Getting new patients in the door is an important part of building a dental practice – and it’s one of the primary purposes of any dental marketing strategy. But once you get a new patient, you also need to keep them coming back.
Research indicates that a large proportion of new patients never return. According to figures from Sally McKenzie, a dental management consultant in the US, dentists with an average of 22 years in practice usually have patient retention rates of around 31 per cent. In other words, for every ten new patients who visit a dental surgery, seven will never come back.
Ms McKenzie says that one major reason behind poor retention rates is that a dental surgery doesn’t meet patient expectations. “They want to feel a connection with you and your team members, and they want to feel good about entrusting you with their dental care. If for any reason they don’t, most won’t hesitate to make their next appointment at the practice down the street,” she explains.
So what can you do to help boost patient loyalty? Here are some top tips:
- Create a good first impression – First impressions play a huge part in how a patient feels about their overall experience. Reception rooms and waiting areas should be immaculate and decorated in a calming and attractive manner. Waiting room slideshows, posters and canvases can be used to great effect in these spaces, while information leaflets can also be displayed to provide details about various conditions and treatment options.
- Encourage referrals – Word of mouth is one of the most effective forms of marketing, as people are more likely to trust referrals from people they know. Providing an excellent customer experience is one of the best ways to encourage referrals, as happy patients will recommend your services to friends, family and colleagues. You can also encourage patients to leave reviews on review websites and social media.
- Keep in touch – Maintaining communication with patients between visits can help to keep your surgery fresh in their minds, boosting brand loyalty and increasing the chance of a referral. One way to do this is through patient newsletters. They provide an opportunity to reconnect with patients, remind them that you value their referrals and boost your credibility.
Here at Designer Dental, we provide a variety of dental marketing tools designed help dental surgeries boost patient loyalty and increase business. To find out more, please contact us.