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Dental Patient Retention: How to Prevent Losing Patients

how to prevent losing patients and improve retention

As of 2023, there are over 185,000 dentist businesses in the United States. Unfortunately, many of these businesses struggle with new patients not coming back for a second visit. While every medical practice will naturally experience some patient turnover. However, high patient retention is crucial for the well-being of a dental practice, so it’s worrisome when patients start leaving. 

Patient retention refers to new patients becoming repeat patients. Retention is calculated as a percentage, with the goal being to keep that number as close to 100% as possible. Retention is crucial for businesses because it’s always cheaper and more efficient to maintain existing patient relationships than it is to acquire new ones. 

This blog will cover some of the leading ways dentists can keep their patients happy and ensure they come back after their first visit. Read on to learn about the best dental patient retention strategies!

Online Booking System

Patients don’t want to have to jump through hoops when scheduling a dental appointment. While there will always be some patients happy to phone in, most people these days want to be able to manage their appointments online. A recent study found 59% of customers will switch to a competitor if the business does not offer online booking options!

Most online booking systems are an added cost for your company. But this cost is worth the investment when so many patients won’t even consider returning without it. 

Schedule Appointments Before Leaving

One way to improve your chances of patients coming back is to book their appointments while they’re still there. 

Nothing is set in stone, as your patients can always change their bookings closer to the time, but this strategy establishes a commitment for the future and fosters patient loyalty.

Improved Day-to-Day Operations

If patients feel like your dental business is poorly run, they’re unlikely to trust you to do a good job of looking after their dental health. Many people are already anxious about getting dental work done, so even a bit of mistrust toward your business can make them reluctant to book an appointment.

You’ve got to make sure appointments are running on time, you’ve got stock of what you need, and you’re communicating early if there are issues. Also, having someone friendly and professional at the front desk can help put patients at ease and improve their experience.

One of the most efficient tools you can use to improve your practice’s professional image is an inventory management solution. This helps you stay on top of your office spending, track your stock of various items, and streamline your daily operations. That way, you can ensure that you provide your patients with the services they need without worrying about running out of inventory or forgetting to reorder. 

Be Quick to Respond

With social media and on-demand entertainment at our fingertips, people today are less patient than ever. Plus, patients in the medical industry are often under time pressure or are worried about their health, so one of the greatest comforts you can offer them is quick and professional communication.

If patients email or message your office with queries, try to get back to them within 24 hours. You may also want to ensure your communication management system includes a filter for urgent or emergency messages. 

When patients feel this comfort and efficiency, it improves their trust in your dental business. This improves patient loyalty. Besides, patients facing an emergency are likely to contact multiple dental offices at once, so being the first to respond is crucial for preventing them from switching to a competitor.

Ask for Feedback

If your office is doing something wrong that patients don’t like, make sure you’re finding out what it is! Talking to patients about their experiences and taking their feedback seriously is crucial for improving your business. 

Many patients may be shy to speak their minds openly, so offering anonymous feedback options is an excellent way to ensure you’re receiving accurate criticism. You may also want to check in with your patients after appointments and have feedback cards at your reception. 

Even if patients don’t have any complaints, knowing that they have the option of being heard can improve their trust and loyalty in your business!

Easy Payment Options

For most people, medical appointments are seen as expensive and uncomfortable. It makes this even more difficult when the payment options are limited. Seamless payment options are important to keep your patients comfortable. For more expensive bills, offer payment timelines that work for your patients. When your clients trust that you’ll give them time to get their payments sorted out, it improves their loyalty and the chances that they’ll come back. 

A Great Website

A dental practice website is an excellent way to create a hub for your operations. The website can act as a patient portal for scheduling appointments, making payments, uploading documents, and leaving feedback. You can also make announcements and reminders on the website and have links to resources, your newsletter, and any extra information they might need. 

When everything is in a central hub, your patients know they can easily find all the information they need. This makes their experience much smoother, improving their trust and commitment to your business. 

Celebrate Milestones

Celebrating milestones with your patients is a small administrative task that can have a big impact. Keep track of when patients had their first appointments or any major procedures. Communicate when you reach anniversaries with your patients by sending them cards or emails. Celebrating milestones reminds the patients of how long they’ve been with your business, and it also makes them feel cared for and valued. 

Track Your Retention Rates

Tracking your retention rate over months or years helps you better understand your patients and strategies. By analyzing these statistics, you can figure out which strategies work best for your business, and where there’s room for improvement. 

By tracking your retention, you can focus on improving the strategies that don’t work while prioritizing the strategies which promote the best retention. 

Improving Dental Patient Retention

Improving your dental patient retention doesn’t have to be difficult. By implementing the right strategies, you’ll see increased retention in no time. Start by focusing on making life easy for your patients. Use an online booking system, provide easy payment options, and be quick to respond. You can also improve loyalty by celebrating milestones and asking for feedback. 

Don’t forget to contact us for all your dental inventory management needs. We’ll help your business run smoothly and keep those patients coming back!


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