see what they are doing on social media.
6. Improve your online presence and digital marketing. The next step is to review your online presence and create a digital marketing strategy. Our next post explains how.
Doing things just a better or more efficiently will help you schedule more clients or patients, retain existing and increase revenue. The changes in the healthcare industry make it increasingly difficult to run a successful business. The small details can be the difference between being successful and profitable or closing your clinic.
Next post – How to get more clients or patients using digital marketing strategies.