I think we can all agree, word of mouth is the BEST way to attract new patients. And most of us can agree we’d like to get more Word of Mouth (WOM) referrals. After all, existing patients are the best option of marketing for medical practices. However, you may think the only way to increase WOM is by making your existing patients even more satisfied than they already are.
But I disagree! Chances are your current patients like you (or love you) enough to tell their friends and family about you. The reason they don’t do it more often is that they’ve got other things on their mind. Your patients (like you) are bombarded with things to do; kids are screaming, phone is chirping, in-box is overflowing.
If their neighbor asked “do you like your doctor?”, they’d probably say “I sure do!”. But waiting for that neighbor to ask will be a really long wait.
Other than being a good doctor, and having a practice that cares about the needs of your patients, there is a way you can increase the volume of WOM referrals. The secret is helping your patients think about you when they are out of your exam room and smack dab in the middle of their real life. Imagine this:
- Jane Doe has been your patient for ten years
- She’s seen you at least eight times, including a significant procedure
- She’s pretty darn happy with the care she receives from you
- She has a husband, two kids, and three local siblings; none of whom are your patients
- She has scores of friends and acquaintances, some of whom have been looking for a new doctor in the last ten years
- She doesn’t make a habit of asking her friends “Do you like your doctor?”
She’s crazy busy and, unless she’s sick, she’s not thinking about you. But you can get her thinking about you, when she’s more likely to chat about her experiences with her friends, in surprisingly easy ways. All you need to do is get your practice name in front of her face while she’s going about her busy day:
- Mail a personal note; have your team send handwritten note cards to patients periodically
- Create a practice Facebook page and assign someone from your team to add “human interest” posts a couple times a week
- Create and mail a quarterly newsletter to patients with general well-being advice and highlighting your unique expertise
- Have a table at community events where families hang out
You’ve got lots of happy patients. Why not leverage that into more of the same? Stay on your patients’ minds and let them be your medical practice’s marketing.