How to ensure your current dental patients are generating referrals

July 21, 2016

Are your current patients talking about you? How can you start getting your current patients to refer more of their friends, family and co-workers?

Are your current patients talking about you?

Believe it or not, but many times you don’t even need much-just a good patient referral system. This, coupled with quality work and great customer service and bam: You have yourself a pipeline that will produce quality patients.

So how can you start getting your current patients to refer more of their friends, family and co-workers?

Trending article: 3 myths about getting referrals for your dental practice

Assess the types of patients you already have

Take a look at who they are and their backgrounds. Look at the patients coming in this week and note who is friendly, if they have the type of insurance you would like to see more of, or if they are the type of patient you would like your practice to have more of.

Once you’ve done that, make these patients the main priority from whom you you will get referrals.

When your patient comes in for their appointment, seat them five minutes early in the operatory chair; early enough for them to pull out their phone and start using it. Then have the dental assistants or whoever is prepping the room and putting the bib on the patient say, “Hey have you checked in on Facebook or Yelp?” A lot of times these patients say, “oh no I didn’t know you had a Facebook or Yelp.” Ask them to check in, then and there.

This allows the patient’s friends, families and co-workers who are following their social media accounts see that the patient is at the dentist and may remind them that they need to go to the dentist or need some work done. Many dental practices receive a lot of new patients this way, so make sure this is happening!

Related video: How to grow your practice with patient referrals

Make sure you have social media icons around the operatories and waiting room as well, so when the patient is sitting down they are also reminded to follow you on other social media platforms such as your Instagram or Twitter. (If by now you haven’t guessed it, social media platforms are great ways to generate interest in new patients; just create tactical and strategic campaigns and use the platforms that work best for your audience.)

Continue to page two for more ways to garner patient referrals... 

 

What can you do after the patient’s procedure?

Once the patient is done with their procedure, ask them how everything went. If they say, “Everything went great,” then ask them if you can take a picture with them to put on your practice’s Facebook page under “Our amazing patients” or “Our family is growing” (or any other album name that captures those sentiments).

Make sure you feed their ego. Nine times out of 10, they’ll say yes-but be sure the doctor or someone from your staff or your whole staff is in the picture, not just the patient alone. People like seeing the dentist that their friends go to; it makes the patient’s friends more inclined right then and there to make a call to action.

Having the patient’s picture on your social media platform encourages the patient to tag themselves in the picture; this lets the patient’s friends, family, co-workers and whoever is following your patient’s account, know that you exist! They are aware of a great dentist that their friend (an influencer) has and will think of you when they are in dental pain or have dental needs.

Related reading: 5 ways to boost your dental practice's patient referrals

Patient survey without them knowing it

Now that the patient is walking away from the procedure and back to the front office, have them go to the front or wherever the patient has to go to set up their next appointment. When the patient is in the front office, hand the patient a patient survey.  It could be the size of half a paper with two questions on it, such as: “From one to 10 how would you rate the doctor’s service?” or “Have you liked us on Facebook?”

Under the two questions, add a line for your patient to refer a friend or coworker, with space for the referrals’ names and phone numbers. If they put down referrals, give them a gift card from a coffee place with a small amount like five dollars.  

If you see that they did not list any referrals, ask them politely if there is anyone they know who might need a dentist. If they still say no, say something like: “You have good insurance, where is it you work again?” This will fill their ego, which helps them to feel more important as a patient - so now you have a way into their workplace! Knowing where they are currently working can give you a means to do research on their company and see if they have any HR events, company health fairs or lunch-and-learns where they invite outside companies to come in and speak to the employees.

The point is to never have any current patient leave your practice without giving you important information or referring their friends, families and co-workers. Notice how this can all be done within one visit! This should constantly be done with the majority of your patients. It can improve your new patient intake drastically.

Related reading: Sticky Situations: How to ask for referrals without sounding like a salesperson