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Internal Marketing, Unleash The Power Withing

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Foreword

On Internal Marketing

Is Marketing Making You Crazy?

Who’s in Charge of Marketing?

Low Cost or No Cost Marketing…

 

On the Image of your Practice

Image, Image, Image

Smile…

A Calm Environnent

Show You Care

The Face of Your Practice

 

On Creating a Personal Touch

From Good to Great

Taking Things Up a Notch

Empathy: The Heart of Your Practice

 

On Building Up Patient Referrals

Client Loyalty – Stick in Their Mind

How to Increase Patient Referrals

How to Increase Your New Patient Numbers

Foreword

 

Throughout the years, Janice Wheeler, President of The Art Of Management Inc., has written with uncanny insight, about the very real problems practice owners face today.

Under the guise of “quick tips”, these pearls of wisdom have been issued to practice owners to help them deal with the situations they face. Many practitioners have kept these weekly articles and are using the information contained in them to bring sanity and focus to the management of their practice.

More than a few have commented that, truly, these have helped them change the way they view and actually manage their practice.

It is our hope that some of these articles ring true for you and offer workable solutions that will help you bring success to your practice!

The Team at The Art Of Management Inc.

 

 

 

 

Is Marketing Driving You Crazy?

Marketing, marketing, marketing. Once upon a time, you just had to rent a space (oops, marketing), put a sign out front so people knew you were there (oops, more marketing), and you would attract patients or clients who would then tell others about you (oops, even more marketing), and your practice would fill up.

Hmmm…. It’s always been about marketing then, hasn’t it? However, times and methods and quantity of marketing required to compete for the public’s business has evolved and so you need to be at the head of the class in this subject in order to have a top practice.

What is marketing? It is making yourself and your practice known to potential patients or clients and giving them a reason to choose you over other options available to them.

And there are endless ways to do so. With the internet, the whole world can see you if you are present there. However, don’t leave out the myriad of other ways to market.

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First rule

Almost any marketing method is better than no marketing at all. However, there are things that work much better than others and will make the public think WELL of you and WANT you as their healthcare provider.

Second rule

Decide on your target market. What kind of patients or clients do you want to attract? If kids are not it, don’t have pictures of kids in your messages. If seniors are it, then have pictures of seniors. (For vets, most of you do this very well with logos or pictures that show what animals you treat.)

Third rule

Look different – you’re competing for attention. Receiving a shiny postcard in the mailbox at home has become quite a common sight. But they all look the same and say the same thing. What if you did something a little different? Watch for promo pieces you receive in your mailbox that catch your eye and compel you to read them to see what it’s about. Save these in a file and next time you get a flier designed, show your designer what you like best about each piece so he or she can combine the ideas into a piece that is uniquely yours. The same applies to websites, Facebook pages, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and so on. Surf the web frequently to look at other providers’ sites. There are blow-away websites there that will inspire you. Keep a list of these and show your web designer what you particularly like in each one.

Fourth rule

Say something different. Ask and talk about the prospect’s needs. A list of services that your practice offers is boring and does not impinge on the reader. Asking questions about the prospect’s health or issues will engage them by making them think in the direction you want them to.

Fifth rule

Don’t waste your marketing efforts. Almost every marketing action you take drives the potential patient or client to your Receptionist with questions, which, if properly handled, will result in a new patient. (These calls are not from people who are sitting at home dialing healthcare practices because they have nothing better to do. They have a need.) While some Receptionists are highly expert at converting this “reach” into your practice into a new patient or client, most have little to no training in how to handle “shoppers” (but try their best). Most practices lose 2 – 5 potential new patients per week because of this point. Sales training for them is essential if you don’t want to waste your marketing dollars and time. (Our Sales Workshop spends some time helping them learn this skill.)

So there you go – use these rules well and fill up your practice with patients you love to treat!

 

Who’s In Charge Of Marketing?

With each healthcare professional I meet one-on-one for the free practice analysis we offer, one of the many questions I always ask is: “Who’s in charge of your marketing?”

Over the last 25 years, I have gotten quite a variety of answers:

☼     What marketing?
☼     Nobody!
☼     We don’t do marketing in our practice – all our new patients are from word of mouth (that’s because they don’t do any other marketing).
☼     Me?

The next question I ask is: “[*Do you have a written, organized Marketing Plan?” *] The answer has been resoundingly “no.”  The next question is: “Is it because you don’t think one is necessary or is it because you don’t know how to do one?”  The answer is usually the latter.

The point is:  If you want a lot of new patients coming in the front door, you need to market (in addition to increasing the word of mouth by your patients, of course).  You have to make yourself known and chosen by all the right people.  This is called Target Marketing.

Don’t subscribe to the theory that “if you build it, they will come.”  That is passive marketing and it is a slowwww way of growing (at best). Pro-active marketing is the way to go, whether by fliers, open houses, fun events, giveaways, sponsoring teams, social media marketing, websites and other Google marketing methods, YouTube videos, podcasts, email newsletters once a month to your patients, etc. etc. etc.

There is absolutely no shortage of cheap and easy marketing methods.  The main thing is to decide who is in charge of your marketing and then get a written marketing plan in place and START.  If your marketing is not driving the New Patient numbers up, change it up and try again.  Don’t relax on this.

Low Cost or No Cost Marketing

Want more new patients but don’t want to spend a fortune on marketing? Why should you when there is so many brilliant, free and easy ways to go about it?

Our team spent 1-1/2 hours one morning last week putting our heads together to come up with a list of inside out marketing ideas for ourselves and for you … there are many, many free or low cost internal marketing methods that can be done from within the practice. We filled 1-1/3 typewritten pages with ideas and then farmed out the first few ideas to specific individuals according to their interest and/or skill set and there is one person delegated to follow up that each thing gets done.

Here are a few of the ideas, and you can probably use some of them in your own practice as well. These are not in any order of priority or significance:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Learn how to do posts on Twitter and set up a Twitter account and get going – one staff member will maintain this and the rule is to keep them short and business related and positive.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Have different staff do short podcasts on various topics to do with your practice and put them on website, Facebook, etc.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Have staff do a testimonial of why it is rewarding working in your practice and post on Facebook, website, Twitter, and so on.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Make a Google Plus page on your website and each week ask a few of your patients or clients to post on it why they like your service and practice.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Have a “Company Press” blog on your website with the latest news about the practice or the staff (i.e. who’s pregnant, getting married, got a new puppy (picture please), went on an interesting trip (pictures please) etc. Makes patients feel included in your business.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Make an introductory video for your practice – put on Facebook, website, LinkedIn etc. Staff can do it and feature the doctor in one part.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Make a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page for your website.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Make a bunch of YouTube videos about topics that patients want to know about your type of service

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Have a Q & A page on your Facebook

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Write short articles (in layman language) and get them posted on various blog sites, Facebook, website, etc.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Ask patients/clients to link with you on LinkedIn.

Those ideas are just to name a few!!! You can probably come up with many more if you and your team put your heads together.

The main trick is to not overwhelm yourselves with too many ideas. Just take a couple and GET THEM DONE. Have someone in charge of the completion of the targets and dates set by which each one will be done. Most of them are fairly quick to set up. Then they just need to be maintained.

Once the first couple are done or in “maintain mode”, take the next few ideas and get going on those.

Remember: You can make tomorrow even better than today!

Image, Image, Image

Want to have more new patients walking in your front door? Maybe you need to improve your front door! One of the easiest ways to increase new patient numbers is to update the image your practice projects.

Many practices, having been around for a while, get a sort of tired, unchanging look that patients actually subconsciously notice. Referrals by your existing patients can subtly suffer as a result.

There are many inexpensive ways to improve the look of your practice and you should continually look for ways to change it up and impress your patients.

SEE FOR YOURSELF

Take a drive and look at the front of other healthcare professional’s practices, storefronts and other businesses, and note down what it is you like most or least about each one.

Now go across the street from your practice and look at it as if you were a new patient or someone just considering using your services. Does it look upscale and inviting, or is it dull and ordinary? Is your sign visible, eye-catching, clean, well lit? Are the windows clean?

Next, walk up to the front door of your office as if you had never seen it before. What is your first impression? Be honest with yourself – does it look classy and professional? Does it look warm and inviting? Does it make an impact on you or even make you say “Wow”? Walk in the front door and notice whether the carpets are clean or in good shape, whether the walls are nicely painted or wallpapered. Are all the lights inside the practice working; are the chairs and equipment clean and in good repair; are there beautiful pictures on the wall and are they hung straight; are the magazines in the reception area current, in good shape, and high quality.

Is there a warm smile and happy greeting from the receptionist when you walk in? Is she/he well-groomed and professionally attired? Remember, the receptionist is your Department of First Impressions — through the telephone first and then when the patient arrives at the practice. This point can be a killer and can lose the practice income due to poor first contact.

NOW THE FUN PART!

Having done your inspection, the challenge is how to remedy any points that you may have found that need improving. Devise a battle plan for how you are going to attack these points. Prioritize them and systematically work down your list. If you don’t have the funds for some, do the ones you can first.

DON’T PROCRASTINATE. DO IT NOW!

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Smile…

… and the whole world smiles with you!

Has anyone frowned at you lately? Did one of your friends or colleagues look a little serious or preoccupied? Did it make you feel good? Probably not!

There have been many studies to show that smiling increases your own personal health, but even further, if you smile at someone and it makes them smile back, then you have helped improve someone else’s life and health.

In a healthcare practice, of course, you are all about the health of your patients. So keeping on smiling and finding things that are positive to smile about is going to make a difference.

It starts with the front desk setting the scene when a patient arrives. Big smile in greeting is the perfect thing to do. Technical staff – look serious, and you worry the patient or client. Doctor – same thing: getting a positive decision from them on their health care and as well as their on-going cooperation is much more likely if they are presented to with a smile.

Make it a practice policy to add more smiles to the daily agenda!

A Calm Environment

For your patients’ sake as well as your own and your staff’s, keeping a lid on tempers and angry outbursts in a practice is an important skill. Creating a calm working environment can increase the efficiency and level of production.

Getting angry may be the correct response to some situations. Yet blowing up and overreacting can ruin your relationships and success.

For example, you might feel outraged and say:

1. “WHO STOLE MY PEN?”
2. “I can’t believe that you are late for work AGAIN!”
3. “How many times have I told you not to do it that way!”
4. “You try doing MY job and see how tough it is!”
5. “Why do you always jump to the conclusion that it is my fault whenever something goes wrong!”

Jumping to wrong conclusions and getting outraged can seriously damage your success.

Know Before You Blow

Before you let anger take over as a reaction, ask questions to find out all the data and you might be surprised to find that there is no need to be upset at all.

1. “Has anyone seen my pen?”
2. “Why are you late?”
3. “Why did you do it that way?”
4. “What are you having trouble with?”
5. “What is the story here?”

The answers to these questions may open the door to finding the real situation and then allow for a correct solution to be implemented. CALMLY!

Internal Marketing:

Show you care

In the rush and crush of your daily practice, you may sometimes find yourself a little short on tenderness or empathy. Some of you seem to be born with more compassion than others.

Some may have to work on it and practice living in the other person’s shoes to really get the hang of this. As a healthcare professional, you are working with people and need to be sensitive to making a positive experience for them.

Suggestions

Here are some tips and examples from some of our clients with respect to providing the caring, compassionate environment for the patients, clients and staff:

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The ‘waiting room’ is referred to as the ‘greeting room’. The whole idea is that patients/clients are there to be taken care of, not to wait.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. When you are finished treating a patient, walk them out to the front and help them into their coat and shake their hand and tell them that it has been a pleasure to serve them. Many patients/clients will say, “No, it has been my pleasure.”

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Laugh, have fun, make the experience in your practice be a positive and pleasurable one. Focus on talking about positive things with the patients/clients rather than discussing bad news.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. When a patient/client says, “I hate to complain…,” say: “No, it is not a complaint — it is a concern.”

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Keep in mind that your practice is not all about making money; it is to deliver dedicated service. Work at that every day and you will do very well financially. Just put the emphasis on the service.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Create a pleasant environment of nice music, pictures on the walls, comfortable chairs, coffee, current magazines.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. It’s all about the patients/clients knowing that you care. Let them know that you do.

Staff Are Important Too

Notice that staff are very much included in the above statement. Stressed, unhappy staff don’t deliver quality care. Creating a stress-free and cheerful working environment will not only attract patients but also good staff. Plus, it will help you keep them.

The staff can examine their own actions and interactions with patients/clients and compare themselves to the ideals set out in your mission statement. They can ask themselves when they mishandle something: Did that action provide the best quality care to our patients? Then they can work out how to do it better next time. Good staff are pretty self-correcting when they know what is expected of them.

The Face of Your Practice

When healthcare professionals say, “My front desk…” they are not usually referring to the piece of furniture in the reception area but rather to the living, breathing human being taking care of business at the front of the practice.  This person is the “face” of your practice and hugely responsible for the success of your practice.  And fortunately, most Receptionists definitely want the practice to be successful.

While it is a given that the position requires that the Receptionist knows how to type, file, greet, collect, schedule, talk to insurance companies, and use the computer (and chew gum all at the same time), there are more aspects to this job if one has an interest in the practice growing and reaching more people with the important services it offers.

For instance, the care and interest a Receptionist shows the patient or client when they arrive for their appointment and again when they are finished and departing, leave a patient or client with the feeling of goodwill toward the practice.  Simply being polite and acknowledging the patient or client upon arrival is NOT the same as being greeted cheerfully and with a few kind words.  Trust me, I am NOT saying to get into a long conversation because THAT is exactly what you don’t want to do if you want to be efficient.  It is a fine line to walk between the two extremes.

How about keeping the patient or client in contact with the practice between visits by creating a monthly email newsletter that goes out to every patient or client of record.  This is way easier to do that most people know.  There are templates on the internet and in Word that can be used where you just plop in little paragraphs of material that would be of interest to the patients/clients, but not a scientific diatribe; these can be gotten from non-competitor’s websites, etc.  There could be a monthly contest in it (best vacation picture of the month, cutest dog picture, best recipe of the month) wherein the winner is published the next month and is awarded a $100 gift certificate for Future Shop, or Tim Horton’s, etc.  This is just a fun feature that is not soliciting, nor breaking the Privacy Act, nor anything else – just a reason for the patient or client to look at your email each month and have some fun.  It is a PR action.

How about doing a survey of patients or clients as to their favourite 3 magazines and when you have got 100 answers, then total them up and see which are the 5 most popular and buy those monthly for the waiting area.

Another PR action is for the Receptionist to go through all patient charts and find the ones that have not come in for more than two years and write them a heartfelt letter asking how they are doing and saying that everyone in the practice misses them.

Here’s another one, and this could really be fun:  Find a charity or a cause that everyone in the practice could participate in and get them involved.  This is called “Social Responsibility” and is a way of contributing something to the world at large as a team.  Of course, this activity can be captured in photographs and displayed on the bulletin board in the reception area.  Patients or clients may even want to participate!

A practice is created by design.  The living, breathing, caring person at the “front desk” is extremely important to the building of a successful practice!

Have fun with this and put some more “life” into the practice.

From Good to Great

Interested in increasing the flow of new patients or clients into your practice? If yes, you are not alone as about 95% of healthcare practices still have room to grow. Even if you are fully booked, there is always a need for new clientele because of natural attrition due to people moving on and passing on.

Since internal marketing is the least expensive way to find new business, the question is: How to inspire your patients or clients to actively refer to your practice? Referrals is obviously one of the best ways to acquire them, as the person being referred knows a bit about you and has heard enthusiastic things about you and your team. How to make this happen?

The answer is to take your practice from good to GREAT in terms of service delivered by you and your team. To start the process, do this exercise: Think of your favourite [high end, expensive] restaurant. What was the external appearance like? When you walked in, were you immediately greeted in a friendly and welcoming way that made you feel important? Did the Maitre’D treat you graciously? Was your table immediately available and ready set? Did the waiter “make friends” (engage) with you and establish your expectancy for the evening? And so on. You get where I am going … best possible performance from each and every staff member. And you have, as a result, probably referred other people to that restaurant for a delightful evening.

As you can see, this relates directly to your own practice. An extremely positive experience with no shocks, lots of education and understanding, and superlative care will impress anyone. No moods, no internal arguments, no ruffled feathers, no attitude. Just be GREAT! It is not only for the patient or client’s sake … you will all feel better just by doing this. You are on stage. Act GREAT!

Patients or clients in turn will be delighted to refer their friends and family to you. And then you will give them too the royal treatment and so you will grow.

And grow!

 

Taking Things Up a Notch

Have you noticed that people are expecting more and better service for their money than ever before? And have you ever sat down with your team and worked out in detail how each aspect of your practice could give a little more or better service to your patients or clients?

The practices or clinics that take service over the top are always the busiest ones and attract new patients easily through referrals.

There are many, many ways this extra service can be given. Believe it or not, how glad you or your staff sound when taking a phone call from a patient or client is noticed by them. When they walk in the front door of your practice, a wonderful smile and greeting from your front desk staff can make the patient or client feel very welcomed.

Of course, there are the follow up calls after a difficult treatment or service is always appreciated.

Running the practice on schedule impresses clients because you’re showing your respect for them and that they are important.

Making notes in the computer or chart to ask the patient or client next time you see them how it went with the special event (graduation, christening, bar mitzvah, wedding, etc.) that they told you about the last time they were at the practice shows an interest in them.

Look for ways to deliver a better service than was expected or they feel they are paying for.

You get the concept, now have a meeting with the team and run with it. Your team will often surprise you with their creativeness.

 

Empathy: The HEART of the Practice

Ever worked with someone who, upon hearing a misfortune that you just experienced, reacted by saying, “You’ll get over it, move on.” Or, “Life sucks, nothing you can do about it.” Or, “Really! You DO have a lot bad things happen to you, don’t you?”

You could say that this person has “no heart.” Clearly, they do not know the meaning of empathy! Basically, empathy has been described as the ability to relate to the thoughts, feelings and experiences of another person.

It does not mean sugary, syrupy sympathy which is rejected as “overdone” caring. Nor giving someone pity, also undesirable “care.” Someone described empathy as “the ability to step into someone else’s shoes and be aware of their feelings and needs.” Let’s add, “and let the person know that you have understood.”

Whether you are dealing with a client, patient or a fellow member of your team, showing empathy requires that you really listen attentively to what the person is saying and put your complete focus on them. Put yourself in their shoes while you listen. If it is a patient or client, once you have completely understood their communication, you can then answer it or deal with it in a caring fashion.

With your staff or fellow team members, empathy shows a deep respect and care level. Sometimes all one needs is the feeling that someone has heard them, and then a really good strong acknowledgement to let them know they HAVE been heard. “Wow, I really GOT that.” Once you have understood the whole picture, to be effective and helpful, you could then get the person to envision what they could do to handle the situation and focus them on being solution oriented, instead of being stuck in the problem.

Smooth, productive patient dealings and management of an office result from the empathy levels of the practice.

Client Loyalty – Stick In Their Minds

Client loyalty is a big issue these days with all the marketing that is thrown at them, such as Direct Mailing fliers from other practices. When your patients or clients are away from your practice, you are “out of sight, out of mind.”

Therefore, building loyalty through more frequent contact or reminders of your practice can be beneficial. A cost effective and efficient way to keep your practice and services on their minds is through a monthly emailed newsletter.

For the more computer savvy who have a website and know how to make changes on it, also put your newsletter up there once a month and have your staff let all patients/clients know to look there for it. Most people have a computer or access to one nowadays.

For the email newsletter, this is easy to do:

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Build up an email address book in your computer by having your front desk staff start collecting email addresses from all your patients or clients. When your staff call patients for scheduling or confirming, coach them to ask for the person’s email address as well and have them put it in the computer.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Write a simple newsletter which could include the latest news that a patient or client should know, helpful tips, a cute joke, interesting tidbits, any successes, notifications of changes of hours or office closure dates coming up, staff changes, etc. What would YOU like to read if YOU were receiving it? Photos speak a thousand words so be sure to include one or two of those. Keep them low resolution so your email isn’t “heavy.”

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Send out a fresh newsletter each month. If you have a website, upload the newsletter there too.

Stay in people’s minds and keep them loyal to your practice.

How To Increase Your Patient Referrals

One of the keys to a successful practice is having an abundance of new patients calling in and walking through your front door.

How do you do that without racking up a heavy advertising budget that could eat away all your hard-earned profits?

Oddly enough, the answer is right inside your practice! Namely, word of mouth from your already existing clientele.

Patients who are extremely happy and enthusiastic about the service they have received from you and your staff will readily refer family, friends, neighbors and co-workers, without much prodding or coaxing.

It is amazing how willing an enthusiastic patient is to have others experience the same level of care that they themselves have received.

In many instances, they will go out of their way to get someone else to come to you because your team delivers fantastic service and results.

Contrary to popular belief, satisfied patients do not refer. Patients enthusiastic about your service do refer.

To illustrate this point, here is an example:

Let’s say that you are hungry, in a hurry and don’t have much money in your pocket. You might run out to a burger joint, taco place or chicken hut – something very fast. In a short amount of time, you are no longer hungry and it didn’t cost you an arm and a leg. So you could say that your criteria have all been met and you are satisfied, right?

Now let’s take the opposite scenario. Let’s say you go to your favorite upscale restaurant where it’s very expensive, takes several hours to eat and, if you’re like me, you eat it all because it is so delicious, and then you leave the restaurant with a bit of pain.

Question: If a friend asks you for the name of an excellent restaurant where they really take care of you and where he and his wife will have a great experience, which restaurant are you going to refer them to?

Answer: You most likely picked the second one. Why? Because you are enthusiastic about the ambience, top level service and care – even though it cost a lot, took longer and you hurt!

Now ask yourself: Do you want your practice to be like a fast-food restaurant or do you want to be a class act? If the answer is “a class act”, remember this: When referrals are not coming in the door in sufficient quantity, focus on improving service and this in turn will increase the number of enthusiastic patients leaving your practice.

Here are some of the ways that it might be possible to improve the service and care levels in your practice:

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Be sure to book your appointments in such a way that you can run on time. This is a courtesy point and impresses patients, even though they themselves sometimes run late.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Send a thank you card to any patient that refers someone to you. This reflects that you really appreciate their help and encourages further referrals.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Manners are an extremely key point in a healthcare practice or any other kind of business. From the front desk staff, to the dentist, the assistant and the hygienist. Patients respect those who treat them with respect and good manners.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Care about your patients. If you really don’t care for them, you shouldn’t be treating them. Find something about them that you like and focus on that. If you are short on caring, they will do the same to you, i.e. badmouth you or not pay their bill.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Give them the best quality dentistry for their money. Educate them so they want the best. When they have gone ahead with the ideal, they are much more likely to refer others to you.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Have a mission statement for the practice so that the staff and you are on the same page with regard to quality of care and service to the patients. Focus on it until it becomes habit.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. After a major dental procedure, be sure to do a follow up call to ensure that all is well. Not all patients who are having difficulties will call you. This will show that you care about their well-being.

There are probably several thousand other ways to show you care. But there is no substitute for really caring.

When a patient is getting ready to leave the practice, do an “enthusiasm check”. For instance, ask “Is there anything else that we can do to be of service to you today?” or “Is there anything we could have done better today – we’re always looking for ways to evolve our practice to a higher level of care.” The key point here is that the staff must be on the lookout to ensure that the patient is in fact enthusiastic about your service.

Fact: The patient who is enthusiastic about the service they received in your practice will bring in 2 to 8 new patients to you – at no charge! A patient who is only “satisfied”, or worse yet, upset, will talk negatively about you to 10 to 12 people. Factually, they may keep coming back to you, but they won’t refer other people to you.

So take these simple steps to increase your patient referrals:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Deliver excellent technical service;

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Make sure all staff care for the patient;

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Do an enthusiasm check as they leave;

*
p<>{color:#000;}. If the patient is not enthusiastic, find out what they are not happy with and work out how to remedy it.

And there you go. Simple but powerful steps which will lead to increased referrals, simply because you took the time and effort to improve your service level in all areas of the practice. So remember, when referrals are not coming in the door – focus on improving one area: service. Satisfied patients do not refer others to you, only enthusiastic patients refer.

How to Increase YOUR New Patient Numbers

No matter the number of years your practice has been in business, it is always healthy to have a steady flow of new patients coming into your practice in order to maintain a continual expansion.

Here is one way to increase the flow of new patients into your practice.

Telephone Shopper Handling:

In many practices, the front desk staff receives as many as 1 – 10 telephone shopper calls per week. While these calls can be a pain in the neck if the staff is very busy with patients coming and going and other administrative duties, these calls ARE very important to the growth of the practice.

Instead of thinking it’s a call to get rid of, take it as an opportunity to get a new patient.

Assume the person calling needs your services and wants an appointment. Shoppers are not sitting at home dialing numbers to irritate you or your staff – they actually need and want something or they would not have called.

Do not try to rush through this call. Taking 5 minutes to build a rapport with the person will show that your practice believes in high quality care and attention to the patient. This will set your practice apart from others who merely “quote the fee” and ask “would you like an appointment”. You should avoid making either of those errors.

If asked directly for fees right at the beginning of the call, say something like this: “I’ll be happy to help you with that but first I need some information from you. What is the current difficulty you are experiencing? How did you hear about our practice?” Etc. Get answers.

Then tell the potential new patient: “It sounds like we should schedule you for an appointment as soon as possible. Is June 13th at 10 a.m. or 14th at 4 p.m. (give two options) better for you?” Find a time that works for them and get them scheduled. Get as much personal information filled in on your intake forms as possible “to save them the time” when they arrive for the first appointment. This firms up the commitment and is actually a nice service point.

If they again ask about costs, answer, “Our fees will vary depending on the treatment required. However, it can range between $_ to $_. We will not, however, start any treatment without your consent.”

Use these tips and increase your new patients.

 


Internal Marketing, Unleash The Power Withing

Throughout the years, Janice Wheeler, President of The Art Of Management Inc., has written with uncanny insight, about the very real problems practice owners face today. Under the guise of “quick tips”, these pearls of wisdom have been issued to practice owners to help them deal with the situations they face. Many practitioners have kept these weekly articles and are using the information contained in them to bring sanity and focus to the management of their practice.

  • ISBN: 9781311066459
  • Author: Janice Wheeler
  • Published: 2016-06-03 22:05:18
  • Words: 6147
Internal Marketing, Unleash The Power Withing Internal Marketing, Unleash The Power Withing