When a patient experiences the sudden realization of just how awesome your practice is…. this is what we call internal marketing. Professional marketers, though, will define it as “inward facing marketing used to motivate all functions to satisfy customers”… boring, right? And since this isn’t Intro to Marketing 101, we’ll just stick with “patients recognizing the awesomeness or value of your practice.” And there is no better place for this realization to happen than when the patient comes nervously (or begrudgingly) through your practice doors for the first time. What better way to convert a patient than to convert his low expectation and fear into a surprisingly satisfied visits? When this realization happens, patients will almost ALWAYS refer. The best marketing in the world pales in comparison to the value of a patient who refers. The starting point in this referral process is to make sure your front desk receptionists, patient services representatives, business associates (or whatever other term you’ve named it) know that they set the tone for interaction and this realization. Now here’s where the secret sauce comes in… It CAN NOT stop there. The vibe has to continue from not only the reception, but to the operatory, to treatment, and to the dismissal.
So, how does this apply to marketing? Here’s one way, have your marketing person (or company, or us…) work with your front desk in creating a complete New Patient Experience. Having someone not so close to how you’ve always done things can help to provide very valuable insight (legend says that Procter and Gamble has, since it’s inception, always had an outside company evaluate its business and marketing every year). So, to borrow from the pros- focus inward to reap results from the outside world. And to add to that thought, once the patient is in your office, you’ve got a captive audience. As a doctor it may be downright impossible to think of it this way.. which is why this responsibility should be delegated to your support staff.
Patients typically have sub-par experiences with average practices. Seldom are they blown away by a purposeful new patient experience, and even less do they Develop Report at the Door. Both of these strategies should be at the core of your Internal Marketing strategy and each will help in creating marketing opportunities within the office. Follow us for more on Internal Marketing in this 3 part mini series. After that, we’ll briefly tackle external marketing. If you’d like more information you can contact us for a complimentary consultation where we can discuss putting together an Internal or External Marketing Plan for your practice. 2016 is right around the corner and your new plan should be in place by now.