There’s nothing more important to you than your patients leaving happy. But what can you do to make their experience at your practice something they can’t wait to share with family and friends?
A remarkable patient experience is composed of many small interactions before, during and after an appointment. What stands out in a patient’s mind are the little ways in which you go the extra mile for them. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant—just little reminders throughout their experience of how much you care.
Social media is an effective way to take advantage of these opportunities to build trust, exceed expectations, and make patients feel truly appreciated. By incorporating meaningful social media interaction you make it easy for patients to share their experience, turning them into advocates for your practice. And not only that, you continue to strengthen your relationship with them after they’ve left your office, making them more likely to return.
Here are 5 patient appreciation ideas that can help you build relationships while boosting retention and referrals:
#1. Start by Getting Your Entire Team Involved
Any plan to improve practice culture and patient experience has to begin with getting your entire team onboard. As a team, discuss your practice mission and brainstorm ideas on how you could enhance each step of the treatment experience. After all, you know your patients’ needs better than anyone. Make sure each of your team members knows how to represent your practice online and the basics of posting on social media. Check out our sample social media practice policy for an outline of the most important points.
#2. Check In With Patients Before and After Their Appointments
Most practices have an automated email or text message system set up to notify patients of their appointments a few days in advance. While they’re effective reminders, these messages could be so much better with a personal touch. Customize your appointment reminder email or send a separate message telling patients that you’re looking forward to seeing them, and list who to call or write with any pre-appointment questions or concerns. Afterward, send a quick follow-up message to thank the patient, ask if they are experiencing any side effects, and invite them to keep in touch by following your social media pages.
#3. Have a Treat Day
Create an opportunity for patients to come say hello by having a treat day! A week or two in advance, announce on social media a day patients can drop by and get a cookie or cupcake (and a reminder to brush after!). Invite them to bring a friend as well! Remember to snap a few photos throughout the day and share them on your pages. Read our post on guidelines for sharing photos that include patients.
#4. Throw a Patient Appreciation Party
Many of the practices we work with have seen success holding an annual patient appreciation party, such as a picnic, movie, or evening at a local ice skating rink. If you decide to have a larger event like this, it’s crucial to give your team enough time to plan and publicize it in your practice and on social media.
#5. Ask for Feedback
One of the best ways to show appreciation for your patients is to ask them how you can do better. All feedback is valuable, but online reviews are especially important because they can also help build your online presence! You could even scan your upcoming appointments list and select one or two patients per day to ask for a review.
Use social media to occasionally ask fans what one thing they appreciate or would change about your practice, and make sure to always respond promptly to any messages your social media pages receive.
Investing in your patient appreciation efforts is a smart move because it strengthens your practice in multiple ways: retention, referrals, and online presence. Use social media to maintain top-of-mind awareness and give patients a chance to show their appreciation by leaving favorable reviews and introducing your practice to family and friends.