What’s the best way to grow your dental practice? If you’re like most dentists, your first thought was you need to bring in more new patients. But many practices excel at attracting new patients, and still fail to meet their growth goals. Why? They don’t retain enough of the new patients. If you want to grow your dental practice faster, you need to work on your patient retention.
Why Retention Matters
Attracting new patients is expensive. You have to spend a lot of marketing dollars to get new patients through the door of your practice. If a patient only comes in one time, you may even lose money on them. The longer a patient stays with you, the better your return on your investment is. The higher your retention rate, the less you have to spend on expensive marketing tactics. However, some dental practices retain only 42% of new patients.
Why Patients Leave
Before you can fix the problem, you have to understand what’s causing it. Why would a patient only come to your office once? The main reasons patients give for failing to return to the dentist are:
- They don’t believe their issue is serious
- They can’t afford treatment
- They don’t trust the dentist
- They felt it was too inconvenient or a waste of time
You are never going to retain 100% of your patients. Some people are just not going to be a good fit for your practice. But, many of the reasons people leave and never return can be dealt with.
How to Improve Retention
People give many reasons for not going back to the dentist. But, most of the time, the reasons come down to the relationship between you, your staff, and the patient. The patient relationship doesn’t just happen while they are in the chair. It starts when they first learn about your office. If you think of every piece of marketing and every moment of patient contact as a chance for you to improve your relationship with the patient, you will retain more patients. If it is easy and convenient for a patient to make an appointment and to see the dentist, they will feel better about what happens in the dental chair. If they have to spend a long time in the waiting room or the parking lot is full, they will be disposed to view their experience negatively, even if everything went well during the exam or treatment. Once a patient leaves your office, you still need to work to improve the relationship. Simple things like a thank you text, or a letter explaining why they need treatment will make it more likely that the patient will return. If the patient believes you and your staff care about them as an individual, they will stay with your office for years. The second any patient feels they are just a number, they will find any excuse not to go back. Growing your dental practice requires you to attract the right types of patients, and it requires you to improve your relationships with your existing patients. Your revenues will increase as your retention rate increases. Give OmniStar a call today to discuss Dental Practice Management solutions, and how we can help you increase your patient retention.