7 Ways Physicians Can Grow Their Business by Creating Fans
As a physician, you probably think you’re in the business of helping your patients. Well, that’s true. But, as a practice manager or business owner, you also need to be in the business of creating fans.
If you want to grow your practice, you have to be an excellent clinician. But, that’s not enough. You’ve got to find ways to stand out from the crowd. Nobody remembers the physician that saw them who just gave them some medications for a cold and then left. People remember physicians who do things that are different.
How are you going to go about the business of creating fans? Let’s look at some specific ways that you can succeed in creating fans to help you grow your business.
1. Creating fans starting by identifying “friction points” that your customer experiences and find unique ways to address them.
You could ask patients what frustrates them about going to a physician’s office, but you probably already have a good idea. Here are a few common examples:
- Waiting too long to see the doctor
- Frustration with the insurance company
- Surprise billing
- Difficult to get an appointment
The quickest way to create raving fans is by reducing or eliminating as many of those “friction points” as possible. This may require creativity. How can you make things easier, safer, more convenient, and more fun for your patients?
2. Use “mirror moments” to define your business strategy.
“Mirror moments” are important opportunities for self-reflection. You should do this every time you get a negative customer review or have an employee leave. Ask yourself what you could be doing differently. This requires humility and great insight.
Very few people do this well. The ones who do this best either recognize their shortcomings or continually seek out feedback from others. You have to know who you are and who your company is. Once you know who you are and what your values are, you can start playing the game.
Figure out what parts of the game you can win.
- Can you be the fastest?
- The safest?
- The most fun?
- Can you be more responsive or more empathic than your competitors?
Figure out how you can distinguish yourself. How can you stand out?
3. “An undercover fan” can give you an unbiased view of your customers’ experience.
To identify “friction points,” consider using an “undercover fan.” This can be anyone who you get to go through the entire customer experience in your clinic and report their observations back to you.
Remember, the customer experience starts long before the patient gets in your clinic. Have your “undercover fan” start by trying to get an appointment.
- How long does it take to get an appointment?
- How hard is it to find your office?
- Did they wait a long time in the waiting room?
- What does the office smell like?
- What was their experience with the physician?
- Did they experience frustration with payments?
Be prepared to hear some uncomfortable observations about your clinic. But, take heart when you realize that they’re all things you can fix.
“Normal” gets normal results. Don’t be normal.
You’ve got to be different.
4. Creating fans involves offering unique experiences.
I remember the orthopedist who signed my leg cast in 8th grade. He signed it, “I’ll be back. – Arnold Schwarzenegger.” Did he set my broken leg better than anyone else might have? I don’t know. I imagine he did it about as well as anyone would. But, I remember the experience because it was different.
That was a fun experience, highly memorable, and it cost him nothing. How would people remember you if you did something that was different?
- The doctor who sings to his patients?
- The guy who always tells a “dad joke”?
- Maybe you’ve got the wackiest scrubs anyone’s ever seen?
Offer patients an opportunity to promote you by giving them a story to tell.
5. Amplify yourself!! Amplify things that energize you.
What gets you excited? Is it empathically listening to patients? Being the “funny guy”? Take the things that are exciting to you and do those things bigger, better, faster, funnier, or more creatively than everyone else.
Focus on the best parts of your personality as you look for ways to make your business more remarkable. What do people already enjoy about you? Ask your staff and patients for their ideas.
6. It’s important to learn from outside your industry if you want to be creating fans.
Someone else in your industry may have already done it better than you, but you can at least do it differently. One of the best ways to do this is by learning from people outside your industry. This is why many businesses like to hire at least some of their staff from outside the company. Fresh perspective is invaluable.
Someone coming from another industry may be able to teach you things you never considered. Don’t just observe the best marketing from some other physician’s office in your area. Look at the best marketing campaigns nationally and figure out what’s different about them.
7. Involve your team in the process of creating fans.
Cultivate a team culture that encourages new ideas and out-of-the box thinking. This can be formal or informal. You can have a “suggestion box,” but that’s really too passive.
People need to be actively encouraged to give you ideas. Sit down for brainstorming sessions. Have your leaders talk one on one with team members to get ideas. Celebrate ideas, including the ones that fail. Make it part of your company’s core values that you are constantly innovating.
If your business is based on referrals, you need to be creating fans! If you have “superfans,” you’ll never need to ask for a referral. Don’t just create awareness! Create fans! Marketing campaigns fail when they are not creating fans.
Remember, people talk about things that are different. If it’s not remarkable, no one will remark on it. Give your patients a story worth telling, and they’ll tell it. Be a great physician, but don’t just do what everyone else has always done.
- Listen to the companion podcast episode with Jesse Cole.
- Specialists, if you want great referrals, treat your referring providers well
- Joy: It’s a Choice
- How to Maximize Your Patients’ Experience in Your Practice
- How to Find the Right Team Members to Make Your Business Boom
Please leave a comment below! What’s your biggest takeway?
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