Techniques (You May Not Know About) That Help Build Volume and Referrals

Jan. 31, 2022


By Mike Milligan, president, Legato Healthcare Marketing

If you’ve ever been to Wisconsin, you might have been introduced to a local favorite: the Friday night fish fry. Nearly every restaurant capitalizes on this age-old tradition, but the ones that really “pack ‘em in” have learned that it’s not just about the fish.

My favorite off-the-beaten-path bar and grill draws people in from miles away. Why? Several reasons. They know what their customers want and what it takes to keep them coming back (like having a Brandy Old Fashioned appear before Ann, my wife, and I before we even sit down).

They also differentiate their restaurant from the competition by offering special sides, including their home-made hashbrowns and award-winning tartar sauce. To seal the deal, the servers write a personal “thank you” on your bill and leave a coupon for a free dessert to encourage patrons to leave an online review.

By doing “all of the above,” a small, family-run bar and grill has topped our list for Friday fish year after year, remaining profitable even in tough times like these.

I realize the process for building volume and referrals isn’t quite the same for rural hospitals as it is for restaurants like the Tilted Loon. But no matter who your audience is – whether it’s patrons, patients or providers – you need to do four things to foster growth: know what they want, determine how to set yourself apart from the competition, deliver exceptional service and actively build relationships.

Following are some of the techniques Legato has helped our clients implement to reach their goals around primary care volume and provider referrals.

Techniques to increase primary care volume
  • Maintain consistent outreach:
    • Targeted message via social and digital media
    • Print communications sent to homes
    • Text messages and email reminders
  • Encourage and respond to online reviews:
    • 89% of consumers read organizations’ responses
    • 56% say organizations’ responses have changed their perspective
      on the business
  • Build out your website and patient portal:
    • Remind patients of their appointments via the patient portal
    • Optimize your “Health Maintenance” applications of your EHR
    • Offer online scheduling
  • Leverage storytelling through video, digital and print
Techniques to build provider relationships, referrals and revenue:
  • Appoint an “owner” of provider relationships to:
    • Educate/update providers about your services
    • Onboard providers
    • Identify trends from physician satisfaction surveys
    • Check in with providers to build relationships and make sure their needs are being met
  • Think outside of the box:
    • Identify potential tertiary and regional partners that can help your hospital meet identified business goals
    • Explore a cooperative approach between “competitors” to expand services, maximize resources, and build referrals without losing your (or their) competitive edge
  • Build relationships with referral sources including discharge planners, case managers and others:
    • Regularly visit with local nursing homes and public health staff
    • Create a network of local case managers/discharge planners
    • Share your programming with other facilities – take your information to them

If you’d like to discuss these or other techniques to build volume, referrals and revenue, please reach out to me via email or call 920-544-8102 ext. 101. And if you’re in the neighborhood, I’d be happy to take you out for an authentic Wisconsin fish fry!