How Can You Encourage Referrals?

Doctors with patients

Referrals are the lifeblood of a practice and an essential element for expanding your patient network. Developing a strategy to foster referrals is one of the best approaches to grow your patient base. In addition, it is typically one of the least expensive, most manageable things you can do to promote your practice. Read on for three suggestions to help you gain new patients.

Provide exceptional customer service

Ensuring your staff effectively tends to every patient who walks through your doors with kindness and respect will make for a glowing endorsement. If you do not have one in place, establish a mission statement or standard of excellence statement that clearly defines the level of care patients receive throughout their treatment. Then, create a one-sheeter that succinctly yet thoroughly outlines new patient guidelines for all members of your staff. Make it easy (or easier) for patients to schedule appointments and consider introducing standard policies that will help your practice run more efficiently.

Undoubtedly, you are already striving to deliver exceptional customer service. However, continually seeking and implementing new measures for going the extra mile in all facets of your business is a sure-fire way to stimulate the “good buzz” that will organically generate referrals.

Consider creating a contest

Invite current patients to participate by providing at least one referral in a way that is convenient for them, through email, an online entry form, or a traditional handwritten submission. You will need to determine a time frame and prize(s) in addition to posting the rules and related information in a prominent place at your office and online. To increase your traction, you may consider promoting the contest on Facebook, Twitter, or other relevant social media sites.

Be sure to include appropriate disclaimers (e.g., “no purchase necessary” and “void where prohibited”) and encourage disclosure, requiring patients to acknowledge their entries are part of a promotion and that they are participating for a chance to win. Prior to holding the contest, you should consult a lawyer to ensure you follow regulations. As you operate a medical practice, you likely have an attorney already, and the cost will be a small investment—particularly if you elect to hold monthly or regular patient referral contests.

Seek testimonials

Ask devoted and trusted patients if they are willing to provide a recommendation for your practice and be sure to let them know it’s voluntary. This gesture helps your rapport with them because it demonstrates that you value their opinions. If someone appears to be uncomfortable with the request, do not try to coerce them. Instead, keep the exchange positive, and assure them you understand and respect their feelings.

The testimonial doesn’t need to be lengthy for it to have impact. You may even consider offering your patients a few generic examples or provide a “fill in the blank” form to make it easier for them to write. As you collect more testimonials, you could start to vary the vehicle and obtain some video testimonials, too.

Personal recommendations from your current patients could be featured in brochures, or on your website or social media sites. In all instances, testimonials must be HIPAA compliant, and you should obtain a patient’s written authorization before making his or her testimonial public.

For more information on advancing your practice, call Optimum Permanent Placement Services at 603.816.9070 to speak with a knowledgeable business development executive.