Effective Strategies For Improving
Patient Retention In 2020
Now more than ever, potential patients have a plethora of options to dental practices offering different services right at their fingertips. They can search for dental practices based on whether or not they accept their insurance, closest proximity from home, and by the services being offered. Once they’ve narrowed down their options, they’re now going to check out reviews to see what other patients have said about those practices.
When it comes to acquiring new patients to your practice, people are going to base their decision to go to your practice on the experience of current or previous patients. What they say about your practice is what’s going to determine how many new patients you acquire.
In the minds of most dentists, the more new patients you acquire, the faster your practice will grow… This theory makes sense and holds truth in it, but unfortunately, that’s not always how it always works out. You may have great content marketing strategies for acquiring new patients, but how are you making those patients come back for more dental services?
If you’re acquiring new patients but they’re leaving just as quickly as you get them, your practice needs to put more focus on customer retention versus customer acquisition.
Sure, patients are going to move or possibly see another dentist that provides services you don’t, but the last thing you want to lose a patient over is because your practice didn’t do a good enough job at making them feel comfortable and welcome in your practice.
So the next questions to ask yourself are:
What is your practice’s retention rate? Based on the answer to this question, you’ll then need to ask…
How many patients is your practice losing on a monthly or yearly basis? If the answer to this question is too many, then you next need to ask yourself this last question.
Are you losing patients solely because of normal attribution or because of a low level of satisfaction from patients? If you feel that the answer is low patient satisfaction, then it’s time for your practice to start implementing strategies to retain your patients.
Customer acquisition will ALWAYS be a major component and priority of business growth, but if you want to keep the customers you acquire, you need to consider investing in how to make customer retention a priority as well… they’re the ones who ultimately keep your business thriving and sustainable.
Take a look at some of the top strategies to help your practice to put more focus on patient retention.
Strategy 1: Make a Great First Impression
A lot of dentists think that making a great first impression starts when new patients enter the dentist office, and that’s not the case at all. Patients actually get their first impression of a dental practice once they start looking up your dental practice online or give your office a call.
According to Forbes, it takes only seven seconds for someone to make a first impression of a business, and just a tenth of a second to determine whether or not that business is trustworthy or not.
Everything from reviews and testimonials to checking your practice website to see what types of helpful information you have, your opportunity to make a great first impression will be long before patients walk through your office doors.
From the aesthetics of your website to how your dental staff handles office inquiry phone calls, this is your make or break moment to get new patients in the door, and ultimately, keep them coming back for more.
Strategy 2: Make Your Patients Feel Welcomed and Comfortable
So you may have made a great first impression with patients online or on the phone but now it’s time to “wow” them in person. This is when it’s time to revisit some basic patient care and customer service tactics with your staff.
When a patient enters your office, you need to make sure you and your staff are doing these things to make sure your patients feel comfortable and welcome.
- Smile and have a pleasant demeanor
- Greet repeat or regular patients by name when they visit
- Make eye contact when speaking
- Offer them water while they wait
- Keep them informed on their wait times
Making your patients feel comfortable and welcomed is extremely important simply because it plays a vital role in the patient’s overall experience with your practice. If you can master this strategy, your patients will be sure to convert to loyal patients.
Strategy 3: Keep Your Patients Informed Throughout the Entire Visit
Keeping your patients informed on what’s going to happen during their visit is not only a great way to make them feel comfortable (especially for patients who are scared of the dentist) but it’s also one of the best ways to showcase professionalism within your practice.
Everything from your receptionist informing a patient that you’ll be with them shortly up to explaining procedures for major dental surgeries, your patients will appreciate the effort and care you’re showing.
Professionalism is something you and your staff must maintain at all times just for the simple fact that you’re in a professional setting dealing directly with the oral health and well-being of patients. One bad patient experience could result in a decrease in patient referrals, and worse, lawsuits.
Because of this risk, it’s important to make sure your practice is covered. You may already have your practice insured with business insurance, but because you’re providing services, you want to make sure you’re covered by professional liability insurance as well.
When you look at the growth of dental practices, it all boils down to the patient experience… how the patients feel about your practice and how they’re treated.
As a dentist, you’re expected to be knowledgeable on how to provide oral care services, and the quality of your work plays a role in retention as well. But if a patient doesn’t have a good experience with your practice from the very beginning, they may not be as willing to even see how great the quality of your work really is.
If you can master these simple, yet effective strategies, and combine them with your patient acquisition strategies, your practice will be around for a very long time.