Let’s face it. If setting up a dental referral program was easy, agencies like us would probably be out of business.
Think about it. If each of your happy patients told their friends, families, co-workers, neighbors, and complete strangers how great your office was, you’d be turning away an overflow of new dental patients.
So, where the heck are they?
If your referral marketing strategy isn’t producing results, there are some common reasons that are probably holding you back.
You’re not as good as you think you are.
OK, this one may hurt a little, but you need to be brutally honest with yourself.
Are you really delivering a “wow” kind of experience for your patients? People don’t go around raving about okay service, so you need to eliminate all of the negative aspects of your practice and give them only positive things to talk about. Three of the most common complaints from dental patients are long waits, poor communication, and lackluster customer service.
Start with those three areas and you may find the root of your problem.
You’re too modest.
Even if you are a dental rock star, your “above and beyond” efforts may go unnoticed. That can happen when patients have been with you for a long time and have come to expect the outstanding level of service you provide.
It doesn’t hurt to bring the strengths of your office to their attention, and even contrast them with other dental offices. Asking their opinions, whether in person or through a survey, can help remind them just how much better you are than your competition and why they keep coming back to you.
They’re willing, but not able.
More than 80 percent of satisfied consumers are willing to recommend a business to a friend, yet fewer than 30 percent actually do. Part of the reason is because they don’t really have an easy way to make the recommendation and pass along the information for your office.
It’s a good idea to have a solid dental referral program in place, including referral cards your patients can easily hand out. The cards should include the contact information for your office and your promotional offer for new patients. Offering an incentive (that doesn’t conflict with state board or federal regulations) for any of your current patients who refer someone can also give your program a boost.
It’s also a great idea to use a tracking phone number on the cards so you know which new patients called because of your referral program.
Your patients aren’t mind readers.
While your raving fans may be more than happy to tell others about your office, they probably don’t have any idea who is currently looking for a new dentist among their circle of friends.
That’s why it’s important to gather as many dental patient reviews and testimonials as possible and promote them as much as you can. If a potential new patient sees an endorsement for your office from a neighbor down the street, a cousin, or even their hairstylist, they’ll consider it someone they trust and may even reach out to ask more about you and why they like you so much.
What about unhappy patients?
Unhappy patients can sabotage your referral marketing in a hurry. If you do get a bad review, do you know how to deal with it effectively? Download a FREE copy of our guide, Responding to a Bad Review and be prepared to handle it properly.