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Your urgent care is a place most patients never plan to be. While patients can’t predict their injuries or illnesses, your urgent care can predict how you will handle visits, treat patients, and schedule staff to meet volume needs.

The best urgent care treatment is swift, quality service—done with care and consideration for the patient. Your treatment of patients is arguably even more important than others in the healthcare industry who have consistent repeat visits (such as family practice providers), as acute care is typically a once-off visit.

You have one opportunity to make a first impression; that impression is what will drive the success of your clinic with referrals—and return visits. Here are a few ways to build referrals and return visits to your clinic:

Give a Good Patient Experience

From the first moment patients walk in the door and register, to the point where they walk out with discharge instructions, is your 15-60 minute window to provide excellent service. Think through every visit step and make it count.

Promote a Referral Program

Encourage satisfied patients to spread the word to their network—and offer a discount or special offers as an incentive. Partner with local businesses to offer rewards and double the exposure of your clinic’s name in your community.

Provide Membership Programs

One way to encourage repeat visits is to offer a membership program for employees to receive services at a set discount. Another way is to offer patients a set subscription (or flat) monthly rate to be seen for whatever they need.

Offer Employer Healthcare Services

Balance patient volume by having contracted services with local employers for scheduled occ med visits—and workers’ comp services for injuries on the job. Both employers and patients can become referral sources.

Encourage Online Patient Reviews

Testimonials are important. Encourage satisfied patients to review your clinic. Upon discharge, or even with a follow-up letter, ask patients to go to websites like Google or Yelp to submit reviews. Online reviews appear in web-based search results, so monitor responses accordingly.

Hold Neighborhood Health Clinics

A good move to get your name out is to offer neighborhood clinics. Referrals can come from parents who attend a sports physical or flu shot clinic. Community events keep your clinic top of mind for when patients need more services in the future.

Wrapping It Up

The best marketing is marketing that patients do for you. The validation of a third party means more to potential patients than anything you could ever say yourself. Referrals are the most valued marketing technique for service-related industries because they build bridges of trust for the prospective audience. In the end, trust is the reason people will choose your urgent care, share their experience—and return when circumstance arise.

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