Referrals are the best compliment you can receive. What can you do better to receive referrals from your current clientele?
IT’S SIMPLE. Create an experience to “talk about” from the moment your patient walks through the door.
The first touch point in every practice or medical spa is the front desk—EVERY patient should be greeted. Your staff should be the first to initiate a positive experience for the patient. If there is a long wait in the office, at least you’ve done your best to make their very first impression a good one.
If the wait is long and the service is short, make every second count. There’s nothing worse than going to an appointment and waiting hours to be seen by a top- notch specialist who acts disinterested and rushed. At every point during their appointment, show your patient they’re your number one priority from the time arrive to the moment they leave. Your extra attention won’t go unnoticed—this type of service that helps to generates referrals.
Finally, don’t assume that a patient will refer friends/family to you on just the positive experience alone. When a patient is ready to leave the office, whether it’s the physician or your front desk personnel, someone should always ask for feedback. If they respond optimistically, mention that you’d love to invite their friends and family in for a service and that you’d genuinely appreciate a referral. Chances are, if your service was stellar, you’ll already be the first place they think of when the topic comes up!
Here are five additional ideas from Lonnie Hirsch that will reshape your thinking about referrals.
5 big ideas to help reshape your thinking…
To many providers, asking for referrals seems either out of place or professionally inappropriate. In fact, there are almost no real barriers, and there’s a strong opportunity for success.
Satisfied patients want to return the favor. Human nature is inclined to respond with kindness. People like helping others who have helped them, but they probably don’t know that a referral is an easy (and no-cost) way for them to act.
Referrals help the patient’s friends and family. Sure, a new patient benefits the practice, but your service is of greatest value to the individual(s) who has been referred.
Rejection is an imagined fear. Nothing drastic or dramatic follows a simple and polite referral request. At worst, perhaps the patient takes no action, forgets or simply declines. There is no real downside to asking.
People like doing business with people they like. In every business environment, customers feel a sense of confidence in working with those people they know. And when satisfaction is high, they willingly share this sense of trust with others. (Assuming they are asked.)
Individuals who make referrals are more loyal. In referring your services to a friend, the patient is reaffirming their own “purchase decision.” In short, they are more likely to remember and follow their own advice in the future.
Above all, the primary pathway to encouraging and inspiring patient referrals from people you’ve helped is…you’ve got to ask for referrals. Few patients will think of it on their own, but nearly all satisfied patients will respond favorably when asked.