“How did you find out about us?” is one of the most important questions to ask.
The long-term success of your dental practice depends upon its sustainability. And you will only be sustainable if you attract a steady stream of new patients.
There are numerous methods used to attract new patients: advertising, local area promotions, social media, mailbox flyers, and, the most effective method, referrals from existing patients. The only way to discover what methods are successful is to monitor the results.
The question of referral source is often asked via the patient’s ‘Medical History’ or ‘New Patient’ form. However, because this information is so important, I believe it is worthy of a short conversation.
When patients are asked “How did you find our practice?” on a form, their answer often reflects where they sourced your address and phone number, while possibly being recommended by an actual person or by becoming aware of you through your external signage.
Patients are not aware of your intention when posing this question. Asking them personally allows for clarification and accuracy.
“Sally, how did you find out about our practice?”
“I always knew you were here but my friend recently came and really liked it here.”
There are a number of opportunities to have this referral discussion with a new patient. The receptionist can ask when booking the appointment, upon arrival to the practice for their appointment or while processing the patient’s payment and next visit at the completion of their treatment. The dentist can have the conversation during their initial seated rapport-building discussions prior to that days treatment.
Your patient questionnaire is ideal to gather basic information. For anything that requires greater understanding and clarification, a conversation is more appropriate.
If you really want to understand where your patients are coming from, welcome them is and ask “How did you find out about us.”