Patient referrals are one of the best ways to get new patients into your pharmacy. When you get a new patient due to the positive review of another, you know you’ve done your job right. Someone was happy enough with you and your pharmacy to tell a friend and get them on board. That’s a good feeling — one that should be experienced over and over again.
To do that, we’re offering five tips to help you give those all-important patient referrals a boost.
Tip #1: Acknowledge your loyal customers
No amount of paid advertising has the power of word-of-mouth, so make sure your loyal customers know how much you appreciate them. It doesn’t take much to establish a relationship. For example, you have their birth dates on file; send them a birthday card every year. Other popular ways to reward customer loyalty include introducing some kind of loyalty rewards program and offering patient-only deals on retail items.
Tip #2: Offer a referral incentive
Often, customers need a subtle push in the right direction. Discounts are a fantastic motivator. To boost referrals, offer a 10-and-10 promotion: When a patient refers someone else and they become a new customer, both patients receive 10% off their next purchase. That way, the loyal patient is rewarded for referring a friend, the new patient is welcomed into your pharmacy with a discount and encouraged to do the same for someone else. And while that 10% could add up, we’re confident that increasing your number of patients will make up for it… and then some.
Then again, some pharmacies skip discounts and just go straight to cash in hand. Find the incentive that works for your community, then put it into practice.
Tip #3: Take it to the Web
We don’t know anyone who doesn’t check user reviews before trying something new. And if someone is going to read through 1,000 reviews before they buy a $30 toaster, it’s safe to assume they’ll check out reviews of your pharmacy before switching. You need to make sure they have plenty of reading material.
Be sure to ask your loyal customers to leave a review on your social media pages, on Google reviews, and on Yelp. Customer testimonials are great for your website and social media channels, also. And if you don’t want to ask every single patient, feel free to put a sign on your counter or slip in a small flyer with their prescription pickup.
Tip #4: Aspire to educate
Your social media channels can be more than just a spot for photos and store hours. It’s a platform, and you should use it to do some good. Speak on medical and drug-related issues, either through posts or videos. Educate your community about the pharmacy industry and be transparent about what you face daily. Be relatable, and people will relate to you. Plus, if your content is informative and relevant and not obviously promotional, it’s entirely likely people will share it. When they do, they spread the word that your pharmacy is knowledgeable, trustworthy, and cares about its community.
Tip #5: Show your appreciation
When a patient refers someone else to your pharmacy, they are stepping outside their obligations as a customer. They are making an extra effort to share your business with others, taking some of the promotional responsibility out of your hands. We think they deserve some gratitude.
If you find out that one of your loyal customers referred a new patient, be sure to send the first customer a thank you note along with a small token gift. Even something as small as “Your next frozen yogurt is on the house!” acknowledges their contribution to the future of your pharmacy.
There’s just something magical about patient referrals. It’s new business inspired by someone’s confidence in your pharmacy’s ability to do what it does. To keep that kind of word-of-mouth coming, just keep going what you’re doing and be sure to show gratitude to the patients who are spreading the word.