This was an actual comment I overheard today while waiting in line to order my lunch in a bustling restaurant here in downtown Kansas City. It truly exemplifies the fact that everyday many patients are looking for new physicians and they are turning to their friends and family for helping in finding the physician that is right for them. Some are looking because they are new to the area, their insurance changed at the beginning of the year and some are in hopes of finding a better patient experience.
What are your patients saying when one of their friends or family members ask “I need to find a new physician.” If you don’t know the answer to this, it may be costing you money. AND, if your patients are not speaking up and recommending they call your office, you’re certainly losing money.
As healthcare leaders and physicians are embracing the fact that patients are now consumers with options and choices for their healthcare needs, the standards of the patient experience are changing. Given today’s climate, it’s time for your office to think of your patients as the important, valuable people that they are; they are the lifeblood of your practice, the reason you are in business and they are valuable marketing tools as well. If you and your staff provide outstanding, impressive patient experiences both on the phone and in your office that make you stand out, your patients will remember you and they will be eager to share those experiences with their friends and family, especially when asked!
What can you do to start enhancing your patients’ word of mouth marketing, thus increasing patient referrals? First, you must know where your practice stands; what’s being said about you right now? How do your patients perceive their experience with you and your staff? Many times, medical mystery shopping can provide this much needed insight and identify vital areas of needed improvements to boost patient referral volumes. Secret patients provide an unbiased, honest opinion of their experiences both on the phone and in-person; this knowledge and feedback in the hands of practice leaders and trained experts in improving patient experiences can lead to the organic growth of an organization over time, including enhanced word of mouth marketing from current patients, increased patient referral volumes and growth in the bottom line.
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