Did you know that one of the all-time most popular articles is How to write a Thank You Note? ~Editor
By Michael Tetreault, Editor
Your Patients are the backbone, champions behind your career and the lifeblood of any great medical practice.
Why wouldn’t you take a brief moment of your time to say THANK YOU?
After all, what would you do with out them? A better question, what would they do without you?
Sending a thank-you note after a meaningful conversation with a Patient is one way to set yourself apart as a Concierge Medicine Physician.
Often I pose the question to a Physician … How would your next Patient react or feel if your medical practice closed up and didn’t exist any longer?
Would they miss YOU? Would they notice? Would they even care? Or, would they just shrug their shoulders and move on? What would they say about YOU if your practice closed and there was a For Lease sign in the window?
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2020: CMT Launches The “THANK A DOCTOR” Challenge
The two words ‘Thank you’ are two of the English language’s most elegant words to me. They should be the lifeblood of a Concierge Medicine practice. These two words are words that Doctors everywhere don’t say enough. Think about it. When was the last time you received a thank you note (handwritten) from a Doctor? If I was a patient and got one of these … heck, I’d probably frame it! That’s how rare this is today in healthcare.
These two powerful words, THANK YOU, encourage, uplift and create a remarkable impression on your Patients with the added benefit of increased loyalty. Today, I want to share with you 7 great ways you can show your patient appreciation and say Thank you! to Patients in the future.
1. Send a hand-written card, preferably on your own person, embossed note card sized stationary.
Don’t send an email. It’s just not personal enough.
Despite the digital age, hand-written notes or small cards will always be one of the simplest and best ways to say ‘Thank you’ because it’s personal, meaningful and intentional.
Keep it short.
Hand-written communication will never be out of date but you don’t need to write a novel. Try complimenting an accomplishment or remark on something they may have said during your last visit with them.
It is usually always a small, low-cost gesture, but it means a lot.
Because it was intentional and personal. It shows people that you are listening and that you care.
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2. Make It Personal. Personalize It.
Think back to the conversation and pinpoint what the patient seemed most excited to talk about. Do they have an interests in kids, their dog, hockey, etc?
Try mentioning specific details which were discussed during the last conversation in your note.
Amanda Augustine is a well-recognized expert in career advancement, including offering advice to people on developing one’s professional brand said …
“Thank them for their time and whatever you learned but pay attention to the personal details that came up during the interview,” Augustine said. “If you remember there’s an upcoming vacation or if they’re a huge Yankees fan, don’t be afraid to bring that up. You want them to remember the conversation you had that sets you apart from the others.”
3. Remember birthdays
If you don’t have a record of your staff and Patient birthdays, start making one. Make use of the milestone to show your appreciation and gratitude. Surprise and delight them with an unexpected birthday card in the mail or in-person, or give them a shout out on Facebook to show you’re thinking of them.
4. Support the Fire Station In Your Community With a “Stock the Station” Campaign.
You’re patients will enjoy being a part of an effort you or your staff organize. It’s easy, simple, and charitable. You simply just have to tell them [your Patients] what to buy. Then, you have them drop it off in your lobby.
Here’s a Flyer Concierge Medicine Today put together to help get the ideas rolling that Physicians have downloaded and used in the past.
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5. Send a Christmas, Season Holiday or even Diwali card
Don’t forget big holiday events.
Put your own stamp on the holiday card. Post them in your practice and make sure you provide a hand-signed Christmas card. Adding staff signatures is a nice touch but it actually can work against you. Oftentimes, your Patient may really like you as their doctor but they had a disagreement with one of your staff and that can come back to haunt you.
6. Send them a Thanksgiving card
Don’t forget about Thanksgiving! After all, it is the season of showing and telling the people in our lives we’re grateful for them.
After all, it is an opportune time to show how grateful you are for your Patients. Without them, you wouldn’t be who or where you are today.
7. Write letters of reference for long-time patients, students you may know or who have worked with you in your practice.
Don’t forget this important aspect of personal life. People move on. Patients change jobs, apply for new roles, move, etc.
Maybe a long-time Patient has a daughter or son graduating from college and you’ve known them since birth. Look for any area within our lives that you can … upon receiving a request, write up a recommendation or referral letter.
Steve Green in 2014 said something really great. He said … “Encouragement is never small when you’re on the receiving end.”
If you don’t realize your significance yet in our lives, you’re being entirely too humble.
Consider offering to be a reference for a son, daughter, co-worker, colleague or Patient. Maybe even follow that up by writing a recommendation on their LinkedIn Profile.
8. Have Great, not just GOOD prizes for kids to grab when they leave the office.
Every parent loves it when a visit to the doctors office does not end in a car ride of tears. That’s not fun. I know from personal experience what I’m talking about here. Oddly enough, as I write this today, my wife called and said “That doctor’s office had GREEEAAAAAAAAT!!!! prizes!” And that is exactly how you want visits to the doctor’s office to end. With smiling, happy faces on the kids and the parents. It doesn’t have to cost a lot but it will take an intentional and thoughtful trip to the Five Below store.
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Look for pre-packaged items that are one-person grabs from a basked.
For example, individually wrapped and packaged LEGO packs, Beanie Boo’s, Hot Wheels toys.
Kids and parents are resilient but they can often have very long-term memories of how awful the last visit to the doctor’s office was or short term memories about how great the last visit was. Which one are you going to be?
9. Be Generous With Your Time and Attentiveness.
If you get to know your Patient, you get to know what they are doing. You learn what habits and activities they enjoy. Everyone is unique. And, it’s hard to remember them all. We understand that sitting on the other side of you here in your exam room. But, if we were to receive a note from you in the mail a few days later saying something like ‘I’m so grateful you visited the office the other day. I hope your 5K run next month with your friends goes well. Keep up the great work! Sincerely, Dr. XYZ.’
Something like that might seem insignificant and simple, but it leaves a lasting impression. In fact, it might just leave a lifetime impression. And what is a lifetime Patient worth to you?
Remember, ‘Five words from you … [to a Patient], mean more than fifty words about you.’
So, whatever it is, invest into your Patient’s personal development. It could be as simple as a hobby or business topic you discussed. Or, perhaps you both happen to be reading or listening to a book on Amazon and you go ahead and purchase the next book in the series for them and mail it to them with a small note.
These small deposits of your time add up to a lifetime of attentive and grateful Patients.
In closing, be generous in small and large ways and you will reap the rewards for years to come.