For small businesses like dental practices, customer loyalty and retention are crucial to growth and success. If your patients aren’t happy, they might not return. But why else is focusing on your existing patients a good idea?
It’s more profitable to focus on existing patients.
It’s much easier and less costly to keep a current patient than acquire a new one. (It can be six to seven times more expensive to market to new patients than to current ones.)
Some practices run promotions or discounts for the first cleaning or visit. While this helps expand your patient base and create potential advocates for your office, you’re not making as much profit as you could if you focused on providing care to existing patients.
With current patients, there’s more willingness to invest in additional services, such as cosmetic treatments or more expensive, multi-visit procedures. Trust and familiarity remove barriers you might experience with first-time patients.
Existing patients are more likely to provide referrals.
Existing patients are much more likely to recommend you to their family, friends, and colleagues than new patients.
Word-of-mouth recommendations from family and friends are an incredibly powerful way to attract new patients, and turn first-time visitors into long-time patrons.
Are you encouraging patient loyalty?
Encouraging loyalty from your patients requires your practice to foster an authentic, patient-centric culture.
If you’re wondering whether your practice encourages patient loyalty, ask yourself these questions:
- Have you had a conversation dedicated to discussing the culture you want at your practice? It’s good idea to discuss this at the start-of-day meeting, so everyone’s on the same page.
- Do you lead by example? This is especially crucial in smaller practices. If you treat the patients well, your team will follow suit.
- Do you train, monitor, and practice with your staff? Consistently great experiences don’t just happen. They require practice; and the team to be equipped with needed tools. Call monitoring is a great example of a tool that allows your team to learn from patient interactions.
Keep in mind, over 85% of potential patients will have used the internet to research your practice or read reviews on it. Word of bad patient experiences—or less-than-stellar first impressions—reaches more than twice as many as good ones.