Encouraging Referrals

How three HME providers connect with customers
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AHS uses OnBoard Communications for fleet tracking and has added specialized features to include drop down menus for sales personnel to identify the call type (Lunch ’n’ Learn, Advacare University, Cold Call, Prospecting, etc.). All referral sources are in a master database. Weekly meetings are held to discuss new business prospects, referral activity, competitive landscape, successes and challenges.

“There are more and more roadblocks,” Zelenko said. “Besides a hospital’s in-house HME, more and more hospitals are requiring HMEs be credentialed by VendorMate ( This has placed a middleman between us and the hospitals and another way to make us pay to get into hospitals. We spend a fair amount in radio, TV, billboards and the website to make consumers aware they have choices and of our services. We encourage consumers if they are happy with our services to tell their physicians and health plans of their interest in switching.”

Zelenko believes in the basics when it comes to encouraging referrals: timely response and follow up, and helping make their jobs faster, easier and more enjoyable with an honest, consistent relationship. 


About the author:

Colette A. Weil, MBA, is managing director of Summit Marketing in Mill Valley, Calif., a consulting firm specializing in strategic marketing and program development. She can be reached at, 415-388-5303 or Summit Marketing on Facebook.

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