Building and maintaining solid relationships with patients can be a tough task.
When it comes to engaging with patients, there can be a fine line between too much and too little. Engage too much, and you may risk irritating them and losing their valuable business. Engage too little, and you risk missed appointments, a damaged relationship, and, again, losing their business.
There is no rule book for successful patient engagement. To be successful, it’s all about finding balance.
To engage and retain patients, medical practices send countless messages regarding upcoming appointments, pre-appointment instructions, and rescheduled appointments, among others.
But when it comes to sending messages unrelated to patients’ health care—messages like birthday greetings—many medical practices are posed with the million-dollar question: To send or not to send?
In this article, we’ll take a look at both sides of the coin and how birthday messages can be an important piece to your patient engagement puzzle.
The Case for Sending Patient Birthday Messages
We all receive automated messages on a regular basis: the buy-one-get-one text message from Subway; the discount oil change postcard from a local car dealership; the “We haven’t seen you in a while” email message from Yelp.
Sometimes receiving these messages can be overwhelming. Other times, they’re easy to ignore.
Receiving messages from healthcare providers isn’t any different.
We get it. When considering sending your patients birthday messages, you may be wondering:
- Do we really need to?
- Will they even read it?
- Will it annoy them?
The truth is that, yes, in some cases, your message will be ignored. Perhaps a patient will opt out of automated text alerts because he received a non-essential message on his birthday. This is a common risk associated with a non-essential function.
So why even send patient birthday greetings?
In a world that is increasingly disengaged due to the multitude of platforms people interact with in a given day, getting someone’s attention has become more difficult than ever.
This modern-day challenge of connecting with people is all the more reason to send out a birthday greeting to your patients on their special day.
Using Birthday Greetings to Break Provider-Patient Communication Barriers
We know that there are times when receiving messages from the doctor’s office can be perceived negatively.
Perhaps a patient who’s struggling to deal with an ailment receives a voice-call appointment reminder, reminding him that he needs to confront his illness. Or maybe a patient receives a reminder text for tomorrow’s appointment that they’d forgotten about, and that will cause them to miss some work and get behind. Even worse, perhaps a patient gets an email that a bill they’d forgotten about or were putting off is due.
Now, what if you were able to flip the script?
At the end of the day, patients are people, and they want to know others care—especially their healthcare providers, with whom they share their most vulnerable, oftentimes embarrassing, concerns.
By sending your patients a birthday message—via each patient’s preferred method of communication—you are engaging them in a positive, caring manner.
Through this simple yet meaningful act of engagement, you are building rapport and nurturing loyalty.
A personalized birthday message may be just the nudge that helps a patient realize he really needs to come in for a checkup or that wins back a patient who was considering switching providers.
The small gesture of sending a birthday greeting can have a profound impact on patient engagement, and, ultimately, patient retention.
Send Patient Birthday Greetings via Vital Interaction
While Vital Interaction does recommend sending patient birthday greetings, the choice is ultimately up to your practice.
If you decide to include birthday messages as part of your patient engagement strategy, you can easily set up and automate the delivery of these messages, as well as other customizable messages and messaging features, through your Vital Interaction account.
Have questions or need further assistance setting up patient birthday messages? Call (512) 487-7625, option 2, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to speak with our friendly support team.