How to Build Loyal Patients in 3 Easy Steps
I’ve got a quick question for you. Are you a loyal iPhone fan? Or have you pitched your stake in the Android camp? Personally, I’m all about the iPhone. But here’s why that’s important…
While being dedicated to a type of phone may seem like a no-brainer, there are other areas where that loyalty is far more difficult to build.
Take your practice, for instance. It seems like there’s a health coach or chiropractor on every corner. While there’s certainly enough room for all of us to play in the sandbox together, you might be wondering how you can…
- strengthen your relationships with your patients.
- provide an exceptional experience that will keep them in your practice.
- show them that they’re not just a number or a patient file – you really do see and care about them.
All of this ties into building patient loyalty. And what do we know about loyal patients? They stay, and they refer.
But with patients turning more and more to different sources for advice, it becomes even more important that you provide meaningful engagements across the board – from your office, to the phone, to their inbox, and on social media.1
With all the different ways to interact, how do you get started? Here are three great places you can start:
Tip 1: Be a Better Listener
Think of a time when you were out with a friend. The two of you were at a coffee shop or restaurant. You were looking forward to seeing them, but the entire time, they seemed distracted or were on their phone.
How did you feel? Pretty crummy, right? No one likes to feel ignored or brushed off – especially when you’ve been looking forward to hanging out with them.
The same thing applies with your patients. If you’re distracted or disengaged during your appointment, they can feel it. So, if you want to build loyalty, one of the best ways to do that is to show them you’re listening – really listening. Here are two things to consider:
Listen Better During Your Appointments.
As a wellness practitioner, you know that your patients are real people. They’re not just an electronic chart containing a bunch of data points. They’re coming to you, looking for answers and solutions to what’s bothering them. They want to know that you hear and believe them when they tell you how they’re feeling.
One way to show them that you are fully invested in their success is to actively listen to them. I know your schedule can be tight and you just want to get to the point and send them off with their next protocol. But for your patient, what they’re going through is important to them. It feels unknown and scary.
So take a big breath and slow down long enough to really listen. And ask thoughtful questions. Just the smallest amount of compassion and empathy shows them that they’re valued and important to you – something they won’t forget and will be excited to share with others in their circle.
Get Their Feedback.
One sure-fire way to learn what your patients really think is to…well…ask them! Patients are FULL of opinions on what they love, don’t love, and what they’d like to see different in your practice. They’ll appreciate you asking for their opinion which gives them the freedom to make suggestions about how to make the process even better.
A heads up on this though… When you ask them directly for any kind of feedback, it may cause even the most confrontational patient to get shy. So instead, think about sending surveys or patient questionnaires. This will give them time to review the questions and come back with thoughtful responses.
But don’t stop there. Once you receive that feedback, make sure you thank them with a handwritten note. And then, where it makes sense, start implementing their suggestions. This will really show your patients that you genuinely care about what they have to say and that you’re taking it to heart.
Tip 2: Engage Them on Social Media
I know, I know. You keep hearing over and over how you need to be active on social media. But do you know why? Social media is an amaaaaazing way to keep you in front of your patients AND get you in front of new ones (ones you really love!) – for free.
So, find the platform that they’re on, and then get going!
- Upload videos or do Lives that address common questions patients ask
- Stay inside the comments, responding to their questions and likes
- Whether you’re on Instagram or Facebook, be sure to answer their IM/DMs
Consider your social media platform as an extension of your office, and be sure to stay SUPER engaged. This means you also need to share aspects of your life. I’m not talking about posting pictures of your pot roast or having your entire feed be pictures of your pets. But, if you’re on a long outdoor hike or at a nearby park, snap a photo of what you’re doing and post the photo along with a caption about why the view is so special to you.
Your patients want to see you as a real person and relate to you. So, engage them and let them see you.
Tip 3: Let Them Know What You’re Doing for Them
Your patients look to you for guidance and direction with their health concerns. Aside from that, they may have no idea what else you offer, so don’t assume they know! It’s perfectly fine to make a recommendation about something else you have to offer or let them know about what you’re learning – if it will help them achieve a better result or get them closer to their goal.
Maybe it’s letting them know about…
- the new service you’ll be offering very soon
- that free seminar you’re hosting with another chiropractor or nutritionist
- an upcoming community event that’s centered around living a healthier life
- that conference you attended on balancing hormones and thyroid health
So remember – your brain contains a wealth of information and it’s high time you share it with your patients! Even if they don’t take you up on your offer, they’ll appreciate that you kept them in the loop. And if they know someone else who may benefit, they’ll have that information to pass along.
Patient Loyalty Builds Your Practice
Building a relationship with your patients involves more than just putting on a smile when they come in for their appointment. You have an incredible opportunity to build relationships and increase patient loyalty with every single interaction. And when your patients are loyal, they’ll stay with you, grow with you… and they’ll bring others along with them!
If you’re looking for more ideas on how you can build and strengthen your patients’ loyalty, listen to this episode on The Clinical Entrepreneur podcast. It’ll give you quick, easy, and practical ways to start connecting better with your patients today.
1. (n.d.). Patient loyalty and the social media effect – PubMed. Retrieved January 1, 2021, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24228370/