Unless your specialty practice is brand-new, the backbone of your practice probably isn’t based on new referrals. Don’t overlook this key element of private practice success!
Whether you’ve been running your specialty practice just a few years, or dozens, there’s a good chance that the majority of your business is made up of repeat clients. In short, most of the patients walking in your door have been there before…and made the decision to come back.
If you’ve provided excellent service—not just a world-class treatment experience, but great customer service, too—then most of your patients will come back again and again. Maybe they’ll come in search of continued good health through maintenance. Or maybe a new injury or illness will arise, and because you’ve built their trust, you’ll be the first professional they call.
Eventually, nearly your ENTIRE specialty practice could (if you chose) be composed of regular patients who return time after time because of the relationship you’ve built with them.
But if you’ve paid any attention to the marketing how-to information that’s out there, you may be confused. That’s because the advice of traditional marketers is all about how to get new eyes on you—how to get in front of people who will buy what you’re selling.
The thing is, particularly in the service industry and in a specialty practice, the person who is most likely to buy from you is the very person who already has! They took that initial risk of trying your practice, found the benefits to be exceptional, and now have confidence that YOU are the professional who can make their lives better.
Now that you know repeat customers are the best customers, what can you do to encourage patients to come back?
First, say “thank you,” and say it often. Thank brand-new patients for giving your specialty practice a chance to help them. When they return for another visit, welcome them with open arms and an opportunity to give feedback—ask: “Can you let us know what made you decide to come again?”
Second, give those loyal patients a chance to get to know you better. Ask every new and returning patient if they’d like to join your email list. Send a monthly newsletter with practice news, including personal stories from your staff or yourself that make your office feel like a home away from home. It can also include a simple but useful health tip that’s relevant to your specialty practice, or a frequently asked question and your response. This doesn’t have to be a slick-looking newsletter template. In fact, many patients will respond more positively if it’s simple and has a “homegrown” feel, so that they know you’re actually writing it!
Also, have your staff maintain a list of patients who haven’t been in lately. Give them a courtesy call to see if they’d like to schedule a follow-up visit. This lets patients know that you remember them and care about how they’re doing.
The key to all of this is planning. You need an organized system, set to autopilot, so that these things will happen automatically at appropriate opportunities, and so that no patient gets overlooked. This is the only way to make effective follow-through happen on a regular basis for your specialty practice.
But most private practice owners won’t implement this kind of system.
That’s good news for you… if you’re willing to put in the time, knowing that your specialty practice can thrive while others barely survive.
I invite you to visit here frequently for more tips about creating a sustainable private practice!
I wish you the best along your journeys!
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Have a great day!
the PPW team