Dentists have a unique ability to build long-term relationships with patients. Not many other health-care professionals have the opportunity to see patients on any type of regular basis, and it’s those long-term loyal patients that keep the practice growing.
One-on-one conversation while patients in the chair remains one of the cornerstones for fostering patient relationships. But in today’s digital world, there are many tools to supplement in-office discussions. If you’re looking to reinforce patient loyalty, here are five ideas to get you started.
• E-communication—Electronic communication automates ongoing patient interaction, including convenient appointment reminders, email blasts and e-newsletters, and celebrating holidays, birthdays, and treatment milestones. Every opportunity a dentist has to reach out to his or her patient base is another chance to strengthen relationships. E-communication makes it easier to do so.
• Social media—Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are not just for fun. Social networking is an avenue for continued communication between the practice and patients. Dentists are able to connect with patients online while gaining exposure to the friends and family of their existing patient base. This reinforces to patients the idea that their dentist is an oral health expert they can turn to, while at the same time exponentially increasing the online visibility of the dental practice.
• Asking for referrals and referral acknowledgement—With all of the technology available today, good old fashioned word of mouth remains the most effective marketing method. Patient referrals are validation of a job well done, so it’s important to ask regularly and to acknowledge patients who take the time to refer others to the practice. Viva Dental (viva-cards.com) offers a program that systemizes the referral request process in the practice and automates the referral acknowledgment process. This makes it easier than ever for the team to ask for referrals and for patients to refer others, all while giving dentists a better way of tracking and rewarding team members for asking and patients for referring.
• Goodmouth—Are you still giving patients a free toothbrush after every prophy? Maybe it’s time to modernize your strategy. Goodmouth (goodmouth.com) is a company that builds on this process by giving dentists the opportunity to provide patients with a toothbrush delivery service. With Goodmouth, a dental practice can enroll its patients to automatically receive new toothbrushes, floss, and branded communications from the dental practice throughout the year at their homes. This builds value and loyalty while keeping oral health care in general, and the practice in particular, in the minds of patients.
Remember, the cost of attracting a new patient is more than five times what it takes to retain an existing patient. By taking the time to strengthen relationships and instill loyalty among your current patient base, you can keep your dental practice thriving and your marketing budget in check.
RECENT TUESDAY TIPS:
Motivation myths for dental practices
Dental team compensation, and perceptions
What happens when your dental team lives the Vision?
Tuesday Tips from Pride Institute are provided weekly on their Facebook page as well as in this column in DentistryIQ. To ensure you don’t miss any of Pride Institute’s proven methods to take your practice to the next level, visit prideinstitute.com, and like them on Facebook.