I own a practice and there is a lot of local competition. I would like to increase customer loyalty to my practice. How can I do this?

I think there are two aspects to customer loyalty. The first is to find out what aspects of your practice make customers happy or unhappy (customer satisfaction). The second is reward incentives.

Customer satisfaction can be obtained through feedback. I know that the response rate is likely to be low and that it will take time and effort to design, send and analyse responses but it the information you get back is hard to get in any other way. It will give you insights into your service that you may not be aware of. You can ask if your patients are satisfied, if would they recommend you to other people, what makes them happy, and what makes them unhappy about your service. A few simple and quick-to-answer questions can be very useful.

I recently had a problem with my phone line that was fixed very efficiently by my provider. They sent me three texts after the problem had been fixed asking me for feedback which I was happy to provide and it took me a few seconds to respond to each text.

You can ask people to anonymously fill out a questionnaire in practice or in the post or send them a text or an email (eamils lose the anonymity). Find out what makes your patients unhappy and fix those issues.

Everyone likes a gift especially if it is a surprise. Consider an incentive system whereby you reward patients that come back to your practice. For example, offer a 5% discount on glasses for a person that returns for an eye examination and purchases glasses, or a gift such as a box of chocolates. Offer similar rewards to patients who have recommended your practice to a friend and that friend has become a patient of yours. It doesn’t need to be a grand or expensive gift but people will remember you for it, feel good and look positively on your practice when they next receive a reminder card from you.

Stand out from your local competition by making your patients feel valued and special and they will choose you again.

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