What Dental Practice Managers Should Know about Dental Patient Retention
Acquiring a new customer is between five and 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. As a dental practice manager, you can’t afford to ignore dental patient retention, no matter how many marketing efforts you invest in getting new people to your dental practice.
Building loyal relationships with your existing patients is a strategy that pays off. Not only will these patients buy more from you in time, but they’ll also recommend your dental practice to their friends and relatives, becoming advocates of your brand. According to studies, a customer retention rate increased by 5% can boost your profits by 25 to 95 per cent!
The good news is that dental patients tend to be loyal–almost 61 per cent of them have seen the same dentist over five years. However, this habit alone doesn’t make patients coming back to your office. You need to do your part to keep patients satisfied with your services.
That being said, here is what dental practice managers should know about dental patient retention to build brand loyalty.
Staff Communication Skills Are Essential to Business Success
Generally, people who step into a dental practice are scared by the procedure, costs, any side effects, or all of the above. Providing great dental care means looking after your patients before and after the treatment, not only while they’re seated in the dentist’s chair.
That’s why it’s important to teach all your employees how to communicate with patients efficiently. From the staff members who receive patients to the ones who prepare them for the medical procedure, every employee should have excellent communication skills.
Remember your staff that what is routine for them could be a scary procedure for a patient. Encourage them to show empathy and build a relationship with patients, to improve dental patient retention. Your employees should be ready to explain more than once every procedure. They should explain steps, what complications can occur, and how patients should take care of their teeth after the treatment.
This way, patients feel welcome, which is a crucial element in improving dental patient retention. Moreover, if patients feel free to ask questions, they’ll be more comfortable with the specialist’s recommendations. This way, they’ll be more likely to return for other procedures.
Make Scheduling Appointments a Breeze
Ideally, your patients should schedule a new visit while they’re still in your office, for better dental patient retention. However, as most people are busy, it’ hard for them to make an appointment six months in advance, for example.
Take appointments on social media, directly on your website, or through a smartphone app, and you’ll gain the trust and loyalty of your young patients.
Also, help your patients remember about their appointments. Send them reminders the day before the visit, either using email postcards or messaging apps, for instance.
Make Your Marketing Messages Easy to Understand
Dental lingo is rarely accessible to the average person. That’s why it’s vital to speak a language that your potential and existing patients understand.
All your marketing materials should have a professional, but friendly voice. Explain all procedures and treatments in simple words, so that people who need your help can make educated decisions regarding their oral health.
Your marketing should focus on both selling and educating patients. The educational side of your content can help you to build trust and loyalty. Better than that, it enables you to establish your dental practice as an authority in the community.
Build a website where patients can find everything they need to know about oral health. This way, you consolidate your online presence and, at the same time, keep your patients informed.
Marketing Automation Takes Your Dental Practice to The Next Level
Marketing automation allows you to streamline your marketing efforts. You can automate scheduling, send reminders, or follow up after an intervention. Furthermore, you can implement email marketing campaigns, just to mention some of the things you can achieve with automation.
When you automate workflows, the software handles all repetitive tasks. This allows your employees to focus on those activities that add value to your dental practice. For example, if one of your patients doesn’t feel comfortable talking to a machine to make an appointment, the software identifies the person who hasn’t answered automated messages and notifies your staff.
One of your employees can then open a conversation with the patient and schedule the visit. This way, your dental practice can dedicate more time to building relationships, resulting in a personalised experience for the patient.
Automation also enables you to keep track of your patients’ medical history. Based on data, you can identify pain points and subjects of interest to enhance your content strategy. Then, you can segment your audience and send each patient the right type of content, based on specific needs and interests. It’s an excellent method to personalise each interaction between your dental practice and your patients.
Final Thoughts on Dental Patient Retention
As a dental practice manager, you know that your business relies on word-of-mouth marketing and recommendations. Besides excellent dental services, you need to create a positive experience for your patients. From the moment they get in touch with your office and long after they leave the dentist’s chair, you need to take care of your patients.
People need to feel comfortable with their dentists to become loyal patients. Something as little as a smile and some accurate information can make the difference for your business. Invest in an interface that helps you to connect with your patients offline and online. A nice waiting room, a useful website, an effective system of making appointments. These details can help you to gain trust and build loyalty because they make patients feel welcome and comfortable in your dental practice.