Everyone is guilty of getting caught up in the day-to-day grind, right? We have so much to do and so little time to do it. We know first hand from the medical practices we serve how crazy things can get.
Sometimes, successful marketing is just about going above and beyond and delivering an exceptional customer service experience (especially in today’s age of online reviews that can make or break your practice). Sure, part of marketing is getting the patients in the door, but the other part is converting them into lifelong lovers of your practice.
With that said, we wanted to share 5 simple ways to go the extra mile for patients without creating a ton of work for you. They’ll love the office for it and you’ll look all the better to the guys in white coats that sign your checks. Plus, we’ll bring these tips together with a real-life case study at the end.
1. Answer the Call on Social Media
Someone actively manages your social media accounts, right? When someone checks in on Facebook, respond to them immediately and say you’re glad to see them and ask if there’s anything they need. An overwhelming amount of time they won’t need anything, but they’ll be extremely glad you responded and engaged with them.
That’s a story they’ll tell their friends, as silly as it may sound. If they do need something? Do what you can to get it, or find someone who can help. They’ll be forever grateful and, odds are, their request is small and reasonable.
Another way to go above and beyond the call of duty with your patients is to use social media to send out important updates that may affect your patients such as doctors running very late that day, or announcing practice hours for upcoming holidays. See the case study below for more details.
2. Free Internet: a BIG Bonus
We know that delays are almost inevitable in the day-to-day management of your practice. Whether it’s because a physician was running late from an extensive surgery at the hospital or because a doctor took extra time to explain a diagnosis and treatment options to a worried patient, unavoidable wait times in the lobby seem to have become a fact of medical practice life.
However, one way to mitigate patient frustration around wait times is to offer your patients free internet access while they wait. Have a sign at the reception in your lobby that provides the network name and password so your patients won’t need to ask. They will be impressed by your modern-day initiative!
3. Provide a Snack or Two
A little TLC goes a long way. We suggest randomly having coffee, donuts or other snacks in the waiting area. Nothing gets people excited like free food. It’s a great way to show your patients you care by giving them a little something extra.
Often, it will change someone’s day (and have them raving about your office). If you really want to impress them, hand out the food personally and take a moment to make them smile. Crazy, right? Again, don’t miss our example below for how your waiting room can mean the difference between a disastrous or a glowing review.
4. Thank You Cards For the Win
A great way to make patients feel special is to send them a thank you card after a big surgery, and also a greeting card around the holidays (or, more realistically, have a giant pile of thank you cards and get the doctor to sign them). Then, just drop them in the mail as needed.
Your patients spend thousands of dollars with you; so, paying fifty cents and taking a few seconds to mail them a card is the least you can do…and they’ll love you and the doctor for sending out a personalized card just for them.
5. Create an Event When There Aren’t Any
Host events that allow patients to talk to doctors. There’s a doctor based in California that does a “Walk with a Doc” event every month. He and a few staff members meet up at a park to take a walk. Patients are welcome to join them, just to mingle and chat.
Think about how many doctors do that in your area? Go ahead and name one.
The dividends thinking outside the box like this can pay with both existing and prospective patients and their families are astounding.
6. Holiday Food Drives
There’s that “F” word again. A lot of people host food drives and support causes around holiday time, so why don’t you? Contact a local organization and put up a display so patients can donate as they walk in. At the end of the month, mention how much you raised and share the word on social media and in newsletters.
If you really want to get crazy, host a different drive each month, and at the end of the year you can recap how much you raised and the impact it had in the community. Being more active in your community never hurts, and patients will love your office even more for the amount you give back.
Not only that, but you can boost employee morale at the same time. Consult your staff and choose a cause that is close to their hearts. This will inspire your employees to bond with each other on a deeper level, take pride something they are passionate about, and fill them with pride, joy, and a sense of fulfillment.
REAL WORLD EXAMPLE: Your Waiting Room to the Rescue? Or Not!
Dr. Jones was in surgery all night and is running late for his appointments. However, the practice has not passed this information on to any of their scheduled patients that day.
After sitting and twiddling her thumbs for twenty minutes, Jenny is starting to fume. She rushed out early to make her appointment on time and skipped breakfast in the process. The chairs in the lobby are old and uncomfortable (her back is sore already). And there is nothing to read except for a few outdated issues of Star magazine. After thirty minutes, she is downright livid. She grabs her phone, snaps a picture of the furniture and dull magazines and posts them to her Facebook page with the message: “@Dr. Jones’ practice: 30 minutes late, not a word to anyone, and nothing to read but this dribble…can you spell F-R-U-S-T-R-A-T-I-O-N?”
On the way to her appointment, Jenny receives a notification on Twitter, Facebook, and text message. It informs her that Dr. Jones was up all night in surgery and is running behind. She sighs but is grateful to have been given a heads up…on social media no less!
Upon arrival, Jenny is astonished to find hot tea, coffee, and breakfast buns laid out in the waiting area. Again, she greatly appreciates the gesture because she skipped breakfast to be on time and is starving.
A sign has been posted in the waiting room apologizing for the delay and providing the network and password information for free internet service. Jenny is so amazed she takes out her phone and takes a picture of the snacks, the modern and cozy chairs, and the latest issues of Vanity Fair magazine on the side tables. She then posts the lot onto her Facebook page saying “If only all medical practices would treat their patients like this…thank you, Dr. Jones!”