By Concierge Medicine Today, Staff
The promotion of your private-pay, concierge medical practice requires personal interaction with current and prospective patients to create interest in your services, staff and practice. Since “prospective patients” include current patients that may become repeat visitors, promotion can happen inside as well as outside of the practice.
Try some of these tactics to promote your concierge medical practice:
Follow up personally with patients.
You can do this both inside and outside of the practice. When currently practicing concierge physicians were asked, ‘how much time do you spend of the phone each day with patients?’ the results were as follows:
2% – less than 1-10-minutes /day;
8% – less than 11-25-minutes /day;
14% – less than 26-35-minutes /day;
12% – 36-45 minutes /day;
10% – 61-90-minutes /day;
19% – 90-minutes – 3 hours per day.
After patients complete their visit, it is never a bad idea for the doctor or Office Manager to speak with them directly, thanking them and asking if they were satisfied with everything. You can also follow up on customer service issues at this time as well. For example, if patients fill out a comment card and leave negative comments, you could call them to apologize for their negative experience and offer to make up for it next time by fixing the problem and giving them a discount or something of ‘unique value’.
Make friends using THANK YOU notes ….
It’s old-fashioned but everyone loves to be thanked. The best part is, a person ALWAYS reads them and it goes a long way the next time you come up in conversation with friends, family, co-workers, etc.
Pitch to local companies.
You can speak personally with the human resources (HR) managers or appropriate personnel at any companies or factories that are in your local area to see if they are interested in setting up an appointment or having you host an educational (topic-focused) meeting or event at their company.
Contact local organizations.
Ask the chamber of commerce or the convention center for a list of contact information for organizations, such as service organizations, unions, political organizations, etc. Call them and tell them about your practice.
Keep Magazines Up-to-date.
If you are one of the rare private-pay, retainer, direct care of concierge doctors that still uses a waiting room, there is nothing worse than outdated magazines on your table. Be sure to subscribe to the latest health and wellness magazines and be sure your staff tosses out anything older than last month.
Be friendly, not pushy.
Whenever you are talking to a prospective patient, show excitement about what you have to offer, smile and be easy-going. If they are not very receptive of your new service offering, do not irritate them further.
Train employees in personal selling.
Any employee of your medical practice can and should be involved I ‘selling’ your practice. Train your service window or front-office team as well as all of your back-office staff to engage patients with a smile. Encourage them to smile when they talk to someone on the phone. Believe it or not, people on the other side of the phone can tell whether or not you’re enjoying what you do when they talk to you over the phone. Additionally, provide patients with business cards (preferably with print on both sides and a low-risk offer) on promotional services, events, etc., which they can distribute to their friends, family and co-workers. This will help boost sales, and it will also increase your employees’ enthusiasm tremendously if they are truly excited about your practice also.
Use good body language.
Any time you are in public (i.e. when patients are in your practice facility), you should represent your practice with your image. White coats, professional, clean-cut hair-styles, etc., are just one way to do this. It’s important to use good body language and sit up straight when you talk to people. Make eye contact, smile and do not cross your arms or put your hands in your pockets. If you are talking to someone on the phone, remember to smile while you are doing it, because the smile will come through in your voice.
Get involved with the community.
The more activities you are personally involved with, the more people you will meet. Almost every person you meet is a new potential patient. You do not need to turn your whole social life into a sales pitch, but you can make a point of good-naturedly mentioning your practice to friends and new acquaintances – particularly on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Single-Serve Coffee Brew Stations Making Big Impression With Concierge Patients
Occasionally you might run out of the house without your hot cup of tea or favorite blend of coffee at your side. If you’re like me, you love the convenience of a fresh, cup of tea or coffee when you’re running late.
The Keurig K-Cup coffee makers and other single-serve and pod coffee/tea brewers have come into businesses with a flury of excitement over the past two years. Patients spending any amount of time in your office will appreciate the convenience and employees of concierge medical practices love the easy, no mess — clean up they provide.
Use Facebook “CHECK-IN” At Your Practice
Virtually every brand and business today has a Facebook Page. Unfortunately, medical practices are one of the last to adopt-a-page and jump into the social media-sphere. As most people are looking to fill idle time with smart phone usage, few medical practices have made their Facebook Business Page “local.” All that practices have to do to make their Page “local” is to add an address to their Facebook Page settings.
Once an address is added, Facebook users will be able to check-in by either tagging their location in a post or by navigating to your page and clicking “check-in.” Note that users must be within a certain radius before the “check-in” button will appear. tip; Make sure to change your Facebook Page “type” to “BRAND” or “LOCAL BUSINESS” in order to enable users to check-in. Otherwise, some Page types will not have an option to add an address.
Next Step, Prepare A Tablet Strategy For Your Practice
More and more people are using tablets like the iPad to surf the web during business hours, waiting rooms, meetings and at home. Searches among tablet users have increased exponentially in the past year and more PR agencies and small business promoters are encouraging business owners to stay updated in the latest technology trends by creating web sites, blogs and geo-targeted advertisements specific for tablets. This also includes the use of videos. So, while creating a tablet marketing strategy for your practice might seem like a time vacuum, it would be wise for you to consider talking to a web professional to help you prepare for the next phase in social connection.
Earlier Hours Inside “Modern” Medical Practices Becoming The Norm
If your mornings are anything like mine, you prefer to schedule the majority of your health exams and check-ups right away. Infact, the earlier the better! I’ll take the first possible appointment or even the second visit of the day because I know that I that my physician(s) are revving up for a busy day — and they and I, need to get our day moving.
I’m a big fan of practices which cater to the patient with hours starting at 6:30am or even 7am. Just last week, I visited a few into a concierge practice in North Atlanta area and was pleasantly surprised at the early morning or after 6pm appointments they’ve made available to their patients every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.
Refreshment Service Tips For Your Concierge Practice
- Keep a fresh assortment of tea and coffee flavors — don’t limit your lobby coffee maker to one or two flavors.
- Have one of your staff monitor the water tank twice a day (or more, in some cases) and fill the water tank with filtered or distilled water routinely.
- Use throw-away, to-go cups with lids. Lids show that you’ve gone the extra mile to provide convenience for your patients — plus, it helps prevents spills around the office!
- Don’t bring out the old coffee mugs from the break area.
- We all know the health factors that go along with drinking soda. Because you’re trying to promote good health, only in rare circumstances, offer soda to your guests if they ask for them. Have them chilled inside a small refridgerator in your lobby or in the break room.
- Have chilled, bottled water readily available for your patients.
- As many people are aware, this type of boutique medicine or direct relationship medical practice delivery model concept is still relatively new. The greatest amount of data compiled to date on the loyalty or renewal rates of concierge medicine patients year after year tells us that these practices have an annual renewal rate of about 90.%. Additionally, these types of practices are mainly considered Hybrid business models, which means these doctors and their offices accept insurance and charge an annual retainer fee to their patients for enhanced access. This number is based on data from approximately 100,000 patients nationally.
- Retention figures inside concierge medical care practices have proven consistent since the year 2000 but Concierge Medicine Today sources have informed us that these retention numbers are slowly declining due to one major factor — some doctors are over-promising and under-delivering. This inturn, leaves the patient unsatisfied. On the positive side, these patients leaving their concierge care physician are overwhelmingly still choosing concierge-style medical care — albeit just from a another physician in their geographic area.
- Long term data on these particular kinds of patients is currently still being compiled but our data supporting the cost effectiveness and affordability of these healthcare models is intriguing. According to various physician journals, a patient will remain a patient of a traditional primary care doctor in a typical family practice or general medicine practice, barring an altering event (like a geographic move, death, loss of job, or other unforeseen circumstance) for 5-7 years.
- Based upon the data listed above, it appears that retainer medicine or boutique physicians that have a long, relational-history with their patients are reporting higher retention levels that exceed traditional primary care and family practice expectations. This data combined with the fact that this model of medicine provides for closer communication and relationship with people — we expect that the majority of patients will continue to remain with a retainer-based practitioner even longer than seven (7) years.
- The information provided here gives more evidence that these types of medical practices are not just for the deep-pocketed executive. In fact, we have recently learned that over 50% of these types of healthcare consumers make a combined household income of less than $100,000 per year.
- All of this data should be very encouraging to the public, as well as the practicing physician anywhere in America. This concept, initially thought of by many as healthcare for the rich — is now accessible and very affordable for couples, seniors on Medicare, young families and individuals.
To learn more about the benefits and services concierge physicians provide to their patients, go to Concierge Medicine Today’s patient education and resource center at http://www.ConciergeMedicine101.com.