1. Have Great Signage
We’ve got the community to pay attention now by marketing your urgent care online, offline, and in hand-to-hand combat. Now they are trying to find your actual location. Most roads in metro and suburban areas are busy, have lots of signs, and many other distractions. Great signage for your urgent care is critical. Don’t get overly creative with complicated brand signs when a simple, big, red letter sign saying “urgent care” will do the trick. Put it above your door and at least one sign out by the road. If you are in a large shopping plaza with lots of stores and parking, see if you can negotiate with your landlord to paint a red line from each parking lot entrance guiding patients to your front door.
2. Create a Welcoming Environment
Patients don’t like emergency rooms partially because of the long wait times, but they also don’t like the uninviting environment, the feeling of sickness, and the feeling that their condition never registers quite high enough on the priority list. Urgent care is different. Create an environment that fosters positive feelings as soon as a patient walks in the door. Having a neutral (not sterile) decor, background music, and a front desk person saying, “Hi” as soon as a patient walks in all go a long way to creating a positive experience at your urgent care center.
3. Provide Excellent Customer Service
Your biggest advocates in growing and marketing your urgent care center are the patients that have already been through your doors. The number one priority of your staff then becomes ensuring they leave with a positive feeling. You can create this sentiment by clearly communicating expected wait times, explaining the process before and after being seen, and being friendly and accommodating during their entire visit. And always consider, they walked into an urgent care and probably aren’t having their best day. Make them feel comfortable, be genuine and remember to smile!
4. Give Your Patients Something to Take Home
When was the last time you left a grocery store or had a pizza delivered that you didn’t receive a coupon or some sort of promotion for you to come back or order again? Consider adopting something similar at your urgent care. Whether it is the same stuff that you passed out during your local networking (e.g. magnets, first aid kits, etc.) or something more direct like coupons for $10 off a flu shot on your next visit or a $25 school physical, your patients need to take something home that gives them a memory of their visit or even a reason to come back.
5. Ask Your Patients for Reviews and Recommendations
You’ve now had successful patient encounters. Congrats! But don’t let that patient out of your urgent care clinic until you’ve asked them for an honest review of their experience on one of the directory sites like Yelp or Urgent Care Locations. People read them! Word of mouth and driving repeat patients will be your most valuable cost-per-encounter marketing for your urgent care center, so don’t be shy about asking for your patients’ help! There are dozens of other highly effective marketing strategies for urgent care centers and walk-in clinics, and any single one of these could be the subject of an entire blog series, but consider these the basic building blocks that you should start with. Have your own ideas? We are all ears! Leave a comment below with what your thoughts.