The name of the game for a successful dental practice is to attract and keep your ideal patients. Patients leaking out the back door can be just as detrimental, if not more, than not driving enough new patient traffic to the practice.
Keeping your ideal patients is all about building relationships, staying top-of-mind, and making it as easy as possible for them to schedule and show up for their next appointment.
From the moment an established patient walks into the practice, they should feel welcomed and remembered. Even the tiniest gesture can make a world of difference. A simple, “How was your vacation?” or “How is your daughter doing?” allows the patient to feel special, valued, and at ease.
Additionally, the importance and value of the patient’s treatment should be communicated every step of the way. If they are clear on their treatment plan and the necessary steps to achieve and maintain optimum oral health, and all of their concerns have been addressed, returning for their follow-up appointments will be a no-brainer.
Keep patients engaged and reminded of your practice in between their appointments. This can be done in a variety of ways, such as posting practice updates and photos on social media or sending educational emails each month.
Engaging with your practice’s community via social media is extremely cost-effective and easy to manage. Share practice updates, celebrations, patient milestones (with the patient’s consent), updated hours, etc., so that the practice is always top-of-mind for patients.
Educational email campaigns are also a great way to keep in touch with patients. Producing insightful (not promotional) content will position you as the expert and keep you front-and-center for patients as their go-to dental resource. A simple once monthly email with valuable, relevant content (easing financial concerns around implants, the difference between crowns and bridges, which type of tooth whitening will work best, etc.) will allow you to educate your patients and stay in touch with them in a meaningful way.
Make Appointment Scheduling Easy and Effortless
Each time a patient visits your office, schedule their six-month follow-up appointment, right then and there. Very rarely does anyone know what they are doing six months from now, and sifting through one’s calendar can be a hassle. Schedule the appointment six months out, at the same time of day as the appointment they just had, and let them know that if they need to reschedule they can always do so at a date closer to the appointment.
Send email and text reminders and call to confirm the appointment as the date approaches. If they specify a preferred method of communication, stick to that. Follow up one month, one week, and one day before to confirm the appointment. That way, the pressure is off the patient, essentially creating a “How can I not show up for this appointment?” situation.
Attracting and keeping your ideal patients doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. Develop meaningful relationships with your patients, establish rapport, and make coming to the dentist as easy, welcoming and comforting as possible. Do so and your practice will continue to thrive.