As we approach 2020, it might seem like patient retention, finding a new patient, holding their attention, and retaining them long-term has become increasingly complicated. Patients have so many options. Just keep taking small steps toward providing an excellent patient journey at your practice and you will end up successfully navigating and retaining good patients.
It’s interesting. 20 years ago, most of our clients focused on patient retention versus new-patient acquisition, but today a high number of dental offices prioritize acquisition over retention. Now that we’re connecting to hundreds of offices via Practice ZEBRA™, I can tell you, this is a mistake. Having a marketing mix that covers both acquisition AND retention is the key to your success.
As I pointed out in a recent blog, many offices are losing almost as many if not more patients than they are onboarding new patients. This is the graph you need to look at in Practice ZEBRA – here is one actual dental practice results:
Don’t fret. Once you have the picture, then you can work on tactics to keep your new-patient flow steady while improving the patient experience and retaining many more patients than you lose.
Here are a few tactics you can take to improve your retention rates:
- Patient Newsletters. We launched Patient News by producing customized patient newsletters mailed to patients-of-record to improve satisfaction, educate, and promote elective services, introduce staff members, offer contents, showcase practice community involvement, increase referrals, and improve production. A quarterly or bi-monthly patient newsletter is still a standout investment for patient retention.
- Patient Email Newsletters. Now we have the EASIEST solution for you to keep your practice name in patient homes monthly, which shows patients you care and offers them value-added oral health educational content. This sets you apart as an expert in your field – and best of all, it’s set-it-and-forget-it. It’s a no-brainer.
- Scheduling. The first time every Dentist and Office Manager looks at their scheduling data in Practice ZEBRA, they are shocked. Very few practices are scheduling at the level they should in order to retain patients and keep them connected to their practice. This opens eyes wide and allows for improvement to scheduling systems within the hygiene and front office teams. This should be a top priority for your practice. Your Account Manager can help you with detailed strategy on how to tackle your scheduling each week. We can help you team take the right steps to make incremental improvements.
Would you like to double production this year? It’s probably right there on your books... It’s just about conversion. There is a lot more value to a hygiene recall visit than just that visit. Let your Account Manager help.
- Enhanced in-office experience. There are so many things you can do to provide a comfortable WOW experience for patients. View your patient visit as a hospitality event and you will come up with all sorts of small but wonderful ways to have your patients bragging about “their dentist” at the next neighborhood social.
- Customer service. Consumers are very fickle. Ensure all staff are engaged, passionate about your practice, your philosophies, and walk the walk. Provide consistent in-office and phone training so everyone has the tools and knowledge to provide superior customer service. Be quick to resolve issues or accommodate easy requests – even if they aren’t the norm – and always respond quickly, even if it’s just to say you’re still working on the solution.
- Reward. For their patronage. For their referrals. If your guidelines don’t prohibit, offer incentives and say thank you in your marketing campaigns. Small simple gifts offered at checkout can help encourage reciprocity, referrals, and return visits.
- Say thank you. It’s one of the most under-utilized statements in business. Your business will stand out when you say thank you to patients. Thank you for calling. Thank you for coming in. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
There are many many ways to improve patient retention beyond this small list. One of the ways we try to say thank you to you, our awesome clients, is to invest our time and money in providing value-added support like our blogs, like our Practice ZEBRA™ updates, like our Update newsletters. Sharing content and information is also valued and the effort will be appreciated by your patients.
Of the list here, the no-brainer option is to implement our monthly patient email newsletter (and talk to your Account Manager about patient scheduling). For your monthly email newsletter, you’ll have superior dental content (we’ve been writing dentist/patient content for 27 years), it’s branded to your practice, provides patients with easy access to your practice phone and website, it encourages referrals – and every time we send it, we help you clean up your email list by indicating invalid patient emails! This way you’ll begin to have cleaner and cleaner patient contact data and your marketing automation and reminder programs get that much more effective.
And with Practice ZEBRA, you can set it and forget it! What’s better than that?!
Click here to get your patient email newsletter launched!