I was in a dental practice recently and the topic of marketing came up. One of the team members I was training was not only the hygienist in the office but also the doctor’s wife. She wasn’t as interested in learning how to document a perio charting in the computer as she was how to attract new patients. Even though marketing typically isn’t my specialty, she asked me point blank, “What do you think is the best way to get more new patients?” My answer was, “I believe internal marketing is your best way to attract new patients.” I have worked in the dental practice for more than 20 years and our best patients come from referrals from other patients. Next, she wanted to know how to reward patients for referring. I replied, “You live in a small community, so what about giving your referring patient a gift card from one of your local merchants? It is a win-win. You have a new patient in your chair, your referring patient has some money to spend, and your local merchant will be happy that the money is staying in the community. You might even get some referrals from the local merchant.”
These conversations led us to the amazing feature in Dentrix that allows your office to not only track referring sources and referring patients, but also the gratuities you give to your referrals. If you offer a gift card to the local spa or hardware store down the street, you can document in the patient’s record the date it was given, the type of gift card, and the dollar amount. This will provide you with a comprehensive report of your most frequent referring patients. This will also work with referring doctors. If you are a specialty office and you rely heavily on other dentists referring to you for treatment, it is extremely important for you to acknowledge and thank those offices. At the end of the year when you are preparing your gift baskets, you can easily see which of your referring dentists will be receiving a box of goodies.
Whether you are a specialty office or a general practice, this is a great way for you and your team to not only track your referrals but how often and how much you are rewarding them. This is another one of the nonverbal ways in Dentrix to communicate as a team and help build the relationships between our patients and referring doctors.