By: Anais Osipova
With that much competition, you may wonder how your dental practice can retain patients, especially happy and loyal ones.
5 Tips To Keep Your Dental Patients Happy
With the following tips, you can keep your dental patients satisfied and coming back for regular care.
- Offer Flexible Appointments
- Offer Dental Financing Options, Memberships, and Personalized Discounts
- Optimize Your Website
- Create a Relaxing Environment
1. Offer Flexible Appointments
With several dental practitioners to choose from, patients probably won’t wait around for an opening, especially for emergency care. Instead, they can easily inquire with local dentists to see which office has the earliest opening that fits their schedule.
To combat the loss of patients due to scheduling conflicts, offer:
- flexible morning, evening, and weekend appointments
- allow your patients the freedom to book online and by phone
As a result, you can accommodate patients with active schedules and increase the likelihood they will be satisfied, return clients.
Additionally, your patients likely have their days booked solid. In turn, they can’t waste precious time waiting past their original appointment time.
To avoid subjecting your patients to long wait times and potentially losing them as clients, implement better scheduling practices. For instance, if a regular dental cleaning appointment takes around an hour, allot an additional 15 minutes in case the patient is late or has questions post-care. This ensures you don’t lose your next client because they are unsatisfied with the extended wait time.
In the last year, 59% of clients reported having higher customer service expectations.
Primarily, patients expect more transparency and educational information from health care professionals. Thus, communicating with your dental patients regularly can help you build better relationships, promote satisfaction, and ensure their loyalty.
For instance, educating your patients about proper dental hygiene and preventative care can increase client relations. Additionally, you can set up consultations to make it easier for your patients to come by with specific questions or concerns.
Although the Internet offers convenience and a wide range of information, it is easy for patients to misdiagnose their conditions. Instead, speaking with a professional one-on-one about their dental health can bolster trust. This can go a long way in making your patients feel more comfortable and educated about their dental health.
Also, 57% of patients said they expect appointment reminders and follow-up care through automated messaging, particularly texts, phone calls, and emails.
Moreover, 58% of patients value the responsiveness of dental clinics to follow-up questions via email or phone. With increasing customer service expectations, dental professionals must adapt to their patients’ desire for attentiveness.
Going the extra mile to send personalized appointment reminders, follow-up surveys, and treatment plan emails shows your patients you care about their long-term wellbeing. In turn, patients who feel valued will value your dental practice with loyalty.
Lastly, make sure to encourage client feedback. Listening to what your patients like and dislike about your dental practice can help you improve areas that may be lacking. In turn, this demonstrates to your clients that you value their input and actively seek to improve their care and experience, ultimately boosting customer satisfaction and loyalty.
3. Offer Dental Financing Options, Memberships, and Personalized Discounts
Unfortunately, yearly around 30% of Americans do not receive needed dental care due to their inability to afford the services.
Offering your patients dental financing options can help them get the dental care they need at a price that fits their budget.
If insurance doesn’t cover the cost of their procedures, your clients can pay the remaining balance in installments with a payment plan. As a result, dental financing promotes customer satisfaction and loyalty by offering a win-win for your clients: they can get the care they need with flexible repayment options.
With membership plans, patients are two to three times more likely to visit the dentist than uninsured patients. For example, you can offer patients a six-month membership with 30% off all dental services. This encourages your clients to return to a dental practice that provides high-quality care at reasonable prices.
Additionally, 80% of survey respondents preferred businesses offering personalized experiences and care. For instance, you can implement a loyalty program to encourage return visits. After the fifth visit, your patients can receive a free cleaning.
To add more of a personal touch, you can send promotional discounts to patients on their birthdays. This gives your clients a monetary and emotional incentive to return to a dental practitioner that recognizes and values them.
4. Optimize Your Website
When comparing dentists, patients will likely consult the practice’s website for more information. Often, the deciding factor between two practitioners is the quality of their site.
As such, your website should include:
- educational information
- FAQ page
- dentist’s bio to establish trust and expertise with potential clients
When seeking dental information, patients are likely to consult the Internet once again. Providing educational information on your website can establish you as a valuable resource for your patients.
Second, an FAQ section offers clients accessibility to the most pertinent information. Both these pages suggest to potential clients that your dental practice is in the business of care and patient wellbeing.
Lastly, potential clients will likely want to thoroughly vet their medical professional before paying them a visit. Therefore, including a dentist bio page can help patients get to know the educational and professional background of the dentist.
For instance, include information about where you obtained your degree, how many years you have been practicing, and your specialties. This can promote trust in the client that the dental practitioner is an expert with relevant experience in the field.
5. Create a Relaxing Environment
Unsurprisingly, 75% of adults have a fear of dentists, often causing extreme dental anxiety that prevents them from receiving necessary care. And others may choose not to return to a dentist after just one bad experience. While all the pain and discomfort of dental procedures can’t be mitigated, dental offices can take extra care to create a welcoming and relaxing environment despite it.
Dental practices can calm anxious patients by offering free WiFi or video entertainment. Especially during lengthy procedures, your patients can distract themselves by watching a movie with noise-canceling headphones. This can help your clients calm their nerves by focusing on an activity other than the anxiety-inducing procedure.
Additionally, create a calming waiting area and procedure room. Often the sight of sterile white walls is enough to make a patient tense. Instead, liven up the walls with paintings, photographs, plants, or a mini water fountain.
Moreover, some clients may be averse to the sounds or smells of a dental clinic. Playing music and incorporating aromatherapy diffusers can promote a more relaxing environment.
While quality dental care and attentive staff might be vital to a successful dental practice, it might not be enough to keep your patients happy and loyal.
Nevertheless, there are tips to help you keep up with competition and rising client expectations.
Most importantly, flexible appointments, communication, and dental financing are key strategies for keeping your patients happy and loyal.