Referral marketing is the most powerful way to reach the right people. Reaching the needy at the right time will let you unearth your phenomenal potential. To increase the success rate of any healthcare institution it is important not only to have high quality resources but also to have highly contributing referral partners.
There is a very apparent and demanding paradigm shift in the way people are approaching healthcare institutions and also in the way healthcare institutions are approaching people. Referral Marketing has a very vital role to play in this shift. Contemporary yet conventional marketing strategies are followed by healthcare institutions but the power of contacts in each physician’s clutch bag still remains untouched. Referral marketing is all about optimizing the connections you build in your fraternity. Building a highly functional yet professional ecosystem and putting it in place to serve your best interests/capabilities can work miracles.
Referral marketing will make you recognizable for your specialised services among your fraternity. Your referral partners are a subset of your competitors and counterparts, building the right referral nurturing system will push your competitive edge forward. Now take a wide view of how to flag off the process, take it forward.
1. More than 60-70% of the business is through referrals
The power of referrals is so strong that even without putting any intentional extra efforts in generating them and making them work, they have worked wonders for you. Yes, even if you haven’t invested enough in referral marketing in the past, the major composition of your patients have been through word-of –mouth. People choose their solution provider after a lot of speculation; they look for the availability of the provider in various spheres and the only information they fish for is whether they can expect high quality treatment and invest their trust in that professional. There is a need to connect your specialised services to the ones who actually need them. These connecting bridges are called referral partner, they are the people who talk about you to people who need to know about you. These referrals have been the mere messiah of steering highly specialised needs towards you. So it is high time that you recognize your referrals and nurture these referrals.
2. It is all about relationships
Referrals are driven through relationships. Referrals are created when you strike a rapport and involve yourself in converting it into a long time relationship. The process from getting to know to getting to be the well known is going to make all the difference. This is where networking helps, socialize enough with people from different parts of your fraternity. Have excellent connections with your co-professionals and their co-professionals, attend number of conferences and gatherings that includes your fraternity members. Let your prospective referrals know about your capabilities. Narrate your success stories, if possible provide detailed case studies about how you achieve a break through in those complex cases. Let them know about the difference that you can make through your cutting edge infrastructure and hard earned experience. Realise that for people to refer you they need to trust you and the investment of trust can be achieved only through effective communication.
3. Choosing your referral partners
Choose your battles to maximize your wins. Recognize the right people who can drive you to your desired results of having patients with needs that align with your area of specialization. Your referrals come in three categories Doctor-to-Doctor, Patient-to-doctor (patients refer you in their circle) and employees-to-doctor (Employees refer you to patients).These are the right fibers you need to spin into a yarn. A right team of referral is the one that hears and is ready to spend time and energy for you. Choose the right team that can probably hear your word and spread the same. When your chosen set of doctors, patients and employees trust your service they will propagate your worth without leaving a void in any sphere that has patients waiting for your expert care and attention. So make your presence and your capacity known among these three groups in your near reach and help them communicate well to win the trust of prospects.
4. Plan the process of nurturing your referral partners
Once you have chosen the referral partners to propagate your brand and its capabilities, it is essential to map the way you are going to tune these relationships. Optimum use of your referrals can be done only when you have planned when, how and in what ways you are going to remind them about your existence. Have a structured way of moving ahead with your referrals to etch your image of goodwill in their mind which is critical for a successful referral system. Periodic reminders about the next health check up, Lifestyle Training Sessions with their near & dear ones, Greetings on birthday & anniversary can be a regular way of reminding them that you are actively on your way of providing expert healthcare services. Reach your referral partners through the online medium too, send regular e-mailers and other pieces of information about how you and your healthcare business is progressing. Through this you will become their top most pop up when they think of an alternative provider for their patients.
5. Evaluate and re-evaluate the process
Receiving a patient through referral partner is just an initial sign that your process is headed in the right direction. Now go back and track your most active source of patients, work on them based on the quality of needs that referred patients came with. Prioritize your referral partners spend more time and energy on the referral partners who make you yield better. Concentrate on the ones that have enabled you to use your best ability and best resource.
Evaluate the methods through which you communicated to your referrals, categorize these methods based on how much impact they made in your referral partners. This will help you zero on the best method to nurture your referral partners.
Analysing the process of coordination you followed will lead to best decisions on the process you are going to follow. Poor referral partners will further lead to leakages in your system built through great efforts. Hence, back track the places where you lost patients through leakages in your referral communication systems. Fix them right to accurately map the road ahead in the process of re-nurturing your referrals. Always remember that re-building the system is as important as building it.
6. Deliver your promise
As we know that receiving patients through a referral partner is not the be all and end all of the referral marketing process. To keep your referral partners active and satisfied you need to be prompt at delivering your best services to your referrals. Remember that your referral partner is putting his reputation at stake while diverting a patient to you. So only when you put in best efforts to serve your referrals your referral partners will be in a content position to provide you more referrals. Only when your referrals are happy with your service, your referral partners will have their quotient of trust-worthiness increased. Nurture your referrals to nurture your referral partners.
7. Referral partners can amplify your reach
You may be proactively planning different activities, events, healthcare service packages and other welfare programs to establish yourself as a strong healthcare brand. When your referral partners are tuned to your promotion activities they not just hear you but amplify the your reach. When your referral partners are well informed by the new treatments, services and other resourceful happenings in your healthcare organization they tell their patients about the same. This in turn will pull more people for that specific service.
8. Increase the number of referral partners
Once your system of referral marketing is functioning in full swing, the next step to move ahead is to increase the strength and momentum of the process. To receive better results, you’ll have to accelerate your the process. Set the planned process in action and increase the performance levels of your referral partners by constantly encouraging them through your periodic reminders. And keep fishing for more referral partners, to maximize your reach and make use of your best capabilities. When you increase the count and quality of referral partners you also do so with referrals.
9. Referral Marketing is not an instant mix
Referral marketing is not an instant method adopted to boost your patient count, waking up one fine morning to see your appointment requests overflow is not the desired output. Rather, referrals will guarantee you and your institution a deep rooted & wide spread scope but this process takes a while to initiate. In order to make referral marketing work for you, you need to have your will set. Because, catching right patients needs great patience. First let your name whirl in the wind for a while, till it wins every cloud that is crying for your service.
Once your referral marketing system is set in place, it starts giving you the desired results and helps in accelerating your business.
Referral marketing is the way ahead to strengthen your patient count. Spending adequate amount of time and energy to form a system that helps you evolve as a service provider will meet the fundamental goal of your healthcare institution, to touch lives and save lives.