Your dental practice is up and running, but the secret to success is not really to get as many new patients as possible, but rather to gain your patient’s loyalty.
Dental offices spend a lot of time and money trying to find the right strategy to get some word of mouth going. Of course it's important to offer excellent dental care, but is that really enough? After all, that is the minimum a patient should expect from any dental professional.
So, what is a dentist to do to get some love and loyalty from their patients? It used to be enough to give a toothbrush or toothpaste to patients for them to feel extra special, but that really doesn't cut it anymore.
How do you make patients to WANT to talk about how great their dentist is and why everyone should visit your clinic over any other?
Here are a few tips:
1. Create a Fun Waiting Room
Your waiting room is the first chance to tell patients you care about them. Minimizing waiting times, is a good way for healthcare practices to better satisfy patients — but it isn’t the only way. When you provide your patients with an activity, you make waiting times seem shorter and keep patients from watching the clock.
Free WiFi should be a given, but don’t stop there. If space permits in your reception area, consider providing individual desks or communal worktables and charging stations. Some practices’ reception areas offer patients iPads — often tethered to the furniture — that come preloaded with games, digital magazines, newspapers, and social apps.
How about leaving some dental props around the waiting room? This will keep your patients entertained, but most importantly, it will create an opportunity for patients to take pictures of them having fun in your practice and upload them to social media or share them with friends! By this simple change, you can turn a negative experience into a positive one for your patients and get some free marketing at the same time.
2. Be Original
Don't be afraid to have some fun with your scrubs. You'd be surprised how something as small as wearing some tooth themed shoes or a tooth shaped pin can have a great impact on your patients’ experience - let alone your own.
Dentist inspired clothes or accessories will instantly make you seem more approachable and show that you're really passionate about what you do.
Not only that, but it's likely they will later comment about it to someone else, and that conversation will probably end up with someone asking "...and who’s your dentist?”.
3. Effective Giveaways
I like free stuff. You like free stuff. Your patients like free stuff. When was the last time you showed a little appreciation to a long-time patient? When did you last say thank you? Promotional giveaways are a great way to surprise your patients and leave a lasting positive feeling towards you and your practice.
When you create dental giveaways, you should get a return on your investment — in the form of happy patients.
Although this is something that can be achieved with traditional promotional items such as pens, toothbrushes or floss, people today want more.
Try giving out items that they actually want and will use or something that will have a greater impression on them. Not only will you have happy patients, but they are more likely to share that experience with others on social media, reviews and ultimately result in more patients. Remember, you want your patients to think about you and your practice as much as possible and hopefully sharing their experience with their friends and family.
4. Reach Out!
Building your patient relationships is more than just making sure you put on a friendly face every time your patients are in for their care appointments. The stronger your patient relationships are and the higher the level of overall patient satisfaction is, the more likely it is that your patient retention percentages will improve.
Reach out to your patients even when they're not at the clinic. Follow up their visit by sending a quick text message to say, “Thank you for coming in. We appreciate you!” When appropriate, a follow up to see how they are doing or if they have any questions lets them know they are on your mind and that you care.
You could also wish your patients a happy birthday! Birthday messaging is a simple way to show your patients you remembered them but can also be used as a great marketing tool!
5. It’s a Team Effort
It's not just about you! When a patient comes into your practice, they come in contact with other staff members as well. Receptionists, dental assistants, hygienists, cleaning staff or specialists.
Get together with your staff to come up with a strategy that everyone is on board with so that each staff member is aware of how to do their part to ensure a positive patient experience every time.
Just remember, it’s the little things that count!