So…you’ve done all the hard work behind the scenes and have a General Practice up and running with all the necessary Marketing tools in place for attracting patients.
But something still seems to be missing?
Many practices know how to reach out to new patients but how do you ensure that your practice stands out from the crowd whilst retaining current patients so you build a loyal customer base?
If you can do both, you are certain to have a successful practice for years to come.
Here are a few tips on how to retain those customers, after the marketing.
Consider the Experience
You don’t want your practice to convey a dull or lifeless personality. Practices that attract and keep patients are those where they feel welcome and comfortable; perhaps even where they feel like they are amongst friends.
Even if a doctor has excellent credentials, it is his likability and bed-side manner that gives him a competitive edge when it comes to patient retention. Customers appreciate the personalised experience of a friendly doctor who remembers them.
Patients also want to be welcomed by warm and motivational staff and that can truly make any practice shine.
Train your staff to be patient-focused and amiable, and you will realise a much higher level of patient engagement, sending patients home smiling.
Solve a Prevailing Problem
Not only do patients want you to help their current health issue, but patients will also respond positively to GPs who are devoted to solving specific community healthcare issues.
For example, do you have patients who visit your practice who regularly complain about work-related illnesses? Maybe you have a large number of patients who are diabetic. Find a solution for their specific woes, and you will attract a larger patient base.
You must therefore focus on more than just marketing if you want your practice to retain patients. It is also essential to give your patients the “VIP” treatment, not just clinically, but communicatively as well.
A Unique Selling Proposition
By developing a unique selling proposition (USP), you can stand out from the competition. A USP is used to show why your medical practice is exclusive, or different from other practices.
Consequently, a USP is a major value concept that is used to attract and retain patients. Think also about the value proposition placed on your practice, i.e. the reason why patients typically choose your clinic or office. Perceived value is yet another element to consider as it determines how willing a patient is to spend for the services you provide.
In order to make sure you have all the components in place for attracting patients, you need to look at your practice from their point of view. Consider the factors that drive your patients to select your office over those of your competitors.
In order to make sure your marketing efforts pay off too, you need to focus on patient retention. Patients switch to another doctor because of issues with the provider or the services. This is why you need to communicate well with your patients.
How Long Are Your Patients Waiting to See You?
Statistics show that patients prefer shorter wait times. In one study, higher ratings were given to practices with wait times that average around 12 minutes, compared poorly-rated practices in which the average wait times were over half an hour.
Typically, to overcome any frustrations along these lines, it is best to use technology. Send out an e-mail or text if you are running late. Research shows that an email or text serves to reassure the patient, and makes him feel more recognised.
When you place yourself in the patient’s shoes and make changes to better their experience you’ll find your practice will successively grow, and that your marketing efforts will complement any efforts toward retention.
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