How to Reach New Patients – The Biggest Mistakes You Can Make
Today patient considers the Internet as the most trusted source for health information. People are able to find everything they need online and healthcare industry is not excluded. How to reach new patients online?
- 80% of Internet users go online to find health-related information.
- 95% of physicians use the internet to find information about diseases and new innovations to refer their patients.
- 75% of users with chronic conditions used online research to decide a treatment plan.
In our research at the GCR of 1000+ medical clinics with a GCR Score of 3 or above, For every 100 patient leads that a clinic receives online, they get an average of 29 telephone leads and approximately 6 people who walk into the clinic directly to ask about having treatment.
The success of booking these patient leads varies from 50% down to less than 1% depending on how good the clinic is in building a relationship with the patient, and proving that the clinic is the right choice for that particular patient.
How many potential patient leads does your clinic manage to book per day?
If your number is lower than you want, here are some of the reasons why you may not be doing as well as you want with reaching new patients, and ideas on how to get more patient bookings in your calendar.
#1 You don’t contact the patient
The #1 mistake in clinic is never contacting potential patients after the first time they contacted your clinic.
You or your team are too busy, don’t have the time, too afraid, don’t like calling patients or simply don’t know what to say. – CONTACT THAT PATIENT!
48% of all medical clinics that they GCR has surveyed don’t reply to patients who contacted them. ALL you have to do is contact the patient just once and then you’re at least better off than the 48% of clinics who don’t!
I don’t care what you say or if you don’t know what to say yet – CONTACT THAT PATIENT! And the more contacts you can make, the more patients you will actually book into your calendar. They told you they don’t have enough money yet for the treatment – CONTACT THAT PATIENT! They told you they need time to think about it. CONTACT THAT PATIENT! They told you that they are contacting other clinics. CONTACT THAT PATIENT!
Excellence in private healthcare starts at communicating with the patient. You simply cannot improve your clinic if you don’t start communicating better with your patients.
#2 You don’t contact the patient enough
80% of all patients are booked between the 5th and the 12th contact with the clinic. The average clinic doesn’t call the patient back. This is ridiculous. You need to make at least 5 contacts with the patient before you can expect them to have treatment in your clinic.
If you think it’s going to be one, two, three or even four calls, emails or messages you aren’t going to make it. If you complain that you don’t have enough patients, then you’re not contacting them enough. You’re not sending enough emails. You’re not sending enough SMS texts for anyone to know you exist. It’s the same problem for your medical clinic on social media – YOU DON’T EXIST. If you send a Tweet twice a day into a sea of 500 million Tweets that go out every day, you can’t expect patients to notice.
Five to twelve points of contact with the patient, not one or two, is what you need to think for you to gain their trust. You need to rise above the noise of the day, every day.
Your clinics contact with patients need to be on a regular basis. You need volume and you need frequency.
If you want to be fit, then you need to work out and eat healthy every day. The same goes for reaching new patients, the calls , the emails and the contacts must be regular.
Be consistent and regular, there all the time. When your clinic contacts patients with regularity, it will start to increase your clinic reputation and take you out of obscurity. You become dependable, trustworthy and become the clinic that patients respect.
The GCR provides all it’s accredited clinics with an exact plan to handle every stage of the patient journey, contact us today if you need support in how to contact more potential patients regularly.
#4 You don’t contact the patient quick enough
Waiting too long to contact a potential patient is a major mistake I have seen in many clinics I work with through the world. The speed at which you can contact new patients will give you a tremendous advantage against other similar clinics. 52% of patient leads are booked with the clinic who contacts the patient first.
Why would speed be so important to your patient? Speed is certainty. Speed is security. Speed says you’re the only clinic for them. When a clinic replies immediately and confidently says, “Visit us. We provide exactly the right care you need” you’re going to want to go to that clinic before the clinic who contacts the patient a few hours or days later and says, “Well, I’m not sure, I think we can help you…”
Don’t wait too long to follow-up with potential patients. If you have their number or email – don’t worry about what to say – CONTACT THE PATIENT.
#5 You don’t use different methods to contact the patient
Lacking variety in reasons to contact the patient is a major mistake. With patients you can’t just keep repeating the same thing over and over and expect them to book into your clinic, they’ll get bored.
It doesn’t matter if you like handwritten notes, it doesn’t matter whether you like phone calls, it doesn’t matter if you like writing emails – this is for them, not for you.
Because you lack variety in contacting potential patients your clinic becomes predictable and runs out of reasons to contact them.
Use everything you can:
- SMS Text
- Video Messages
- Handwritten notes
- Telephone or online calls (always leave a positive message)
- Personal visits (no-one is doing this anymore – that’s exactly why you should do it – see below)
Don’t get too comfortable with the same old methods. Add variety to your reasons to contact patients.
A special note on personal visits:
Doctors or patient coordinators usually hate personal visits to the patient in their home or work, but patients love them!
They are so powerful, if you are dependent on local patients you have to make that investment. You have to be willing to do the things you don’t or other clinics will not or don’t want to do and use the full variety. That is what will show your patient that you are there for them in the long run, you’re caring, you have solutions, and you’re willing to do whatever it takes, whenever it takes, however it takes to get them the treatment they need – use every method possible to stay in contact with the potential patient.
#6 You don’t ask for patient referrals
“Who do you know who also need treatment?” It’s not going to offend anyone. If you provide more value in the medical or cosmetic treatments you provide than the cost of treatment, it won’t be a problem asking for referrals.
CONTACT THAT PATIENT!
It doesn’t matter what you were doing to reach patients two years ago.
You’re not doing healthcare or medical care today, you’re doing PEOPLE CARE.
Build the patient relationship before the patient even enters the clinic, and you’ll achieve greatness in your clinic.
UPDATE: We’re doing a weekly 2 minute video course on contacting new patients that you can watch here.