Management Monday: Happy customers

It is well known that people who have a bad experience are far more likely to remember it – and share it with friends – than those who have a good experience.6-call-to-action-tips

In practical terms, that means we have to work incredibly hard to get our patients to praise us, and any small slip-up can undo a lot of positive work. Yet our existing patients can be our most powerful marketing tool and offer our best chance of attracting new patients. So what can we do to ensure our patients are our greatest advocates?

Here are my four top tips:

Excellence – Ensure you are offering exactly what your patients want, and in the best possible way. Great service, friendly staff and the right atmosphere are the foundations of an outstanding reputation.

Communication – The only way to find out what your patients think of you is to ask. Why not set up a patient panel, where they can give their views informally over a coffee? Encourage patients to join with signs in your waiting area or details in your newsletter. Make sure you take their opinions on board, even if they aren’t wholly positive.

Rewards – Be wary of financial incentives: patients may see them as bribes for saying positive things about you. However, there is no harm in giving special offers to loyal customers who may then choose to share their opinions with their friends, without you prompting them.

Advocates – There may be patients in your practice who are already loyal, enthusiastic – and well connected. If you know them well, you may be able to encourage them to share your services with their friends. This needs to be done carefully (not everyone will appreciate it!) but a new service, campaign or offer for new patients may be an ideal chance to explore this option. Alternatively, if a patient has an interesting story – a particularly successful treatment or an unusual problem which you fixed –they could be a case study for your marketing material.

Try these four options now, and see how your patients really can make a difference to your marketing success.

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