How to Say it, Part I: Writing a "Thank You for the Referral" Letter
By Kevin McNamee
How you say something is just as important as what you say. This applies to verbal and written communications alike. When communicating with your patients, staff and other business professionals, the content of your message and the package you place it in - the words you use - can either make or break your practice.
Every time you communicate with someone, you are saying something about yourself. Therefore, writing a letter to thank s person who referred a new patient to you is an opportunity to say something about yourself; your practice; and the person you are sending the letter to.
Thank You for the Referral Letters
When you receive a referral, always say thank you to the individual who made the referral. The new patient could have been referred elsewhere, but that person decided to refer the patient to you. Be grateful it was you (and your office) that was selected. You should always send a note thanking the person for the referral. The stumbling block for most practitioners, however, is how to say thank you.
First, be sure you have the new patient's permission to send a thank you letter. Some patients may not want you to send such an acknowledgement. This request for permission can be placed on your office's registration form.
When writing the letter, mention in some detail what you are grateful for. Examples include, "It is with great pleasure that we received your referral of ________ for care at my office"; "I cannot thank you enough for your trust and confidence in my office by referring ________"; or "It was very thoughtful for you to refer ________ to our office."
Express your gratitude in an appreciative way. If you have trouble finding the right words, use a thesaurus or another book that will help you promote your ideas. Use at least 10% of these words in the letter's content.
Close the letter with a sentence unrelated to the referral, such as "Best regards to you and you family," "I look forward to seeing you at the next community function" or "Please extend my regards to your family."
Sample Thank You Letter
Here's what a sample thank you referral letter might look like:
I cannot thank you enough for your trust and confidence in my office by referring Ms. Smith. I look forward to doing anything possible to assist her.
If I may be of assistance to you and your family, please contact me.
As a matter of procedure, the thank you letter should go out the same day the patient is first seen in your office. Place a few sample thank you referral letters above the desk, or store them in a computer. This allows for easy reference when writing them, and if you receive several referrals from the same person, you can use different letters to maintain a level of originality and freshness.
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