Retaining New Dental Patients

Retaining New Dental Patients

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.

Action Point

Creating a positive first impression is crucial for dental practices, as it sets the tone for the patient’s entire experience. Staff should always maintain professionalism and courtesy, regardless of any personal distractions. Additionally, the waiting area should be inviting and comfortable, with amenities like plants, a children’s play area, or a fish tank to help patients feel at ease. This is particularly important for nervous patients, ensuring they feel welcomed and relaxed during their visit.

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.

Action Point

Building a rapport with patients is essential for creating a comfortable and trusting environment in dental practices. While maintaining professionalism, it’s important to engage with patients on a personal level. This can include remembering details about their lives and asking about their well-being, such as inquiring about their recent move to a new home. These small gestures show patients that they are valued individuals, not just numbers, and can help alleviate nervousness during dental visits.

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.

Action Point

Maintaining regular communication with patients through friendly prompts, such as phone calls or emails, is key to ensuring they stay engaged with your practice and prioritize their oral health. These reminders help patients feel cared for without being overly intrusive.

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.

Action Point

Monitoring patient retention rates is crucial for dental practices aiming to scale their operations. Retention rates below 50-60% signal potential issues driving patients to seek treatment elsewhere. Regular patient surveys help identify underlying problems, guiding improvements to practice environment, care, and treatment, ultimately fostering growth.

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The importance of remarketing

Remarketing means marketing specifically to people who have interacted with your business in some way. Remarketing is essential to every business (not just dental practices) when it comes to building a relationship with a new customer and ensuring they return.

One of the ways you can market to people who have interacted with your business in some way (known in marketing and sales circles as warm audiences) is to send them Facebook and Google ads.

Both Facebook and Google give you the option to only show certain ads to people who have been on specific pages. For instance, you can show Invisalign ads only to people who have visited your Invisalign pages.

Another way to remarket is to upload your patient email list to Facebook. This way, if they have a Facebook account you will be able to send them ads, keep your brand in their mind and notify them of any updates, offers or discounts.

Action Point

Remarketing is vital for fostering connections with potential customers and enticing their return. By using platforms like Facebook and Google, businesses can target tailored ads to individuals who have engaged with their brand previously, enhancing personalization. Uploading patient email lists to platforms like Facebook further facilitates ongoing communication, ensuring patients stay informed about updates, promotions, or discounts.

You can find out more about using PPC to remarket here.

Grow Your Dental Practice with Samera

Join the Samera Alliance buying group today for free to save money on your consumables and assets, increase your profits and grow your dental practice.

You’ll get access to exclusive discounts on the consumables, products and equipment you need to build and grow your dental practice. You’ll also get exclusive discounts from our Alliance Partners, covering everything from HR, IT and legal services to utilities, compliance and dental technology.

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More on Growing a Dental Practice

For more information on growing a dental practice, check out the articles and webinars in our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Grow a Dental Practice.

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