5 Ways to Improve the Patient Experience Through Internal Marketing

Kim Campbell & Suneel Chilukuri, MD

Jan 28, 2022

Where does the patient experience begin? While dermatologists may have a different answer to this question in today’s digital era, most will agree that one of the first patient touchpoints is with your telephone operator.

A person looking for a new physician or health care provider can begin with an online search. If you’ve been lucky enough to visit with a patient, does the relationship end when they walk out the practice doors?

The numerous patient touchpoints before, during, and after a clinic visit allow you to connect with a patient. The strength of this connection influences the likelihood the client will stay with your dermatology practice. By implementing strong internal marketing strategies, you will naturally increase practice success by retaining current patients while also introducing pertinent procedures applicable to their family members and friends.

Internal marketing refers to educating patients on the breadth of services you offer. Below, we discuss five ways you can improve the patient experience through internal marketing.


1.  UTILIZE ENGAGING DIGITAL ASSETS

Dermatology practices can use inexpensive television monitors to educate and improve the patient experience. One can customize short videos utilizing your mobile device to discuss the procedures you offer. You can also ask your aesthetic or medical representatives for digital assets, such as before and after photos or testimonials, to display on your monitors. For example, we utilize Friend Media’s FM stick to easily change the content even while the patient is in the room. If the patient is coming in for a body contouring procedure, we change the display content to educate him or her about neuromodulators and fillers. If a patient is extremely pleased with his or her result, we can change the display to ask for a review. Most often, we have the display showing our last five social media posts, which further encourages our patients to follow our Instagram and Facebook pages. All of this content is easily controlled with a remote control similar to one used for an Amazon Firestick. In addition to providing entertainment and a distraction to reduce anxiety, the displays educate patients on your practice, provide health care tips, promote new services, and encourage internal referrals.


2.  CREATE A PATIENT REFERRAL PROGRAM

When you improve the patient experience, you create a brand ambassador for your practice. A happy patient may tell one or two friends about you and your services. Unfortunately, an unsatisfied patient may tell 50 or more acquaintances or strangers to not utilize your practice. It is simple to appropriately reward referrals. You may consider a gift card for future services to your practice or even gift a synergistic service to enhance his or her current procedure(s). Don’t neglect writing a handwritten thank you note or personally calling to thank your current patient for her referral.


3.  BUILD A USER-FRIENDLY WEBSITE

To improve the likelihood of your practice being found online, you’ll want to have a mobile-friendly website. Customize the overall design to accurately reflect your practice’s brand. Your practice benefits from implementing a search engine optimization campaign by adding short educational blogs once or twice a month. This will help your website rank better and be easily found by potential patients. To make your website easier to navigate, some things to pay extra attention to are webpage loading speed, broken links, and missing pages. Make sure you have an easy-to-use contact form or patient portal to ensure that patients can leave their details to be called back and are able to request an appointment at your office. Don’t neglect asking for Google reviews.


4.  EDUCATE STAFF IN CUSTOMER SERVICE

In today’s fast-paced world, patients are seeking excellent customer service. There are simple things that make the difference, such as inviting patients directly from the reception area to an exam room. To ensure that your practice provides impeccable customer service, implement employee coaching and training sessions so that your team has the tools needed to provide a superior patient care experience. Consider hosting an open forum for staff members once a month to ask questions and provide constructive criticism. The repercussions of a negative interaction with your practice are negative online reviews and word-of-mouth complaints.


5.  MAINTAIN AN ATTRACTIVE AND INVITING OFFICE SETTING

Your practice should be an inviting place for patients to visit and for employees to work. To keep guests happy, a clean, organized office is essential. Replace stained roof tiles and rusted trays. Touch up scuffed paint or scratched surfaces. Consider adding personal touches, such as your favorite artwork or photographs. We utilize inexpensive smart devices to control lighting and music in each exam room. By customizing the experience, patients feel comfortable and pampered. Remember to always leave your clients feeling happy; they remember the sensation, not the words.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


ABOUT KIM CAMPBELL

Founder, Dermatology Authority Kim Campbell is the Founder CEO of Dermatology Authority, the leading matchmaking agency for the dermatology market. Dermatology Authority helps practices grow by adding providers, practices, marketing, and practice start-up services. If you are looking to advance your career, Ms. Campbell can be reached at DermatologyAuthority.com or call 800-577-0125.


ABOUT  SUNEEL CHILUKURI, MD

Suneel Chilukuri, Md, Faad, Facms is Director of Cosmetic Surgery and Chief of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery at Refresh Dermatology in Houston, Texas.


ABOUT CLAY J. COCKERELL, MD

Dr. Clay Cockerell is a board-certified dermatologist and a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. He currently sits on multiple boards and committees. Dr. Cockerell is internationally recognized for his contributions to both dermatology and dermatopathology. He is the past president of the American Academy of Dermatology. For many years, Dr. Cockerell has overseen an educational program designed to train the next generation of dermatopathologists. He has served as Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, and he is on the editorial boards of several medical journals, including the American Journal of Dermatopathology.


Dr. Clay Cockerell serves as Founder & Medical Director Cockerell Dermatopathology in Dallas, TX. Since joining the group in 1988, Cockerell Dermatopathology has grown into one of the nation’s most respected dermatopathology practices by always focusing on the needs of referring clinicians and their patients.


He has two children, Charles and Lillian, and he and his wife have been married for forty years. Besides being very active within the dermatology and dermatopathology specialties, Dr. Cockerell and Brenda enjoy traveling, golf, and winter sports.


ABOUT COCKERELL DERMATOPATHOLOGY

Cockerell Dermatopathology, located in the heart of Dallas’ medical district, was founded by Dr. Clay J. Cockerell, former president of the American Academy of Dermatology and internationally recognized dermatologist and dermatopathologist. Cockerell Dermatopathology offers diagnostic excellence and unparalleled service in evaluating dermatologic disorders ranging from the routine to the most difficult.


Cockerell Dermatopathology continues to invest in the future by implementing advanced technologies within the laboratory to best serve referring clinicians and their patients. These new technologies produce higher quality slides to diagnose, improves turnaround time on routine cases, and allows for quicker deployment of EMR interfaces.


From an academic standpoint, Cockerell Dermatopathology hosts numerous Internet-based continuing education events and has a 14-headed microscope for in-person training sessions. Cockerell Dermatopathology serves hundreds of clinicians from across Texas, the United States, and abroad. With an accessible team of board-certified dermatopathologists and a highly trained support staff, Cockerell Dermatopathology’s vision is to treat every specimen as if it came from one of our own family members.