How to keep your patients coming back to your clinic
Advertising your practice could bring new patients in, but making sure your patients keep coming back is just as important, Sukhmani Singh says.
Positive touch points establish a successful dentist-patient relationship. The likelihood of a patient returning to you depends on a multitude of factors. A positive and proactive approach is necessary to create a dental practice that people want to happily return to.
Many times, the dentist tries to attract patients by means of advertisements and that works only for a definite amount of time because they are unable to retain them for some fault or the other. So, the question that needs to be answered is – how to get more patients back to your clinic?
Make a good first impression
The first thing that a prospective patient notices when he/she calls is the way they are being treated by the receptionist. It is important to make the person feel heard.
Try to accommodate appointments for your patients and make them feel comfortable. You could try sending an automated message customised to the patient’s name.
Have a professional-looking website
Today, everything can be found on the internet. In fact, it is quite likely that the people who respond to your ads will try to find you on the internet and get a closer look at your professional records and maybe even reviews from older patients.
Creating and maintaining a professional website with all your contact information is crucial. Educative blogs and patients’ testimonials help in forming a good impression of the dentist. Make sure that the website is mobile-friendly for clients on-the-go. Don’t forget to update your business listings!
Try to educate your patients about what is happening, why it is happening, and what to do so that it doesn’t happen again. Listen to the patient’s questions while answering them with patience. Inform them about related procedures, problems, and weird hacks.
When a patient feels like they are being listened to, the likelihood of them returning to the dentist increases.
Always schedule a follow-up appointment
A follow-up appointment is an integral part of health care. Often, it is bad customer care that puts people off a dentist and not the dental care they received. Try to work at unique timings to accommodate as many patients as possible. For instance, the clinic could be open early morning or till late at night once or twice a week. This way, patients who work and cannot manage to take any time off will be able to schedule an appointment.
Whilst considering visiting the dentist, people don’t just visit Yelp and other online reviews and testimonials, but also whether they will be able to get a convenient appointment or not.
Maintain excellent customer service
Keep well-trained staff that know how to keep a patient happy. This means minimal waiting time and avoiding calls going to voicemail.
Many small efforts, like always returning a patient’s phone call, wishing the patient well via text message on a special day like their birthday, treating them with respect, making their waiting time short yet comfortable and making post dental surgery calls to confirm the patient’s status, really pay off.
The staff should be capable of dealing with upset patients as well. The patients’ records should be handled in a proper manner and even the negative reviews should be taken care of properly.
While treating a patient, make them the focus
Nothing annoys a patient more than a dentist who is engaged in a side conversation while treating them. When the dentist treats them and explains to them the procedure, what is wrong, and what he is doing to fix the problem, he succeeds in making a better bond with the patient and that increases the likelihood of them returning.
Plan a community outreach program
Dentists educating people about oral health and hygiene can earn returning patients as well as new ones. Depending on the resources available, a dentist can even offer his/her services for free for half a day or so, as part of a community outreach program.
The nitty-gritty of a dentist-patient relationship has its own quirks. With time, most of the above mentioned suggestions are automatically understood. The crux of the matter is that if a dentist wants to increase their returning patients, they need to make the patient feel heard, important, and comfortable. And the aforementioned are just some of the relevant ways to accomplish the same.