3 Ways to Thank Your Patients
It feels fantastic to be thanked.
I volunteered to help the second graders build a city as a math project the other day. We had fun cutting buildings out of construction paper, measuring their sizes, and calculating their different heights. But the moment that stuck with me was when the students all looked up and, like a choir in unison, exclaimed “THANK YOU, MRS. COOK!”*
It is the same way when my 10-year old thanks me for sweeping the floor or my husband thanks me for making dinner. When somebody says, “thank you,” a brief flood of warmth rushes through me—like a snuggle without the cuddle.
I’d hedge a bet that nobody has ever been offended by being thanked.
Which is precisely why we need to be thanking people more. If you are a teacher, thank your students. If you are a photographer, thank your clients. If you are a doctor, thank your patients. Because without your students, clients, or patients, you would have no reason for being. Since many of my readers are doctors, this article will give you three ideas for creative ways to say “thank you” to your patients.
1. Send a card
Snail mail is not dead. Even though the vast majority of contents in a mailbox is either junk mail or bills, people still approach the mailbox every day with a smidgeon of anticipation. Once in a while, something good shows up. If you send a card, you could be the reason for that something good.
Sending a card to an occasional patient takes very little time or commitment. You might choose to send a thank-you card to one patient each day, five patients each week, every new patient after the first visit, or on the one-year anniversary of a patient participating in your practice. You might decide to do one mass mailing to all current and past patients in your database.
There is no wrong way to send thank-you cards. Think about what will work best for you and give it a try. You might find that it reminds patients to return to your practice, inspires them to refer others, or simply makes them feel like they are receiving the royal treatment from you.
2. Give a Token
Our pediatrician hands out stickers. Why do doctors stop giving tokens of appreciation after we reach age 12? Think about offering a small token of appreciation to your patients when they check out and schedule their next appointment. They will walk out with something in their hand that is a reminder of you and your practice.
The token should relate to your practice and the type of patients you serve. Brainstorm what your patients might enjoy. It could be a small baggie of bath salts, a sample of tea, or a bookmark with an inspirational quote. Set out the gifts in a bowl with a little sign to say, “We appreciate you. Please take one as a token of gratitude.” Or something like that. ?
3. Just Say It
A physical card or gift is not the only way to express thanks. You can achieve the same result—letting your patients know you appreciate them—by just saying it. Make it a point to say to each patient, “Thank you. I am grateful that you are trusting me with your health.” If you speak from your heart, your patients will sense that and will feel sincerely appreciated.
The Benefits of Giving Thanks
When you express gratitude to your patients, they receive the immediate benefit of feeling warm and snuggly. But there might be a secondary benefit for you. If your patients feel appreciated, they might be more satisfied with your care. They might be more likely to stay consistent with your recommendations and keep their follow-up appointments. They might recommend you to their friends and family. The positive vibes you put out with your gratitude will, one day, circle back your way.
*I’ve gotten used to the teachers calling me “Mrs.” Instead of “Dr.” because it never seemed necessary to correct them.
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