Relationships work two ways, and the relationship you have with your primary care doctor is a perfect example of this fact. While a lot of attention is given to what patients can do to get the most out of their appointments and maintain a foundation of loyalty and trust with their doctors, doctors must be held accountable as well. Patient retention is an even greater consideration for doctors than acquiring new ones; the more loyalty you build up with existing patients, the more likely they are to recommend your practice to others and give you a positive review, which in turn will generate more patients. Here are four tips any doctor can follow to improve patient loyalty.
Make the patient feel important
Doctors are busy people. That’s no secret. However, the worst thing a doctor can do is make it obvious to their patients how busy they are and barely give them the time of day. It is imperative that doctors treat their patients with respect by giving them the time they need to ask questions and alleviate their concerns. Forbes contributor Micah Solomon suggests putting yourself into the shoes of your patients and making sure your facilities are accessible and the level of care is up to code. Be transparent and sympathetic when diagnosing patients as well- you may become accustomed to doling out diagnoses, but remember that your patient is most likely not an expert as you are. Always explain in detail what you are doing, why you are prescribing a certain medication, and what the patient needs to do after the appointment to monitor their health.
Apologize when needed
Nobody’s perfect, and that goes for doctors too, no matter how educated or experienced you may be. If you make a mistake, such as misdiagnosing or misinforming a patient, then you must be prepared to own up to that mistake. The healthcare industry is unfortunately marred by a stereotype of apathy for patient concerns, so to combat that, always approach patient concerns with sympathy and be ready to apologize, even if you feel that you did nothing wrong.
Ask for feedback
Reviews are an important tool for doctors, who essentially must market themselves as a business, to attract and retain customers. A review can make or break a doctor depending on whether it is positive or negative. First, make sure you’ve developed positive relationships with your patients. Then ask them for feedback, both direct and in a review if they are willing. Your patients will appreciate that you value their opinions and want to improve your services, and others will see that you are loyal and trustworthy with your patients.
Master social media
In the age of technology, a doctor, like so many other business professionals, must also be social media-savvy. Social media is an effective marketing tool that doctors can use to connect with patients and build a brand.