Building Your Dental Practice: Hang on to Your Patients!

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In a market that appears to be becoming more and more competitive by the day, there has never been a more important time to analyze patient trends and identify areas for improvement, when it comes to both retention and new sign ups. Over the past few years, we’ve seen how companies that target new customers exclusively through special offers have failed to retain their existing valuable clientele, resulting in high turnover rates that not only affect profits, but can significantly impact reputation, too.

One of the ‘secrets’ to building a successful dental practice is to keep existing clients happy and satisfied, while also demonstrating the advantages and unique features of the practice to new customers. There are a number of ways to achieve these aims, ranging from marketing campaigns to staff training.

Communication

It’s always nice when you feel that you’ve really gotten through to a patient, but you may not have connected on quite the level you thought you did. Research shows that patients often don’t remember as much advice as dentists think they do, potentially increasing the risk of suboptimal oral health at home and boosting the likelihood of unhappy, unsatisfied patients. Communication is key. It may be worth producing take-home patient leaflets that can be referred to between dental appointments.

Representation

Receptionists, administrators, and other front-of-house staff are often the first impression a patient will have of your dental practice, which means that excellent service at this stage is essential. Unfortunately, heavy workloads can impact upon behaviors, particularly friendliness and professionalism, so take some time to determine whether your front-of-house is adequately filled, and consider undertaking staff training courses to ensure standardization and uniformity between all members of staff.

Localized Marketing

When it comes to marketing your dental practice to new patients, it’s important to think local. Research suggests that retention rates for patients living within a 60 mile radius of a practice are much higher than those visiting from further afield, so localized language, tones, and references could be a significant contributor to attracting the most suitable demographic for your business. Although digital marketing is the hot trend, it’s a good idea also to consider advertising in local publications such as newspapers.

Vital Aspects

Take some time to look at your practice through the eyes of a potential client, and consider what it is you’d want to know about the business. While you may be proud of your state-of-the-art offices, for example, this may not be the most beneficial piece of information for those looking for a new dentist. Studies have found that dentist competence is the most important aspect for new patients, with personal recommendations coming a close second, so don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth.

It’s important to remember that there is more to running a successful dental practice than simply high tech and expensive marketing campaigns. While these may work for other types of business, they’re perhaps not the most useful when it comes to promoting oral care. The good news, however, is that there are many ways to retain patients, and attract new patients, too. You just have to know how!

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