March 10, 2021
by Naren Arulrajah, Ekwa Marketing
According to common wisdom, an increase in new patients equals growth for your dental practice. However, that is only part of the equation. If you are losing as many patients as you are getting, then your practice is not growing.
Never underestimate the importance of patient retention
If you focus all your efforts on new patients, then you are missing a valuable opportunity for several reasons.
Does your practice have room to improve?
You strive to make your patients happy and keep them coming back. Yet, you know that is not always possible. Research shows that the average attrition rate in dentistry is 17 percent. If your number is similar, then your practice is doing okay. However, your goal is not to do okay or be average. Top performing practices often have an attrition rate of just three percent. That indicates there is almost always some room for improvement.
Success in a new era of dentistry
To be fair, the numbers mentioned above reflect data gathered before the emergence of COVID-19. Extended periods of practice shutdowns and continued fear of human contact have had a negative impact on most dental practices. However, as we adapt to the “new normal,” it is time for your practice to not only recover from the effects of the pandemic, but plan for future growth and improved performance. This includes:
Creating a positive patient experience
One of the best ways to improve your retention rate is make patients happy – and that requires more than good results. Surely poor-quality clinical work will keep most patients from returning. Yet, good quality is not enough to create a loyal patient.
We all know how common dental anxiety is. In truth, many people are afraid to visit your office, and they are not worrying about how long a crown will last or how it will look. They are worried about pain, about feeling intimidated, and about being treated like a machine in a repair shop rather than a human. The best way to improve your patient satisfaction rate, and in turn your patient retention rate, is to provide a great experience every single time. Here are a few tips to make that happen:
Attracting plenty of new patients can help a dental practice survive. Converting them to loyal, long-term patients can help a dental practice thrive. The tips mentioned here are just a few of many ways to make that happen. One of the best ways to improve your success is to try and look at your practice through a patient’s eyes. What do they see, hear, and experience? What gives them reason to come back? What might stop them from returning? Use these insights to optimize your strategy. After all, a patient-friendly practice is a profit-friendly practice.
About the Author:
Naren Arulrajah, President and CEO of Ekwa Marketing, has been a leader in medical marketing for over a decade. Ekwa provides comprehensive marketing solutions for busy dentists, with a team of more than 180 full time professionals, providing web design, hosting, content creation, social media, reputation management, SEO, and more. If you’re looking for ways to boost your marketing results, call 855-598-3320 for a free strategy session with Naren.