“During the busiest social gathering and story-telling season of the year, the topic of healthcare will come up multiple times! What *story* are your patients going to share with their co-workers, neighbors, family and friends?! These are potentially your future Patients. The stories are endless but bottom line, you need to leave your Patients with a positive story to tell this holiday season about you! Why? Because the best Doctors of our future are going to be the ones that start to see their Patients as their friends and the more personable you are, the more remarkable you will become!” ~Editor, Concierge Medicine Today/Host, The DocPreneur Leadership Podcast
By Editor-in-Chief, Concierge Medicine Today
Revised December 2, 2022. Originally Written OCTOBER 12, 2015 – ‘Tis the season to drape your practice exterior signage (if permitted of course!) and office lobby in greenery, bring out the freshly cut tree and box of decorations, the twinkle lights and hang your “LIVE” Christmas wreath that brings the scents of pine into your practice on the door! It’s a time to get ready for the onslaught of your many happy holiday patients who can’t wait to share with you their latest ailment and holiday plans as well as their New Year diet resolutions.
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So as busy patients are out and about in your local community and now scurrying around to get their holiday shopping lists completed and fill those last-minute prescriptions before the crazy Uncle comes to town … that’s where you and your team come in.
You see the holiday season is an ideal opportunity for you to leave an impression on your Patients before they begin ‘talking’ about you to their friends and family at multiple social gatherings in the coming weeks.
Because word of mouth marketing is planned, of course!
Patient referrals don’t happen by accident. And when the topic of healthcare comes up, what are your Patients going to say about you?!
You see many of your Patients are probably going to work parties, social gatherings with neighbors and have friends and family that live and work in the area. If those people are not your patients in December, they just might be your patients in January.
You see you and I both know that some of the most popular conversation topics at holiday and social gatherings revolve around family, kids, football, vacations and yes, healthcare.
It’s going to come up!
So what story are your patients going to share about you?
This is marketing 101. Just because you’re a Physician doesn’t make you exempt from marketing and public relations communication planning that the rest of the business world already know about and do quite well.
If you are in need of more Patients in the New Year this is a time to ‘make their season bright!’
This is also a time to draw your Patients attention to refilling upcoming prescriptions, book January appointments and renewals and even talk about the healthy menu choices and cooking seminars you’ve been planning to produce inside your office in the new year!
The key is creating enough top of mind awareness during the holidays is to keep your medical practice on speed dial during a time when patients are so easily distracted. We’ve put together four great ideas for the holidays that you may want to also consider.
1. Put A Large Wrapped Box Out In Your Lobby To Collect Canned Goods or Host a Charity Drive
Nothing shows goodwill during the holidays like giving to others. Food pantries in January and June and July always need your help. Additionally, if you’re in a frigid metropolitan area with a large homeless shelter population you may want to consider connecting with a local shelter or non-profit and ask them what supplies they need and then ask your Patients to donate winter jackets, underwear, socks and toothpaste for example every time they visit or are just in the area and driving by.
This is one of the easiest and most charitable efforts any medical practice can do throughout the year, not just the holidays and get your Patients involved. It’s easy to send an email with a supply list and requires very little staff responsibility. Your collection box nicely decorated of course is a simple and easy method for Patients to drop off any donated items throughout the holiday season and beyond. Because space is an issue for medical practice owners, consider collecting smaller gifts such as pet toys for a local animal shelter or hygiene items for a homeless center and put the collection boxes, nicely decorated of course, and positioned in a prominent location where most of your patients will see items being donated in your lobby or waiting area.
We recommend partnering with a locally based charitable organization for any holiday collection drive. Find out what they need and ask for their advice and a list of items you can ask your Patients and staff to start collecting or purchase.
For example, Habitat For Humanity or the Habitat Home Store (if applicable) in your area might be looking for clothing, toiletry items, hammers, etc. Local churches are also looking for partners to assist them in their community with the collection of canned goods, food and other items.
Ask your local area community service organizations and senior centers close to your practice about how your practice can help collect items and drop them off after or during the holiday season. Send a list of these items to your patients by email, in an office flyer, etc.
Ask for support relating to your charity drive by promoting your practice and location through social media and email. You can also share the list on your social media channels.
Food for thought.
2. Hit the Mail But Avoid Generic Holiday Cards with No Meaning
Holiday cards to your patients, drug reps and/or DME suppliers and peers are another great way to encourage referrals towards your practice in the New Year. This not only creates a personal but professional connection with those you trust and work with throughout the year but is also an opportunity for you to write something handwritten in a note that actually has significance and purpose.
Handwrite the address and the note yourself. Avoid generic holiday greeting cards with each employees first name. Get small and personal. Be detailed and specific with what you write.
If you miss the pre-Christmas mailing deadline, New Year’s cards work just as well to send a handwritten note or thank you note to your suppliers, peers and a few professional colleagues you think deserve a little TLC.
3. Amp up Your Patient Testimonials, Online Reviews, Reputation and Social Media
There’s nothing better than a great patient testimonial, am I right? Well, with the holidays upon us, people, especially your patients, typically feel in a generous and giving mood. That being said, they’d probably enjoy writing a sentence or two about you, their experience with your practice and staff on one of the physician review web sites.
It never hurts to ask.
4. You have a Facebook page, don’t you? If not, get one. Now!
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest are thrifty and effective buzz-generating mediums for promoting just about anything, especially good word of mouth referrals. Create Facebook Events for each promotion and invite your friends. Post photos on Instagram of your holiday lights, your office tree, your staff dressed in elf hats, holiday treats a supplier or Patient dropped off or sent, and happy patient photos (with their permission of course first!).
The options are endless but bottom line, you want to leave your Patients with a positive story to tell their friends and family this holiday season. Why? Because the best Doctors of our future are going to be the ones that start to see their Patients as their friends and the more personable you are, the more remarkable you will become!
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DISCLAIMER AND USE: In no event is this information considered medical, legal, tax, financial, accounting or other professional advice (Please see full disclaimer below). This Podcast Is Subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use (https://conciergemedicinetoday.org/tcpp/) and is recorded/hosted by Concierge Medicine Today, LLC. Concierge Medicine Today, LLC., our representatives, agents or employees accept no responsibility or liability for direct, indirect, special, incidental or consequential damages or financial costs or claims made by the Physician(s) interviewed or our guests.