8.7.15 Issue #700 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

4 Ways to Improve Patient Retention
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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You understand how important it is to develop a loyal patient base for your practice. After all, without patients, you have no reason to come to work every day. They’re the lifeblood of your practice, yet you struggle to attract the loyal patients you need to keep your practice thriving.

The truth is, many practices struggle with patient retention. I recently did a survey that covered dental practices in business for an average of 22 years. The survey revealed a patient retention ratio of 31%. So for every 10 new patients who visit your office, seven won’t return. To break that down even further, if you have 1,000 patient records on file, you only have 300 active patients – not nearly enough for you to grow the successful, profitable practice you’ve always wanted.

This may seem a little disheartening, but I’m here to help you turn it around. With a few changes, you can raise your patient retention rates to 85% or even 95%. Just think about how much additional revenue that would mean for your practice. To get started, you can click here to take my free Patient Retention Assessment and read on for four tips designed to help you improve patient retention and grow your bottom line.

1. Focus on recall. This is one of the most important practice systems, yet it’s also one of the most neglected. If you want to grow your practice and your bottom line, it’s time to reactivate your recall system. Not sure how? I suggest hiring a Patient Coordinator and making that person responsible for the recall system.

Task your Patient Coordinator with reaching out to a certain number of past due patients each day, and getting those patients on the schedule. Your Patient Coordinator should be trained in sales, and have access to the information needed to make these calls successful. Even if you are or elect to go with a patient communication system, don’t “assume” that the technology will be successful in retaining your patients.  Measure the success of any system you put in place.

If you’re ignoring your recall system, you’re missing out on thousands of dollars in potential revenue. Dental care may not be top of mind for these past due patients, but if you reach out and educate them on the importance of keeping their appointments and maintaining their oral health, they’ll be much more likely to return to your practice.

2. Improve your practice’s customer service. It’s nothing personal, but most patients just don’t like going to the dentist. They’re nervous and uneasy when they walk through those doors, and want to get the visit over with as soon as possible.

That’s why it’s so important to make every patient feel welcome and put them at ease from the moment they walk in. Make sure team members are trained to greet patients with a smile, and offer them coffee or water while they wait for their appointment. Help them fill out their paperwork if necessary, and answer any questions they might have. Create a memorable, positive experience and they’ll be happy to call your practice their dental home.

3. Consider hiring a Treatment Coordinator. All too often, dentists perform their own case presentations. These presentations usually happen chairside, and only last 5-10 minutes. Not exactly an environment that encourages patients to ask questions about the recommended treatment options.

Consider adding a Treatment Coordinator to your team, and tasking this person with providing case presentations for every producer in the practice. Your Treatment Coordinator should take patients to a quiet place to go over all aspects of treatment, from cost to how long it will take to post-op care, and answer any questions patients have about the process. Follow up with patients two days after the initial presentation and address any concerns or perceived barriers they still have. This more personalized touch will not only go a long way in improving patient retention, it will also improve case acceptance and grow your bottom line.

4. Show patients you care. Don’t rush patients in and out of the chair as quickly as possible. Take the time to get to know them. Tell them about the services you offer and how you can help them improve their oral health. Listen to their concerns, and discuss how you and your team can help them achieve their dental health goals. Educate them about the value of dentistry, and they’ll start to develop a connection with your practice that will last for years to come.

If your practice is struggling with patient retention, it’s time to make some changes and increase your patient base. You’ll soon find you have more loyal patients who refer your practice to family and friends, ultimately growing your production numbers and your bottom line.

I know making any kind of change can seem intimidating. If you need more guidance, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m here to help.

For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side

Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com
Interested in having McKenzie Management Seminars speak to your dental society or study club? Click here.
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