Every dental practice needs to attract and retain new dental patients in order to secure the revenue required to grow. Knowing how to do this is mostly common sense, but there are some essential points that it can be easy to forget when distracted by the setting up and day to day running of a dental surgery.
A good first impression is vital
It’s very difficult to get back on track once a bad first impression has been made. It’s important that staff are reminded to be professional and courteous at all times. This can be difficult, if there are things on their mind, but it’s an essential part of the job.
The waiting area you provide is also important, when it comes to making a good impression on new patients. It should be welcoming and friendly. It may be a good idea to use extras, such as plants, a children’s play zone or a fish tank, to make people feel more at home. This type of environment is especially important for any patient who is nervous on their first visit to the surgery.
Be engaging with patients
There is a fine line between remaining professional and developing a rapport with patients. Obviously, no dental professional wants to be best friends with everyone they meet, but some friendly interaction is a good thing. For instance, if a patient has mentioned moving to a new home when they last visited, it may be a good idea to ask how they have settled in.
No-one expects dental professionals to remember every detail about every patient but even asking about little things can make a patient feel more like a person that matters and not just a number. There are few things worse for a nervous patient than visiting a dentist who seems distant and uninterested, so it’s worth making the effort.
Use friendly prompts
Like any business, it’s a good idea for a dental practice to maintain contact with patients. People have busy lives, and they tend to put actions like going to the dentist to the bottom of the pile. It’s a good idea to remind patients that it’s time to book an appointment for a check-up. Do not be too demanding; a brief and friendly phone call, text or email will do. The rest is up to them.
Monitor patient retention
Playing it by ear, when it comes to patient retention, does not work. It’s important to monitor retention rates. A dental professional who is looking to scale their practice needs to aim for high retention rights, as well as attracting new patients. If retention rates are down at 50-60% then it’s really time to worry. There is obviously a problem that is causing people to look elsewhere for dental treatment.
The best way to determine if any improvements are required, to the practice environment, patient care or treatment, is to ask the patients themselves. Regular patient surveys are a good idea, and can identify issues that may not be apparent to the team at the practice. They are especially important if there is obviously an issue with retention.
It’s impossible to grow a dental practice without retaining new dental patients, so careful consideration of these points is essential.
More on Retaining New Dental Patients
For more information on retaining new dental patients and how to grow your practice, check out our Learning Center. You can also contact us directly, our team will be happy to answer all your questions!
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