Patient retention is all about building relationships. And much in the same way ordinary relationships are built, it’s important to enable open communication and create positive interactions if you want to attract and retain patients.
But it’s not enough to simply provide top-notch service. If dentists hope to grow their practice, they must put proactive measures in place that create an outstanding patient experience. And today, the patient experience begins far before setting foot in a dentist’s office—it begins when they start looking for a medical provider online. Read on for twelve suggestions that will keep your patients happy and set your practice up for success.
1. Remove Barriers to Appointment Scheduling
One of the key factors to attracting modern patients is convenience. Making it easy to schedule an appointment is a must—you don’t want someone to be frustrated before they even set foot in your office. Make sure your website includes a system that allows patients to find a time that works for them in just a few minutes.
2. Collect Your Patients’ Contact Info
The more ways you can get in touch with your patients, the better. It’s in your best interest to ask for the best phone number and email address to reach them at, as well as to suggest they follow your social media pages.
3. Employ Modern Methods of Appointment Confirmation
Confirming your patients’ appointments with a text message is a great way to avoid no-shows and improve your patient experience. You can also use text messaging to thank them for choosing your practice, as well as to keep in touch when they’re due for a check-up.
4. Build a High-Quality, Professional Website
Your website is often your practice’s first impression on a potential patient, so make sure it’s attractive, informative, easy to navigate, and optimized for mobile visitors. Your phone number, address, and hours of operation should be easy to find, and it’s never a bad idea to include photos of your staff and office. Your search engine optimization strategy is also important—even repeat patients are unlikely to have your contact info saved, so make sure your practice is easy to find on Google.
5. Update Your Google My Business Listing
Speaking of Google, keeping your practice’s Google My Business profile up to date is a simple, but essential way to make your patients’ lives easier. Ensuring that your information is thorough and accurate not only shows patients that you care about making things easy for them, but also improves your search rankings and gives you a better chance at appearing in the Map Pack, giving them an easy way to find your office.
6. Ask Your Patients for Feedback
Feedback is a vital piece of improving your patient experience. Send a post-appointment survey to see if your patients would recommend any changes, then let them know if you decide to implement their ideas.
7. Build a Reputation with Quality Content
Keeping your website and social media pages updated with content, like blog posts, can go a long way when it comes to increasing patients’ confidence in your practice and convincing them to take their dental health seriously. High-quality content shows your audience that you’re on the forefront of care and willing to go the extra mile to keep them informed and comfortable.
8. Don’t Let Calls Go to Voicemail
Once you’ve gone through all the work of convincing a new patient to set up an appointment at your practice, there’s nothing more frustrating than losing them to a competitor because their phone call went to voicemail. Especially if potential patients are in need of urgent care, it’s important to make sure you’re always available—whether that means hiring extra staff or implementing an answering service that ensures they can get their questions answered and set appointments around the clock.
9. Call Your Patients Post-Procedure
After you perform a procedure on a patient (ideally, the day after), give them a phone call to see how they’re doing. Doing so will make them feel taken care of and give them the opportunity to ask questions, supporting the sense that you care about each patient’s experience. Most dental offices fail to do so, despite the fact that it’s a simple way to leave a positive impression about a patient’s experience with your practice.
10. Maintain Open Communication
Medical procedures can be stressful. Whether in the form of online content or during their appointment, make sure each patient understands what you’re doing and why it’s important to their dental health. Then, put their minds at ease by communicating the results of their procedure.
11. Respond to Negative Reviews
We’ve all heard that patients who have a negative experience are more likely to leave online reviews, and even the best practices are no exception. If you happen to receive a negative review, the worst thing you can do is ignore it. It’s important to respond to every review—try to figure out what went wrong and how you can avoid similar cases in the future. Then, give them your contact information and ask for the opportunity to make things right. Even if that patient decides to go elsewhere in the future, others will see that you truly care about their satisfaction.
12. Attract Patients with a Special Offer
Even dentists can take advantage of one of the oldest marketing and advertising strategies in the book: offering patients something for free when they choose your practice. Giving patients a “deal,” such as a free teeth cleaning or physical exam, gives them a positive impression of your practice and gets them back in the door for you to discuss any follow-up treatment they might need.
For more tips and strategies for boosting retention rates and bringing more patients to your practice, contact Scorpion at (888) 375-7259, or email us here for a FREE competitive practice analysis. We’ll provide in-depth data and analysis to help you understand how your practice stacks up against your competition and what you can do to acquire a larger share of your area’s prospective patients.