I hope you’re all doing well.
If you have a business, your main objective is surely to increase your client base.
More patients equal more profit, right? Maybe. But in most cases, a few loyal patients is all you need for your business to succeed.
A loyal patient is consistent. They’re a consumer who comes back for your services week after week. This is the same person who will rave about you and your business to others. Word of mouth is undoubtedly one of the most powerful marketing strategies.
Teenagers and Pizza
I remember Tony, the owner of the little pizza shop not far from our school, very well. Every Friday, at lunchtime, we headed to Tony’s for a slice of pizza.
As teenagers, we weren’t the most enjoyable or manageable clients to have around, but Tony respected us.
Tony’s restaurant was small, but it was always jam-packed at lunchtime. Most of the time we couldn’t even find a place to sit inside. One rainy Friday Tony surprised us by inviting us to eat our pizza slices inside, in the restaurant’s backroom where he kept the pizza boxes and the fridges. It was more than enough for us! We could enjoy Tony’s delicious pizza without having to get soaked in the rain. For Tony, it was just another way maintaining his customers’ loyalty.
From that day onward, I think our respect for tony increased tenfold. For us, Tony was no longer just “The Pizza Shop Guy,” he was our friend.
What did this experience teach me?
In business, instead of always looking to get more customers, you first have to build meaningful relationships, and make some friends.
The word “friend” is synonymous with respect and trust, and in business, the words “respect” and “trust” are synonymous with loyal customers.
A Patient Who Doesn’t Come Back
There are three main reasons why a patient doesn’t come back:
- They no longer need your products/services;
- They are unsatisfied with the poor quality of your products/services;
- They no longer feel valued.
If your patient doesn’t come back because they no longer need you, that’s all it is, they no longer need you, for now… Keep in contact (communication, marketing, advertisements) with them regularly and they’ll come back to you as soon as the need hits.
If your patient wasn’t satisfied with your products or services, then you’re done for. This patient thinks they paid too much for what you gave them in return. If that’s the case, you’ll have to spend a fortune to recover the image they have of your business. First, try to figure out what isn’t working with your business. Ask your satisfied and unsatisfied patients for their opinions to better understand where you’re going wrong.
If your patient has been with you for a long time, and one day, they stop coming, it might be because they no longer feel as valued as they did at the beginning of your “relationship.” Laugh all you want, but it’s true!
When a couple breaks up, it’s generally because one of the partners no longer feels the love and respect that was established at the beginning of the relationship. Consequence? One of the partners leaves the relationship to find something better elsewhere.
If a patient doesn’t come back to see you, it might be because they don’t feel as valued as they once felt. Maybe they were given bad advice a few times, or a new employee didn’t treat them with enough respect, or maybe you’re not giving them the special attention they deserve.
How to Gain Your Patients’ Loyalty
Here are 7 ways to impress your patients and gain their loyalty:
- Give them more than they asked for. When a patient uses your services, it’s because you’ve promised to deliver them specific merchandise. You want to impress them? First of all, stay true to your promise by delivering a quality product or service, and then, deliver even more than you initially promised. By going above and beyond what was expected of you, your customer will have an incredibly positive experience, making it the beginning of a new relationship. Your customer will say good things about you to their friends and family. I have a friend named Claude who is a professional photographer. He delivers a high quality product to each and every one of his clients. A client generally requests one or two dozen photos on a CD. However, to impress his clients, he provides them with a personalized CD that has at least 200 high resolution photos, small scale copies of the photos for the web, an 8×10 professional quality print in a transparent folder with supportive cardboard, many hours of touching up the photos on Photoshop, etc. In every single type of business, providing extras is an excellent way to impress your clients.
- Work for free. Offer your new patients a free trial, example: first consultation free. If the patient likes your products/services, they’ll definitely come back to see you. Claude told me that his best (paying) clients are those who he offered a free photo session to at the beginning of the relationship. By offering your services or products for free to a new patient, you establish a certain level of trust between the two of you. It’s also a good way to demonstrate your skills and to initiate the relationship with your new patient. By offering something for free, you gain respect.
- Lower your fees for no reason. Why not? Surprise your best patiens by reducing their bill by 15, 20 or even 30%. “Today, for you, dear patient, I’m reducing your bill by 20%. But this is our little secret. It’s a little gift I offer to my best patients.” Who could forget a surprise like that?
- Be a good listener. There’s nothing I hate more than when someone isn’t listening to what I’m saying, isn’t attentive to my needs or gives me the impression that I’m not worth the time of day. It’s the exact same thing when it comes to business, you need to pay attention to your patients. Being attentive to the needs of your patients is a matter of respect.
- Spoil your best patients. Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter… these are all perfect occasions to spoil your patients. After all, they’re the reason you still have a business. Build partnerships with people who will be able to give you discount gifts, for example: concert tickets, gift cards, household objects, etc. By offering little gifts to your best patients, you ensure that they’ll never forget you. Don’t forget to get a gift for you client’s administrative staff.
- Make surprise visits. If you haven’t heard from one of your best patients for several months, pop into their work for a visit. A visit in person, even if it’s just for five minutes, is a great way to rekindle a relationship with a past patient. Avoid talking about business if your patient doesn’t bring it up. Talk to them as you would talk to a friend. Don’t forget coffee and pastries.
- Respect your patient. It’s essential for you to invest a lot of energy in to keeping your patients. Give them your best, be on time, submit your work on time and respect your commitments. Respond to all of your emails and missed phone calls as soon as possible.
I hope you enjoyed this article. See you soon!
I hope you enjoyed this article. Feel free to share your thoughts and comments below.
Take care and see you soon.