Is the financial downturn affecting your practice? Does it seem like you’re seeing fewer patients? Though you can’t change the economy, there are things you can do to strengthen patient relationships and increase loyalty, referrals and revenue!
Make the most of your down time.
A lag in appointments can be a great opportunity to get a handle on your inventory so that you don’t end up buying things you already have. You might also want to call the patients you saw a few days ago to ask how they’re feeling and if they have any additional questions.
Cultivate your Internet presence.
These days, the first place patients go to for information is the Internet. If you “Google” your practice, what kind of reviews will you find? If you find a bad review, take action! Sometimes you can contact the person, resolve the complaint and get them to remove it. Or you can try asking current patients to post positive feedback on the same site, so that it presents a more balanced picture.
Movie tickets and gift certificates are good referral gifts, or you might want to try promotional giveaways, such as pens, calendars or stress balls, imprinted with your practice contact information. Just make sure you do something, because word-of-mouth is often your best advertising.
More than ever, people are looking for value. Simply sharing your knowledge greatly increases the value of a visit for patients. And if you take the time to explain how the things you recommend today will help prevent a more serious and expensive problem in the future, patients will see your services as a savings opportunity, rather than an expense.
Take your time.
Taking the time to listen to patients’ stories helps strengthen bonds and shows you care about them as people – that they’re not just another appointment on your calendar. At the end of the appointment, ask if there are any other health concerns or if they need any refills. Patients will appreciate your thoroughness, and you never know where the conversation might lead.
Reinforce the decision to come see you.
Sometimes a patient’s symptoms turn out to be a false alarm. If you simply say, “It was nothing,” they might not come in the next time they have a medical concern. Instead, commend them for erring on the safe side.
Keep a positive attitude.
Conveying confidence and a position of authority with your body language, tone of voice and choice of phrase will help keep the morale of your staff from getting low and increase patient compliance.
Remember that the economy always fluctuates, and it will eventually bounce back. In the mean time, you can make the most of the situation, so that when the economy does improve, your practice will be well-situated.
Did I miss anything? If there is something else that you do to keep your business strong during these difficult economic times, please share!