Building a Patient Referral Program

A referral is still viewed by consumers as the most trusted source when making a buying decision.  Word-of-mouth, testimonials, a referral, can be delivered  face-to-face from someone a consumer knows or even online as a customer opinion or feedback. As ReSound marketing leaders put it at our recent Summit in St Paul, Minnesota, “A patient referral is the very first form of social marketing!”

Here are 4 simple steps to get started on your own practice referral program:

  1. Formalize the program: develop support materials, train and align staff
  2. Create business size referral cards
  3. Develop “talking points” when presenting the program to your patient
  4. Send out “thank you” notes when someone refers.

Here are key elements from successful patient referral programs to keep in mind:

  • Make sure everyone in the office is participating and enthusiastic.
  • Asking for referrals can seem daunting to most – consistency and practice are key to building a comfort level.
  • It must be a ‘formal’ program – complete with support materials.
  • Patients do not need incentives to refer but saying “thank you” is required.
  • Take a step back and look at who is referring – what does this say about your practice?

Another key element to a patient referral program is building a repository of patient testimonials . Again keep in mind that although the way that patients engage with your brand is different today, consumers still rely on word-of-mouth or a recommendation from a friend for their decision making. Showcasing real testimonials from patients is a great way to tap into this mind set.

  • Print and on your website. Use a quote in a bubble that is easily scanned. Remember quotes with a picture and full name are more impactful. Note: if creating a separate testimonial page or piece, be sure to include clear Calls-to-Action to allow the potential patient to easily contact you.
  • Encourage customers to provide feedback and testimonials on Facebook.
  • Video testimonials. Best practices for creating video testimonials include: record in-office, provide the patient advice and instructions, short video clips work best.  You can use the videos on your website or Facebook and even develop contests to drive views or drive new video creations.



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