According to the American Dental Association, the supply of dentists in the US will increase through 2035, making competition in the industry even stiffer. Knowing how to efficiently retain existing patients is just as important as knowing how to attract them.
After analyzing the various strategies important for patient retention, we came up with three main categories that you need to focus on to improve your dental patient retention rate. Read on and find out what you need to do to ensure your patients stay with you!
1. CUSTOMER SERVICE
It may be a no-brainer, but it’s still worth mentioning: people appreciate good customer service. With patients having a wide choice of dentists to go to, the quality of your customer service can be a deciding factor whether they stay with you. For your customer service to be top-notch, ensure that:
- Your practice makes a great first impression. The first impression of your dentistry will be a patient’s first phone call, first visit to your website, and their first time stepping into your dental practice. Therefore, make sure that your entire team is well-trained when answering the phone, welcoming to walk-ins, and always friendly and knowledgeable. Your website should be regularly updated, and your office interiors should be modern, clean, and pleasant. The first step to winning a patient for the long-term is making a positive first impression.
- The front-desk staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. – The front desk should make every patient, new or returning, feel welcome and appreciated. Office front desk staff should be able to answer any question a patient may have and be helpful in assisting them with any dental care inquiries.
- You stay on schedule. – Long wait-times are a major pain point for patients. If you make a patient wait too long, chances are you won’t see them again. Make sure to always stay on schedule and when you notice that it becomes increasingly hard to do so, tell your staff to add extra minutes to each appointment.
- Your waiting room provides all the essentials. – Up-to-date magazines and newspapers help to keep waiting patients entertained. Children are notoriously bad waiters so keep them busy by adding a play corner with some children’s books and toys that don’t cause too much noise.
- Patient checkout runs smoothly. – Once an appointment is over, patient checkout should run smoothly and quickly. Good office software and an organized scheduling system can help with that.
2. BEDSIDE MANNERS
Aside from customer service, a dentist’s approach or attitude toward a patient, or their bedside manners, is essential in ensuring a patient remains with a dental clinic. Most patients’ satisfaction is determined during their time with the dentist. When your patient likes you personally and feels confident in your professional abilities, they are not only likely to return to your practice but will also refer family and friends to you.
- Make a great first impression. – The first impression a new patient has of you is crucial. You’d be surprised how far smiling and addressing someone by their name can go.
- Get to know your patients and don’t rush. – When you meet a new patient, make sure to get to know them and don’t rush through the appointment. Ask them if they have been well taken care of by your team before meeting you and let them know that you appreciate that they chose you and your practice.
- Make patients feel welcome and comfortable. – Always be warm and friendly. People can tell when you are genuine, so always listen intently and pay attention to their concerns. Strong dentist-patient relationships increase the likelihood of patient retention.
- Guide the patient through the visit. – Be mindful about your patient’s potential dental treatment anxiety and make sure they feel comfortable. You can help put their minds at ease by explaining the treatment in detail, and describe if sedation or pain alleviation are included.
3. EXCELLENT DENTAL CARE
- Treatments – Offering a comprehensive list of dental treatments, from general to cosmetic and emergency dentistry, ensures you reach more people with various dental care needs. Adding a pediatric dentist to your practice can make your dentistry a one-stop dental shop for the entire family.
- Technology – When you regularly update your technology and equipment, you show your patients that you are committed to offering them the best, latest, and most advanced dental treatments available. This can also help differentiate you from your competition.
- Education, Skills – By attending dental conferences and updating your skills and knowledge, you ensure that you thrive and don’t miss out on important developments in the industry.
Invest time to ensure that your practice offers the best in customer service, patient care, and advanced treatments. Continually improving ensures you remain on top of your game. When you make sure your office runs smoothly, offers the best treatments and your team is friendly, you increase your chances of retaining dental patients long-term.