5 Effective Client Retention Strategies for Practices
Most practices know that patient retention is critical to success. Research shows that five times more time is spent on attracting new customers than on retaining existing ones. At the same time, patient expectations are on the rise. Outside of the healthcare experience, people are receiving unprecedented personalization, customization and convenience from service providers.
If you want to retain more patients, investing in the “patient experience” is a must. Practices that do this successfully stand out against competitors and keep patients coming back for more. But where do you start? Check out these five client retention strategies to transform your practice.
- Empower patients with personalized financing
Almost half of Americans forgo a doctor’s visit due to affordability concerns. Offering personalized and flexible financing options can alleviate this concern. A patient can immediately find out the cost of service and select a payment plan that works for their unique situation.
Patient financing has transformed from a “nice to have” to a “must have” in an environment of rising healthcare costs and high-deductible insurance plans. Patient financing can help patients avoid making a large payment (likely depleting existing savings) or putting the balance on a credit card with a high interest rate. Patients have the ability to choose inclusive financing options that are designed to work with their personal budgets. With flexible financing, patients can move forward with the treatment they need right away without the worry of how they will afford care.
- Offer modern conveniences to your patients
In today’s digital era, patients expect their practices to use the same tools and services they find in other types of businesses. More than half of U.S. adults conducted a transaction on their smartphone in the past year – and patients often prefer this type of transaction.
Consider implementing digital payment options that allow patients to pay for services quickly and easily. With a partner like ClearGage, you can send a text or email to connect with patients on the go and deliver customized payment solutions that instantly improve their experience. Digital payment options give your practice a competitive edge, simplify the patient experience and allow you to get paid faster, while increasing patient satisfaction.
- Implement patient engagement strategies
Over 70% of physicians report that patient engagement is a top priority at their organization. However, on average, healthcare leaders report that only 34% of their patients are highly engaged. So how can you improve this engagement and drive greater satisfaction?
The right patient engagement platform can help you to nurture relationships at critical touch points throughout the patient journey. For example, you can connect with patients using their preferred communication type, whether it’s text, email or speaking with a live person.
A patient might owe a large medical balance but not be able to pay it off at one time. As a result, the patient waits to pay the bill, and now the account is delinquent. Once the payment is late, you can send a friendly reminder that personalized and affordable payment plans are available.
- Deliver excellent service to your patients
Delivering excellent patient service starts with greater transparency in healthcare. Patients are responsible for a larger portion of their bills than in the past, partially due to high deductible insurance plans. As a result, they want to understand their financial responsibility upfront, and want flexible options for paying that bill.
Creating a good experience starts long before the patient steps foot in your door. Talk with the patient prior to the visit about the cost of service, so they aren’t surprised when presented with the bill. Cost estimates designed with greater visibility allow patients to fully understand their financial responsibility and enroll in a practice-approved payment plan before service is rendered. This creates greater transparency and empowers patients with the information they require to make better decisions about paying for care.
- Proactively gather feedback from your patients
If patients aren’t satisfied with their visit, there is a good chance that you won’t be aware of their dissatisfaction. One study found that only 7% of patients voiced their complaints to practices when they were unhappy with their experience. When patients aren’t satisfied, they are more likely to consider switching their care to a competitor, which can quickly have a negative impact on your practice.
Consider sending patient satisfaction surveys after every visit to proactively gather patient feedback. Use the responses to discover what your practice is doing well and what needs improvement. Giving your patients a voice will make them feel empowered, and they will be more likely to continue to visit your practice, or share positive patient reviews in the future.
Moving into the future
Practices want to reach more patients and continue to improve the quality of interactions and medical care. Accomplishing this task requires tools and resources that support a more engaging experience.
Systems that provide easy payment options and engagement at critical points along the journey allow you to keep patients coming back for more – but also encourage them to share their experiences with others, which organically grows your practice.