26 Feb 2020  •  Blog, Practice Management  •  5min read By  • Practice Plan

Change the way you grow your patient base

If you’re looking for a cost-effective and powerful way of growing your patient numbers then nothing beats asking for a referral. Even in the digital age we’re living in, one of the best and cheapest forms of advertising is still good old-fashioned word of mouth.

Providing a satisfied patient with a referral card to pass on to a friend, family member or colleague is a great way to spread the word about your services and increase your patient base.

Spreading the word Your patients are your best asset when it comes to referrals, so ensure your hard work is paying off when they walk out of the door. Talking about their recent experience at your practice won’t necessarily come naturally to them, so keep your service at the forefront of their mind by providing a satisfied patient with a referral card. Potential new patients hold referrals from people they know and trust in much higher regard than anonymous reviews from online search engines, so encouraging current patients to spread the word is your best option for generating new patient leads.

Consider sweetening the deal

Patients who refer you are incredibly valuable and loyal to your practice, so you may think of rewarding them. Rewards could include:

  • High-street gift vouchers
  • Discounts on treatment
  • A free electric toothbrush

As successful as it can be when rewarding your current patients, go that extra mile and remember to incentivise the new patient who has taken the referral on board and wants to join your practice, for example:

  • Money off/free initial consultation
  • Money off voucher to be used on treatments
  • Discount on tooth whitening

Remember, both your current and referred patient will have high expectations of your practice, so always follow through with any incentives and keep your promises. You are growing your patient base so make a great first impression and don’t let your hard work go to waste at the first chance.

First impressions are hugely important, so make sure your front desk team is well trained to deal with all new patient enquiries. Think about how you can deliver a truly memorable experience

that demonstrates how much you value your patients. By doing this, you’ll provide your patients with a memorable experience, excellent customer service and will show them that you value your patients – which is why you were referred in the first place!

Extending your team…

So where can we help? To support your strategy, we can supply bespoke posters and cards that will help keep referrals at the forefront of patients’ minds, a little reminder for them after they leave.

Handing out the cards helps to make the initial conversation more straightforward and natural. Ensure that posters are utilised around the practice to encourage patients to ask for more information. When they do, well-briefed members of staff can explain the referral process and hand over a referral card to start the process.

Potential new patients hold referrals from people they know and trust in much higher regard than anonymous reviews

A seamless process

Remember, the literature won’t work on its own, that all-important face to-face conversation, where you simply ask to be referred will tie the whole process together. As you hand over a referral card just a simple, “If you feel you’ve received great service with us today, please spread the word and let a friend/family member know and you’ll receive a £20 Love2Shop voucher from us”, could make all the difference. Having this conversation with the patient will leave them feeling valued and important to the practice. As well as this, the patient will be clear on the process and what they and the new patient can receive. A referral process doesn’t need to be administratively complicated as this will leave room for error. Ensure that everyone at the practice understands how these offers are going to work practically. Make sure the process is simple and that all members of staff know what the patients are being offered so they are able to manage and promote it confidently. Having a well-trained, informative and knowledgeable front desk team will ensure that referrals are promoted as much as possible. Nurture your loyal patient base correctly and it will reduce attrition and increase patient numbers.

Interested in setting up your own referral process?

If you’re thinking of changing or refreshing your marketing mind-set, the Practice Marketing and Design Team can help support you, from giving some handy tips and advice to designing your bespoke referral cards and posters. Check out our current patient referral package. Attract new patients by utilising your current ones and encourage them to spread the word to friends and family – all this is made easy with our referral pack!

Includes the design and print of the following:
  • 500 x double sided referral cards (85x55mm)
  • Referral poster 3 x A3
  • Referral card dispenser (A4 strut card with plastic business card dispenser)

For support call practice marketing on 01691 684 151 or email promotions@practiceplan.co.uk for more information.

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