Word of mouth can often be your best marketing strategy. That is why it’s important to create an experience that retains patients and gives them something to brag about. Here are five strategies you can implement at your medical practice today to improve or add to your existing retention plan.
1. Personalize Patient Experiences
Medical environments need to be sterile to protect the safety of patients and staff, but your patient experience should be as far from sterile as possible. Undergoing a medical procedure can be overwhelming and scary. Connecting with your patients on a personal level can eliminate any worry and doubt they may be experiencing. A study performed by McKinsey and Company even found that personalized patient engagement can lead to fewer unnecessary healthcare costs and readmission experiences.
Make sure patient experiences go past the physical. Train your staff to address patients by their first name and to acknowledge the family and friends that come with them. A personalized patient experience continues after patients check out. Follow up with patients within a week of their procedure to check on their recovery. The gesture alone shows that you care, but it is an added benefit to your medical practice to learn about any post op complications. Don’t forget to thank them for choosing your medical practice over others.
2. Prioritize Cleanliness
Your facility should be as welcoming as your staff. Cleanliness is often used as an indicator of quality of care in a medical facility, but it goes further than peace of mind. Prioritizing your cleaning efforts can reduce hospital acquired infections and help you to pass accrediting audits.
That being said, your janitorial provider or staff should be cleaning for health first. This includes disinfecting high touch areas, using approved equipment and chemicals for a medical setting, and establishing expectations for quality control. We recommend meeting with your janitorial provider every month, even if it is just a phone call, to discuss how services are going.
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3. Standardize Your Experiences
If you have multiple locations, customer experiences should be the same at each. Accomplishing the same look, feel and experience at each location is a challenge and will require standardized training. Think of a standardized experience as an extension of your company’s brand. Every aspect of your patient experience should align with your company goals and mission.
Handbooks and guides can help you to accomplish a seamless experience across the board. So will mandatory online training courses. Holding your team accountable is easy when expectations are recorded and shared with everyone.
4. Educate Your Patients
Patients are often afraid and overwhelmed because they don’t know what to expect. Educating your patients on their in-patient and post-op experience will make them more confident in you, and the overall experience. Educating patients on a one-on-one basis is a great start, but consider taking the conversation online.
Patients are going online to do research and this leaves room for misinformation to creep in. Why not post credible information that your patients can find directly from your website’s blog? You can begin by answering all of the frequently asked questions your staff receives. Creating PDF guides and filming videos of patient testimonials can also help to ease nerves. For example, our customer Loma Linda University Health does an excellent job of sharing patient stories and outcomes that inspire hope on their blog. Our customer Inland Surgery Center on the other hand does a great job of making pre-operative instructions available on their website. Both strategies are a great way to educate and build deeper connections with patients.
5. Survey Your Patients
The best way to learn how you can improve patient retention is from your patients themselves. Surveys give your patients an opportunity to honestly share their thoughts about their experience. Be sensitive to negative feedback and determine how you can make improvements accordingly.
Patient surveys can be administered via text marketing, email campaigns, or can be made part of the checkout process. To encourage patient participation, consider rewards or discounts as an incentive. Make your surveys engaging my including scales, multiple choice, images, and by providing a space for customers to elaborate on their experience freely. If a patient’s responses are positive, consider asking them to leave a Google review. Better yet, ask if they would be willing to film a video testimonial.
Patient retention takes consistency and creativity, but it is worth the effort. To keep your patients coming back:
- Create personalized experiences they can’t get anywhere else.
- Prioritize cleanliness and work with a cleaning provider that is experienced in medical cleaning.
- Standardize the experience at all of your locations.
- Educate your patients and make resources available online.
- Survey your patients for feedback.
If cleaning services are missing or lacking in your retention plan, we are happy to help. You can contact us here or call us at 888-540-0828.