Dr. Kelley Linton opened Center for Hearing two decades ago and has been with Consult YHN for just as long. The one thing that continues to bring new patients and year-over-year growth is its community outreach efforts. While many practices will only do one or two community events a year, Dr. Linton and her staff host or participate in over a dozen, appealing to a variety of different crowds and demographics—a summer ice cream social, a spring hot dog cookout, two Lunch & Learn seminars, a handful of educational speaking engagements, and roughly 20 health fairs. This omni-directional approach to community involvement has kept Center for Hearing’s image rooted in its Arkansas town and has been instrumental in the practice’s success for the past two decades.
Dr. Kelley Linton
Why do you think it’s so important to be active in your community?
Hearing aids have such a negative connotation. People need to know we are human, our clinic is approachable, and our staff is approachable. You can tell them this every day, but everyone is telling them this, so we have to provide many different reminders through our community outreach so that they make the decision to do business with us each year.
We’ve heard that you throw an epic Christmas dinner every year for your referring physicians. Tell us more about it.
It requires the most work of any event. We set up a buffet in our clinic and a famous BBQ place caters it. We hand-deliver invitations to our referral sources—physicians and their entire staff. The idea is to get them into the clinic and see it. We had 200 attendees that came throughout the evening this past Christmas.
How many referrals would you estimate these physicians send you over the course of the year?
Tons. Just through fax alone we get 5-10 a day.
Aside from your annual Christmas dinner, which of your other community events is consistently successful?
Our patient appreciation days are the most successful. We have done them every year on or around our anniversary and have had to extend it to 2 days since it’s so popular. Our patients talk about it and look forward to it.
How do you handle attending 20 health fairs every year and how many leads do you generally get from them?
We send our PDR (Practice Development Representative) and he has a protocol for getting people’s names and phone numbers, then we call them afterwards to make an appointment. If it’s during work hours, he’ll call the office and we’ll schedule their appointment on the spot. He usually brings us 5-10 leads per health fair.
Tell us about an event that didn’t pan out as well as you hoped and what you learned from that experience.
Honestly, every one of the events we hold were not successful the first time. For example, the first year of the physician dinner, we had to take a lot of food home with us because very few showed up. You have to be consistent with these efforts to have them truly benefit the practice.
Location: Fort Smith, Arkansas
Years in business: 21 years
Consult YHN Associate: 20 years
Number of employees: 10