Customer Referrals And Retention

In any private practice marketing course, we are taught to market, market, market.  Yet we are only taught how to market to physicians.  This type of marketing is time consuming, costly, and usually not very conducive for referrals.

What about all those current patients, past patients, their friends and family?  Have you marketed to them?  After all, your current patients are “captive” to your marketing…and past patients hopefully know, like, and trust you.

Here are Four simple steps to customer referrals and retention.

Invest in the people who already know you! Most business owners invest large sums of money to acquire a new patient.  Numbers can be staggering…$100, $200, $300 per new patient!  Why not spend $50 on your current patients.  Offer them a graduation gift (t-shirt), hold a patient appreciation day (with coffee and snacks), offer regular checkups to ensure they are staying on track after discharge.

Have a safety net for those customers who are going to be lost customers. Did Sally cancel her appointment last week and not schedule any more visits?  What is the cost (loss) to the business when Sally drops off her plan of care?  Have a simple follow up system that ensures you remain in contact with Sally and she knows the importance of finishing her care.

For those patients who have finished therapy, and have regained their life back, how many remember you? We all think they remember us since we provided such great care and they became our best patient.  Sadly, those are the people who will remember you the least!  What is your follow up plan?  Do you follow up at 30, 90, 180 days after discharge?  It can be a simple phone call, or e-mail, asking how they are doing.

We expect referrals from our current and/or past patients, because we are entitled to those referrals. Yet, how many of your current or past patients actually refer a friend/family member to you?  See #3 above…first they have to remember you.  What referral program do you have in place?  It can be something as simple as asking for a referral.  Give the patients the opportunity, and they will refer!

These four simple steps will start you on a path to be less reliant on physicians sending you patients.  Studies show that only 4 out of 10 physician referrals actually show for physical therapy.  Work on your current and past patients, those who know you and are more than willing to help fill your appointment books!  Need help with referrals? Click Here and schedule a FREE consultation to help guide you though the process.

Andrew Vertson, PT, DPT, ATC
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