Patient Reward Strategies

by Nancy Hyman

As an increasing number of practices opt to not reward for patient referrals, consider maintaining an active referral outreach and incorporating other areas in which patients may be rewarded.

Ask for patient referrals daily! Prompt the patient at check out by asking how the treatment went. Respond to positive feedback by asking for a referral, and present an offer card, also known as an “Asking For Referral” card. Alternate the referral cards quarterly or bi-monthly to keep patients interested in the process. Coordinate efforts on creation of the cards with corresponding e-blasts, posters, front desk signage, handouts, Facebook announcements, and website drawings.

Assign one or two team members to hand out the referral card. I prefer utilizing the front office checkout team for this task. You may want to alternate the responsible person. To encourage specific behavior beneficial to patients and the practice, design a list and coordinate communication with patients and parents as listed above. Examples include a patient-to-patient referral card alternating with:

  • Oral Hygiene Rewards (for a DDS visit)

  • Refer a Family Member

  • Post Google/Yelp Reviews

  • Wear Practice T-Shirt to Appointment

  • Patient/Parent Email/ Cell Phone Confirmation

  • Like Us on Facebook

Reward patients for completing twice-annual dental visits. To support the oral hygiene rewards program, hand deliver a progress report to parents and mail a copy of the report to the patient’s dentist.

Don’t forget family referrals! Siblings, parents and extended family referrals are not guaranteed. Active patients and parents need to be reminded that family members are welcome in the practice. Be sure to ask initial exam callers if any family members wish to attend as well.

Make it easy for your fan base to post Google and Yelp reviews. Provide instructions via email and an in-office handout along with encouragement to your most enthusiastic patients.  

Engage your patients on Facebook with interactive activities. Consider a patient art gallery where proud parents can post their child’s brilliant art projects. A winner may be chosen monthly or every entry may win a modest prize.

Run an email/mobile phone confirmation drawing annually to update your database. Confirm the email/mobile phone number of each patient and/or responsible party and give the patient a ticket to complete after confirmation. Run the drawing for eight weeks and award multiple prizes monthly such as three $25 gift cards per month.

Rewards programs may be refreshed by supplementing action (arrive on time, good OH, nothing loose or broken, wearing practice t-shirt) for small rewards and larger rewards for in-house testimonials which may be posted on Facebook in a review section and the practice website, dental checkups, etc. Create your announcement with adults in mind or create two announcements – one for children and one for adults. Invite parents to be part of the program.

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