The way you manage your practice can really influence your patient retention rates. Running a dental practice is time-consuming, and sometimes you may forget about one of the most vital elements to having a thriving practice – the patient experience. With the losses that many dental practices have experienced over the past year, it is especially important to retain your patients, as well as attract new ones. Since your patients are your bread and butter, let us explore some ways that you can improve patient experience and retention rates.
Improve Office Culture
Office culture includes everything that has an impact on your patient from the time they enter your doors to the time that they exit the building. From parking experience and entrance to the waiting room decorations to the way that your clerical staff communicates, patients are influenced by your dental practice. Negative impressions can cause a patient to find dental care elsewhere.
One way to improve your office culture is to ensure that waiting rooms are spacious, clean, and have updated décor. Adding televisions or interactive patient portals can also improve the waiting experience for patients. Nearly 64% of patients report being less frustrated in waiting rooms with televisions and 60% reported wait time frustration would be lessened with Wi-Fi.
Communication with staff is important to improve office culture. Communicate with your staff the expectations and mission of your dental practice. Staff should consistently be welcoming, helpful, and kind to patients. Positive nonverbal communication during patient encounters, such as smiling, can make a difference in patient satisfaction. Evaluate your current office culture. What changes can you make to improve patient retention? Try shifting around your staff. You may find that a sullen person that is stellar with the books would be better positioned in a rear office away from patients.
Expand Your Services
Expanding offered dental services can affect patient retention. Consider your current clientele. Are you often referring patients to another practice due to not offering specialized services? For example, expanding to treat pediatric clientele may not only improve patient retention but also attract new clients.
Offering new specialties, like orthodontics, is also an option. Patients would no longer need referrals to another practice to receive total care and new prospective clients will like the extensive offered services. However, beware of overextending. You want to ensure that your staff can handle the increase in patient flow.
Offering Flexible Financing
Dental work can be expensive. Especially after the recent pandemic, patients may have difficulty making payments in full for treatments and costly procedures. Offering payment plans and accepting more forms of payment will help patients afford treatment. Consider financing through your dental practice and offering zero interest initially. Another option would be to have patients pay a certain amount at the time of treatment and make payment arrangements for the remainder. New and existing clients will like the multiple options for payment.
Boost Marketing Strategies
To improve patient retention, it is important to market your strengths as a dental practice. What makes you different from the rest? Utilizing technology to market your dental practice is the most effective way to reach customers today. According to a study by Statista, 99% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have a personal cell phone. Ensure that your practice’s website is mobile-friendly.
Another tip is to market using popular media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. Roughly two-thirds of adult Americans report having an active Facebook account and LinkedIn rated the second most popular media platform in 2019. Spreading popularity by word-of-mouth can prove an effective marketing strategy.
Improve Patient Communications
Dentist visits are said to be the fifth most common cause of anxiety. Knowing that many of the patients that come to your dental practice will have at least mild anxiety, it is important to train staff to manage them appropriately. An easy way to reduce anxiety in patients is to communicate clearly and often. For example, let your patients know estimated wait times. Always clearly explain any procedures that your patients are receiving. Try to explain procedures and treatments in simple terms and avoid using medical jargon that may be difficult to understand.
Better communication will lead to not only increased patient satisfaction, but also decreased complaints and improved efficiency in processes. Approximately 4 out of 5 complaints about dental practices could have been resolved with better patient communication. Practice active listening and empathy when dealing with patients, especially those with dental anxiety.
Seek Help from a Professional
Do you lack the time to invest in all the necessary improvements to your dental practice? Or maybe you have tried everything, and your practice is still seeing more loss than desired. Seeking help from a professional like Strategic Practice Solutions can be exactly what you need to improve your patient retention. SPS has the knowledge, skills, and coaching ability to help your staff and improve patient satisfaction. Call or click today for more information on how Strategic Practice Solutions can help you succeed!