Please enjoy this excerpt from our ebook, Solutions for Patient Retention: A Primer.
"Your new patients are going to be the ones who are leaving your practice far more than your established patients. So, while getting them is important, keeping them in is, in my opinion, even more important than attracting them." - Brett Wells, DDS - Wells Family Dental Group
At its core, maintaining a practice that fosters patient loyalty means operating and marketing your business in a way that keeps patients coming back.
- Loyal patients make and keep their twice-yearly appointments (OK, OK, to a realistic expectation – Yes, we can hear your stifled guffaws from here).
- Loyal patients are happy to hear from your office staff and return your calls (yes, we can still hear you).
- When loyal patients need dental work or emergency procedures, they call you first, and not Google/WebMD. Or your competitors.
- Your appointment books not only remain full, but you have fewer no-shows, because loyal long-term patients cancel far less often than new ones.
To attain patient loyalty, you and your dental practice have to connect and build a relationship with your patient. And like any long-standing connection, that relationship must be built on trust and mutual reciprocity. You provide quality customer service and respect their time (...and teeth), and they will respect and support your practice in return.
The question is, with so many other dental offices out there in your community, how do you ensure it’s your practice that is the belle of the ball, and the apple of your patient’s eye? Or, eh, mouth?
While we’ll discuss more specific strategies later on in this series, first let’s visualize where we’re headed before looking more closely at the map of how to get there.
A visualization your guru would be proud of:
Fast forward in your mind to that hearty “yes” from your patient as they agree to your next pre-appointment schedule, after having successfully made and kept their last year’s worth of dental checkups. Their smile is brighter, not just from your hygienists’ handiwork but from your practice’s stellar customer service and a seamless billing experience. And you have fewer holes in your schedule, as your recurring patients tend to keep and even (gasp!) enjoy their appointments.
Bask in that patient loyalty glow for a second. Feels nice, right?
But you’re not here just to ensure smiles all around. Wait, wait, scratch that. Yes, yes, you are, that is your job. The whole dentally, toothy job description.
That said, you also have a business to run, employees to pay, and marketing and overhead expenses to cover. So, let’s talk numbers.
If a significant portion of your marketing spend is dedicated to attracting new patients, but 41% of those new patients are leaving your practice each year on average, then you’re effectively throwing away 41% of your marketing budget each year.
Patient loyalty isn’t something that’s easily calculable, not from a marketing or revenue standpoint. But patient retention, and the lifetime value of a patient, very much are.
To dive deeper into this, we’ll switch gears to focus on patient loyalty and how patient loyalty translates to patient retention. This will better illustrate how patient loyalty and retention increase the lifetime value of patients while boosting recurring revenue to your business.
Happy, smiling, returning patients. And a sustainable, thriving practice.
If you enjoyed this excerpt from our ebook, Solutions for Patient Retention: A Primer, there’s more meat (or veggies!) to sink your teeth into – visit the ebook download page and we’ll deliver these nutritious brain snacks straight to your inbox.