Where do my Patients come from? Part 2
I am urging you to take a careful look at your practice and explore the contribution your previous patients are making to your current practice. This is a group of people that you need to recognize and nurture. There are several reasons that this is so important. One, they already know you and most likely have already had a positive experience. Two, they probably have friends or connections that might benefit from your services. Three, you already have their name, address, and email to re-establish contact and offer your services. This information can be mailed or emailed. Your information, descriptions of services and follow ups can take the form of a letter, announcement, email, call, brochure, or monthly newsletter.
I’ve collected all the names and emails from hundreds of my old patients (my list) and sent them a “Hi, how are you” email with some updated information and I was stunned at the response! I received multiple success stories and some people wanted to come in for additional work. In addition to reconnecting with my old patients, who I love, the cost of reaching out to hundreds of people was free using the power of the Internet with a list.
Going forward, I will be sending a monthly update on some development or helpful piece of information to my previous patients. Just my initial email brought in a lot of new business to the office. I was really surprised at the response from this valuable group of people.
We All Make Mistakes
This oversight of a valuable resource of previous patients really underscores the lack of business training that most physicians have. In the normal course of business, outside of medicine, I have heard estimates that approximately 80% of business should come from previous customers. This really surprised me because I always thought of my surgical patients having one or two procedures and then disappearing. I really never thought of past patients as a continuing referral source of new patients –an oversight on my part to be sure.
Improve Your Strategy for Attracting New Patients
So what action steps can you take at this point?
- Make a detailed List of where your patients came from (Internet, other doctors, previous patients, etc.) This is how you will develop a “Gold List” of your best referral sources. Consider how to recognize these patients.
- Have your office staff examine records of all patients in your practice from the past year and see how they found you. (If this is not part of your office information intake, make it so now)
- Send an email to your previous patients. The email should give them an update and promise of further updates in the future (at least quarterly).
- Make it office policy to know how everyone coming into your practice found you or came to you – No exceptions!
- Consider using a CRM (Customer Relations Management system that is HIPAA compliant)
Try these tips and let me know how it goes!