How to improve patient retention in dentistry?
Initial days of starting a practice are exciting. There are new patients who are happy to discover your practice and who you are happy to connect with. Over time, the new patient numbers start falling. One of the reasons for this is that when you start a practice, there is naturally some marketing associated with it, at least by way of people noticing your practice. Once that group of people gets exhausted, most practices fail to maintain numbers to acquire new patients. It becomes necessary to actively market your practice to keep new patients coming in.
Running a practice in today’s competitive landscape requires a full fledged marketing function with good patient engagement. Patients today are expecting more and more to be satisfied.
So, how can you acquire new patients?
Enough emphasis can not be given to marketing. It is one crucial element that should be continuous. Simple marketing methods like branded merchandise, contact cards and online forums can draw patients to your practice. However, this alone is never sufficient to grow your practice. For a growing practice, you should always aim to fill your production capacity and expand.
Marketing campaigns that integrate various channels from direct mailers to SMS can expand recall among patients in your area, thus improving referrals. Practice management systems with integrated marketing functions can help you align such campaigns, run them and even consolidate and follow-up responses easily.
Better patient engagement:
It’s not enough that a patient books a slot, you should actively follow up till he visits and his treatments are completed. And then, you should try to sign them up for regular hygiene check-ups at your practice.
Such engagement gives confidence to your patient and he feels connected to your practice. Most patients are happy to be reminded of their appointments. They will consider it a service rather than your marketing. But, apart from reducing no-shows, it also builds patient satisfaction.
It takes few minutes, but responding to queries on social media regularly can connect you directly with your patient base. However, most practices miss out on regularly staying in touch and actively promoting their social media presence.
It is a good idea to take the help of practice management systems that let you integrate with your social profile and allow you to respond to all your patients regularly. Make sure your practice management system supports 2 way communication with various channels your patients can engage you on.
Get a profile on business platforms:
This is where consumers determine whether a business is worth their time or not. And they’re basing their choices increasingly on reviews. In fact, 70% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
Become the Knowledge leader in your community:
Actively engage in social media and drive the talk around everything related to dentistry and dental hygiene. Read more about better social media engagement in our next blog post.
Better patient experience:
A large majority of patients claim that they would pay more for a better experience. Focus on customer experience, not just keeping their costs low.
Use more SMS:
SMS has a much higher response rate. Try and collect mobile number databases from your patients so that you can communicate with them regularly.