No matter what business someone may run, everyone knows that they need to grow and develop a customer base to be successful. While it would be ideal to have every customer or patient stay with you for years, the truth is that many will come for one or two visits and then never return.
But dental practices have a real opportunity when it comes to retaining patients. We all know all patients will need return visits, regular checkups and possible dental work. The goal then is gain their loyalty and trust. Repeat business is the influential key to long-term success.
The Harvard Business School conducted a study in 2000, showing that raising customer retention rates by only 5% will increase profits, from 25% all the way up to 95%. These numbers alone should probably convince you that any dental office should make customer retention a top priority. But why is it that a small boost can result in such a large shift in business? Here are a few basic reasons.
Chasing New Patients/Customers Costs Far More
The cost for new patients can be from 5 to 10 times more expensive, in fact. As such, placing more emphasis into a strategy that improves customer retention gives your practice a much better return on investment compared to spending excessively to chase new customers.
Loyal Patients Boost Your Brand
Customers or patients that are pleased with your office are far more likely to spread the word to family, friends and social media. When you truly think about it, these patients that appreciate and like your office will bring in more business.
Long-term Patients Will Spend More
A loyal patient bring more business, on average, with each visit than someone new that walks into your office for the first time. Add the return visits over time and the extra revenue truly beings to add up. Accumulated trust built through multiple visits will make patients far more likely to accept recommendations compared to spending the minimum they can each time.
Return Patients Are Less Sensitive to Additional Costs
If patients are pleased with your services and feel that you provide valuable services, they become less likely to ignore your recommendations and continue with regular visits.
Building a Successful Strategy
First, a successful strategy will cater to patients throughout the potential checkup lifecycle, and you should pay attention to successfully making them return for the second and third visit. This is honestly your best opportunity to make them feel like they are valued by showing you are paying attention to their needs and health.
Beyond the checkups, your strategy should consist of sending well-timed direct marketing pieces to your customers. Offers should be combined with relevant scheduling reminders, seasonal specials, checkup reminders, and so on to give the patient a personalized experience.
On top of maintaining consistent, personalized communication with your patients, it is also crucial to make their user experience with your office as clear as possible. This includes providing user-friendly, self-service accounts and educating patients on things like their scheduled visits and dental health.