I recently read a great article about how important internal marketing is for a practice; whether the practice is a medical practice, dental practice, physical therapist or chiropractor. Internal marketing is just as important to your marketing plan and your businesses reputation as your external marketing plan.
The definition of marketing is everything involved in the messages that your practice puts out in the public in hope of bringing in new patients.These include your advertising messages, the local reputation of the practice, training programs, your practice slogan or tag-line, brochures, pamphlets, etc.These are considered “external marketing”.Some of the internal marketing of your practice is the physical condition of the building, how friendly and helpful your staff is to patients and those calling, your waiting times, and how clean your practice is, etc. These “first impression” factors can have as much of an impact on your practice as advertising.
Especially in a recession, where your competition is greater, certain factors will influence consumer decisions about what medical office or dental office they would prefer to go to. If the internal marketing is lacking in your practice, so is your reputation for holding onto you current clients as well as your prospective ones.Here is an example.
If you were to walk into your doctor’s office and notice one stain on the carpet you may not think twice about it.However, if you started to see multiple stains you may start to question the reputation of your doctor’s office.If making sure their practice isn’t as clean as possible, you may begin to question whether the doctor slacks on washing his hands too. Therefore, you may reconsider letting him perform a procedure on you.
There is another factor that is frequently over looked and can be the most detrimental to your practices reputation.We just witnessed it in April; that is the outbreak of the H1N1 virus.Cleaning your practice is one thing.Making sure that your patients feel comfortable and at ease that they are in a clean environment will surely keep them from leaving your practice, but have you ever considered the possibility that they might not be safe?
Most of our commonly used cleaning agents won’t kill many of the serious levels of infectious viruses and bacteria like Influenza, MRSA, HBV, HCV, etc. In fact many of those common cleaning agents actually make great breading grounds for those pathogens. Therefore, what do you think would happen if a practice was a target for infecting patients with a virus or bacteria? Do you think people would want to come into that practice again or ever?
I was at a practice a few months back and suspected about 90% of the staff was sick with the respiratory cold that was floating around.Now granted they were taking their precautions not to infect their patients; however, I couldn’t help but want to get out of there, let alone have a procedure done, simply because I didn’t want to catch it.
Now I am not suggesting you should be empting your reserves and go broke on marketing your practice. I am suggesting that you take a second look at your marketing plan. Marketing is the last area you want to cut costs on, both external and internal, because in the end it will affect your practices reputation.
Article written by: Chanel Broersma, MediClean