Tactic #1: Think of Your Patients as Clients
Let’s face it, your patients need you probably more than you need them. Far too often, however, medical professionals treat patients as if they are doing them a favor by seeing and treating them. Even if it isn’t true about your practice, how certain are you that your patients feel as if you value them? By thinking of them as clients and fostering a customer service attitude among your practice staff, you can ensure that your patients feel important and cherished. The customer doesn’t always have to be right – he just always has to be king!
Tactic #2: Live Up to Your Promises
Personalized health care? 24/7 Accessibility? No waiting for appointments? Make sure you live up to your claims if you want patients to stay with your practice. No matter how much your patients love you, they’re going to get fed up if you’re constantly overbooked or late for appointments and they have to spend 30 minutes or more waiting for you to see them. The best marketing strategy in the world can’t overcome poor service, so keep the promises you make when you come up with your unique differentiators.
Tactic #3: Be Personal
For truly personalized attention, maintain records about your previous consultations so you can refer to former discussions during appointments. You can never remember the dozen patient conversations you have every day, but your patients can remember every discussion they have with you. Use whatever tools you have to in order to make patients feel like you have a personal interest in them. Also, go the extra mile to be pleasant and train your staff to do the same – people prefer to do business with service providers they like.
Tactic #4: Stay in Touch
Include regular communications in your medical marketing strategy. If the only time your patients ever hear from you is when they are sick or you need them to pay a bill, there’s little reason for them to stay with you. Stay top of mind by sending them quarterly newsletters, birthday and holiday greeting cards and reminders about vaccinations or annual checkups. A basic patient relationship management program will provide all the tools you need to automate much of the process, but your patients don’t need to know that fact. Remind patients the day before their appointment with a telephone call, email message or text to their mobile phone.
Tactic #5: Be a Resource
Stats show that 85% of people use search engines to look for information on medical conditions and healthcare issues. Much of the time, the material they find is inaccurate and misleading, which makes your job harder because they come to you with preconceived ideas and beliefs. You can both prevent this and cultivate loyalty by creating resources for your patients by: