Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Patient Referrals: It's All About the "THANK YOU".

The goal of any growing practice is new patients.  It's commonly accepted that the least expensive way to acquire those new patients is through word of mouth referrals from existing patients.

Generating more patient referrals doesn't have to be difficult. For starters, let's review what not to do.   

Noted marketing expert Bob Burg, makes a great argument for why a practice should never offer a "bribe" for referrals.  The word "bribe" has a very negative connotation, and it applies to any incentive offered in advance in exchange for a referral. Mr. Burg cites two issues with these type of incentives.
1. If the referrals are not based on loyalty and “know, like and trust” but rather on reward alone, it tends not to be sustainable.
2. (Most importantly) Those to whom you are referred will most likely feel resentful upon discovering they were referred because you bought and paid for the referral. How will they find out? When you tell them that they will receive an incentive for referring you to others.
Instead of offering an upfront incentive, Mr. Burg advocates a simple strategy. Ask for referrals and make sure you say "Thank You" to the referring person after the fact.  Why is this so effective? According to Mr. Burg:
Remember: “Behavior that gets rewarded…gets repeated.”
Key: They don’t feel “bought” but they do feel appreciated.
Of course there are many ways you can say "Thank You".  Handwritten notes are free. Gift cards can be valuable but expensive over time.  A custom thank you message and movie of their choice delivered by txtMovies for only $1.99, well that fits almost everyone's budget. Try txtMovies for free.

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