Many service-based enterprises including some dental clinics focus too much on attracting new clients and growing their clientele; while it’s not exactly wrong to do so, it’s just as important (if not more so) to make an effort in improving customer loyalty — or patient loyalty, in this case.
Patient loyalty ensures retention, repeat visits, and lowers marketing cost (by relying on more referrals and feedback from satisfied, loyal patients which are a lot more attractive than any other form of advertising). Lastly, patient loyalty can significantly improve a clinic’s image. When people see that you’re able to retain patients for years (or even decades), they’d assume that you’re able to provide consistent quality service.
That said, let’s take a look at different ways you can promote and improve patient loyalty in your dental clinic.
Quality is Key
No matter how much money you invest in marketing your brand and services, if you provide subpar service, you won’t only end up with one-time customers, but it can hurt your clinic’s image. There’s no question that people would want to get their money’s worth (or more) when paying for services, so if you’re able to meet (or exceed) expectations, your work will do all the talking for you. Having high-quality tools, updated dental technology, and continuous training can help produce high-quality work.
A satisfied patient is more likely to return to your clinic and even recommend it to their friends, family, and also colleagues. Another aspect of quality is timeliness, so, for example, if a patient is due for dental re-alignment, being able to provide a clear aligner on time by partnering with a reliable orthodontics laboratory can increase patient satisfaction and, subsequently, loyalty.
One of the significant issues that patients have with dental clinics (especially old ones) is having only the options of making an appointment over the phone or in person. However, if you’re able to provide your patients with multiple ways to contact your clinic to book an appointment, they’re more likely to continue patronizing the clinic due to the convenience of being able to book appointments quickly. As such, you can allow patients to book appointments through email, your website, social media account, and so on. The more options, the better — however, you’ll need to make sure that all options are correctly handled by trained staff.
Loyalty Programs and Discounts
A more tangible way to promote patient loyalty is by having loyalty programs. These can range from free service for specific treatments, after some treatments (for example: offering an extra/free prophylaxis after five sessions), or by providing a loyalty card that entitles long-time and frequent clients to exclusive discounts.
Stay In Contact
Sometimes, potentially loyal patients get too busy with work and other commitments that they may end up forgetting to schedule an appointment for a cleaning or some other services. So, go the extra mile by keeping contact with them in a sincere way — send holiday and birthday cards, and simple ‘thank you’ emails showing your appreciation for their continued patronage.
Connect Personally and Sincerely
Show that you care about your patients by asking them about their family, how they are, and getting to know them. Building a personal relationship with patients can improve the likelihood of them making your clinic their go-to stop for their (and their family’s) dental needs.
The Bottom Line
These are only a few of many ways you can improve patient loyalty, and basically, it centers around improving patient satisfaction through quality, convenience, and being able to connect with them.