After researching you online with both your educational background and experience, as well as how well you performed on rating sites and viewing your medical website, a prospective patient has just scheduled an appointment to be seen by you. The thing is, will that patient stay with you?
Is there loyalty between patients and physicians?
That depends. Do you make it worth their while?
Patients want value for their experience with a physician.
Do you provide:
- A cheerful staff that smiles and addresses patients by their name?
- Friendly staff that introduces themselves and their positions?
- Convenient appointment times (and changes)?
- A short time in the waiting room before being seen?
- The ability for patients to interact, ask questions, and most importantly, have them answered?
- Explain solutions in a way that patients can understand without being over their head or too simplified?
- Respect for patients as individuals?
- Printed instructions for how to take medications with possible side effects
- Postoperative instructions or a sheet on what to expect?
Patients want to have engagement. They want to be asked their input…what they want, what they feel, what they fear. They want to feel that not only do they understand what is going on with them, but also understand their treatment options and what is available in both the traditional and alternative care realms. That doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to provide alternative care but it is key that you can point them in the right direction in terms of reliable sources versus bogus sites.
Patients also want to feel important.
Simple medical marketing and loyalty steps go a long way.
- Sending gratitude cards or emails for choosing to become a patient
- Thank you cards for patients that were referred by current patients
- Birthday cards
These are simple steps that staff members can send out (with simple computer programming)
Make patients feel that they count. Patients don’t want to feel that they are just “a number”. They want to feel that they count. The entire experience is crucial to retention from that first phone call setting up the appointment, to the professional encounter and beyond. The perception that you as the doctor, cares is crucial.
After all, it is more economical to keep a patient and get referrals from existing patients than to have to constantly look for prospective patients. (And it is much more rewarding from a physician-patient relationship).
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