Have you ever given any thought to franchising? Some of the most successful companies don’t expand by building more stores. They sell franchises.
The franchisor sells a recognizable name with its accompanying goodwill.
The franchisee buys a system. He/she pays handsomely to use the names, and proven systems of such companies as Hardees, 24-Hour Fitness, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Baskin Robins, or One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning.
Those systems provide consistency. Consistency in product and service, and consistency in customer contact, including marketing.
The power of frequency
Every media sales representative will explain the importance of frequency of repetition of your marketing message. They’re right. A message not repeated is quickly forgotten. But, a dozen repetitions in a single day followed by four weeks of no contact is also quickly forgotten.
Consistency of message is as important as consistency in customer service. Or patient care.
Consistent high frequency of contact creates top of mind awareness. It increases the odds that when someone thinks “dentist,” Dr. Cuspid’s name is the one that comes to mind. Whether that person needs dental services herself, or is being asked for a referral, he/she thinks of Dr. Cuspid. Top of mind awareness is effective even when the person has no first hand experience.
But consistent frequency doesn’t necessarily mean buying more ads.
Create a system
Most practices have used simple tactics to make additional contact with patients. They’ve sent notes, made follow-up calls, mailed newsletters, but they don’t do it consistently. And those efforts are forgotten.
But a system keeps these, and other contacts, happen on schedule. No patient is forgotten. No step is skipped.
1. New patient, referred by a current patient, calls for appointment.
2. New patient receives a new patient information packet.
3. Dr. Cuspid personally calls and introduces himself to the patient.
4. The patient comes in for initial exam, and is warmly greeted by the receptionist.
5. Patient sees framed testimonials from other satisfied patients.
6. Patient schedules second appointment for treatment.
7. The patient receives a “thank you note,” signed by the entire staff.
8. The patient receives a postcard reminder of his treatment appointment several days in advance.
9. The patient receives a telephone reminder the day before his appointment.
10. The patient is greeted by name at treatment appointment.
Are we done?
Doctor Cuspid’s staff also sends a handwritten thank you note, and a coffee cup with the practice’s logo to the patient who originally made the referral. This also happens automatically, because the doctor has a system in place.
Do you have a system for frequent, consistent patient contact? Shouldn’t you?