Four ways to generate more new patient referrals

There are a few simple ways your dental practice can encourage patients to refer their friends and family. They are even fun to try!

Birthday Card

Think about the most recent patient referral that you were sent from an existing patient. More likely than not the reason for the referral, besides a comfortable dental experience, was a foundation of trust that you created with the existing patient. As important as trustandclinical prowessare, the most important factor to consistently generating new patient referrals is to exceed your existing patient’s expectations. Despite the many subtle ways to do this, it’s best to consistently take action.

Here are five proactive ways to generate more new patient referrals by going above and beyond:

1) Call each patient at the end of the day
When was the last time that you called a patient after a simple restorative procedure? Most dentists only call patients to check on them if they presented with an emergency or to follow-up on a surgical procedure. Taking the time to call each patient after every dental procedure, even if they were in for just a Class V restoration, demonstrates empathy and compassion.

More likely than not patients will be surprised by this gesture, and they will tell their friends and family that their dentist calls to check on them. Doing this demonstrates that you value your patients and you are genuinely interested in their dental wellness.

Birthday Card2) Send a birthday card to each patient
Statistics have shown that adults receive an average of fewer than five birthday cards each year for their birthdays. Yours may be the only birthday card they get from a service provider, and that will make an impression. Along with a simple Happy Birthday message, you could include a redeemable voucher for a promotional campaign that expires before their next hygiene appointment.

3) Send monthly emails with relevant pop culture-themed promotions
There is no shortage of pop culture themes to grab the attention of American consumers each month. Why not incorporate these themes in
a monthly e-mail campaign with applicable monthly promotions for your office? Here are a few examples:

During back to school season you can send an email that markets services for families with school-aged children. These include sealants, fluoride therapy, orthodontics, and mouthguards for sports. The week after Halloween you can have a Halloween candy buy-back program. During the Super Bowl you can send a promotional email for a “Big Game Big Smile” promotion to get patients back for teeth whitening. During Hollywood awards season you can send an email that promotes your cosmetic dental services to help patients get that “Hollywood smile.”

4) Ask your patients to leave a Yelp review
Using social media to broadcast how your patients feel about your office is a great way to generate more patient referrals. Jack Canfield, author of “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” says it’s imperative to always ask for what you want. Asking each patient to leave a Yelp or Google Plus review while they are still in the office is a great way to generate online word of mouth. Ensuring that your patients leave a review before they leave the office is critical. You can enter each patient to win free in-office teeth whitening or pair of movie tickets for completing the review. It takes only a few minutes to sign up for a Yelp account if your patients do not already have one. The more reviews that you have, the higher your office will show up on Google.

Iman Sadri

Iman Sadri, DDS, is a cosmetic dentist and writer based in Orange County, Calif.

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