Studies show that dental care is considered optional for most Americans feeling financial stress, but what does this mean for patient retention in dental offices? It means that they have to work harder to maintain and retain their patients. Neglected dental health can lead to more complications and higher costs down the road. So, what can your dental practice do to combat these patient retention issues?
5 Expert Tips to Patient Retention in Your Dental Practice
These 5 tips will position your practice to increase patient retention:
1. Address Customer Needs
Customers want to know that they are getting the best care possible when they come to your practice. Patient retention improves when the patient trusts their needs and concerns are addressed with efficiency and respect by everyone in the practice. Every encounter that you have with a patient is essential. Whether it’s a simple email or returning a voicemail, any communication from your practice needs to be clear and satisfactory. No one should walk away from your practice with a bad experience from the service they’ve received. Establishing a pattern for reaching out to patients for feedback, to check on their progress, and to make new appointments shows your practice is dedicated to your patients.
2. Improve Communication Ease
Effective communication within your practice and with patients will improve your patient retention. Staff must be cognizant of a patient’s wants and needs in order to be engaged with their health. Patient engagement is a proven tactic to improve the ease of any communication. More patients, on average, feel more uncomfortable at the dentist than at any other doctor. Your office team needs to do all that they can to improve a customer’s ease as they proceed to the dental chair.
3. Stay on Schedule
Your practice should be working to ensure that patients move quickly from the front door to their appointment, getting the care that they need as efficiently as possible. This means adopting a streamlined schedule that organizes the patient appointment schedule as much as possible. This schedule can be run by an automated system or manually by the front office staff.
Patients that know they won’t be sitting around the front office waiting to be seen will keep coming back, and this will improve your practice’s patient retention remarkably. If you do find that your practice is falling behind, acknowledge it, apologize to patients as they come into the office, and give them an accurate wait time.
4. Improve Payment Solutions
Curating a platform that can be informative while also collecting payments will improve your patient retention. Patients want to feel a sense of control over their health and finances. Allowing them to pay for their procedures in person and online will improve their sense of ownership and promote practice flexibility. Patients who don’t invest in regular dental checkups often require more extensive care and have higher bills to pay. Providing a platform to view test results, doctor recommendations, and a place to pay for their treatments will improve treatment plan acceptance and patient satisfaction overall.
5. Embrace Automation
A practice is only as good as its efficiency, but human error is always an inevitability. Errors are among the leading cause of patient loss to dental practices. Automating as much of your process as possible will allow your organization to provide the best service and improve patient retention. Automation is also a great organizational tool for staff members. Staff can see a clear list of who they need to reach out to and what is on the schedule for the day. Automation will improve your practice’s capabilities and provide a myriad of cost-effective improvements.
Patients want to feel welcome and valued when seeking out a dental practice. If you employ these retention tips, you will see an improvement in patient satisfaction and a higher rate of patient retention. ClearGage’s highly-customizable suite of industry-leading software products and solutions provide unparalleled features and functionality designed specifically to optimize patient retention in your practice.