There is a good reason why dentists mail out recall postcards.
Unless you understand that client recall activities are a key success pillar in a health-based practice’s business strategies, you probably are not using them (and limiting your client flow as a result).
In my eBook “Getting Repeat Business From Past Customers“, I assert that the number 1 reason why you have a lot of past clients that don’t return is simply because they forgot about you.
Why did they forget about you? Because they haven’t heard from you.
Most people, professionals included, have a built in base fear of other people not liking them, rejecting them, finding them inadequate, etc. In some, it’s more than a fear, it’s terror.
This and layers of other psychological resistance often keep health professionals who own their own practice, from reaching out when clients or patients have fallen through the cracks. Sometimes its just neglect caused from missing systems that prevent you from staying in touch appropriately.
But that is what you need to do. Communicate consistently and directly.
Dentists knew this decades ago and inserted the easiest recall system there is, a small unobtrusive post card mailed directly to their clients’ homes.
OK, so what client recall actions should you be doing as a routine function in your practice?
1. Check in with your clients BEFORE they fall through the cracks. If you outlined a treatment (or training) protocol for them, call them and ask them how they are doing, how their body is feeling or if they have any questions thus far about implementing their protocols or even doing their homework. If your treatment model is one that does not have them visiting weekly, then more communicating to them is usually necessary.
2. Mail or eMail a birthday greeting once a year that also includes a health message or a promotional offer if appropriate for your type of practice. If they only get this once a year, it’s better than not hearing from you at all.
3. Twice a year, go through your data base of clients one-by-one and find out who has fallen through the cracks over the past 6 months. “Fallen through the cracks” means, they did not complete a protocol, did not fully reach a health goal they were working on with you or cancelled an appointment for unrelated reasons and just never called back. Reach out to them now with a personal phone call. Find out how they or their health is doing. In other words, care about them. Even if they are not able to come back for a visit right away, keep caring about them and make sure you take this next action.
4. Get in the habit, routine, or set up a system for communicating regularly with them via an article (now referred to as blogs) that is timely, appropriate, helpful, educational, uplifting. This can be sent in a regular and routine email. The ideal “regular and routine” in this case is monthly. There is more than one way to stay in touch with your clients and it doesn’t need to be frequent phone calls to find out when they are coming back. In fact, be sure your communication is not about you, but about them. Give them value. Have them feel valued… and not just once.
5. Send out a snail-mail post card just like your dentist does.
There are so many more actions you can take and some that you may prefer to take than the choices above. Those are just to get your creative juices flowing. The key is to start with just one. Then make it a consistent action. That’s when you have a system.
For a more detailed explanation and background on this subject, download the Word of Mount Marketing series here or just the eBook on “Getting Repeat Business From Past Customers”. These are free if you are a current coaching client.
Please do not be so afraid of your inactive/past patients and clients. Reach out because you love them, you care about them and you want their lives to flourish and be proactively healthy, rather than just having an absence of some dis-ease. Your immediate psychological discomfort needs to be less important here than your mission and commitment for your clients, patients and community.
The truth is, people get busy, just like you. Recall methods work because you are re-initiating and nurturing the relationship. Many will welcome and be thrilled that you called or wrote or emailed. They will be grateful that you took the effort to do so. This won’t have the effect of recalling everyone, but that’s not the point. It will have the desired effect on those who do need you if you make this a consistent system in your business.
In the long run, having these classic recall methods in place in your practice will drive your sustainability roots deep and cause your business to be successful and productive for years.