Tips for Growing a Loyal Dental Patient Base
There are many reasons dental practices struggle with patient retention. Of course, these factors may vary from practice to practice. But in quite a few cases, dentists are in a position to boost their retention rate markedly just by doing more of something, or by doing something a bit differently.
That something is patient education. And as you’ll see, a quality newsletter marketing program can be a vital part of your patient education efforts, which in turn will help grow your base of loyal dental patients.
Educate on the value of dentistry
We don’t have to tell you that there are folks in your community who underappreciate and undervalue the importance of good dental health, for both themselves and their families. They don’t fully understand just how important it is to see a dentist on a regular basis and to follow their dentist’s treatment recommendations. Perhaps they view regular dental visits as a luxury—or as something they simply can’t afford. Or maybe their anxiety and fear are so great that they just can’t bring themselves to schedule an appointment.
While we’re sure that many of your patients fully understand the value of dentistry, those who do not provide a unique opportunity. By educating all your patients about the importance of oral health, you provide a valuable public service. You demonstrate to each patient that you care about them, while encouraging them to act in their best interests by coming back to the practice they trust. This includes educating them about the dentist’s critical role in helping them care for their teeth throughout their lifetime.
Be sure to take this educational step with your new patients. It may be the first time they are informed about the importance of excellent dental health and what they can do—in partnership with their dentist—to achieve it.
On a monthly basis, dental patient eNewsletters, such as Dental Bites, reinforce to your patients the importance of maintaining a healthy dental routine. Moreover, these e-mails show patients that you care enough about them to send informative, easy-to-digest newsletters that will help them improve their dental health. That’s good for your dental practice.
Educate on the services you provide
It’s important to teach your patients about the value of good dental health, but don’t forget one essential component of that education: Be sure to draw its clear correlation to the services you offer. Your patients should be made aware of the full range of treatment options you provide, but avoid being too technical. With too much information you risk confusing your patients.
Your dental newsletter is an ideal tool to illustrate your expertise in treating current or future oral health issues that patients or their family members may experience. If a patient in your office presents with a specific problem or concern, you can draw their attention to a recent newsletter article that may inform and reassure them, such as
- Stress Affects Oral Health Too
- How People with Diabetes Can Keep Teeth and Gums Healthy
- Maintaining Oral Health During Pregnancy
Some professional practices that use Dental Bites, Pediatric Dental Bites eNewsletter or Perio Health eNewsletter have printed copies available in their offices. This makes it easy to personally deliver a relevant, recent article to a patient.
Always frame it in their best interests
If you are committed to putting your patients first by providing them with valuable information in their best interests and educating them about dental treatment options and products that will benefit them the most, you won’t be “selling.” You’ll be doing right by your patients first and foremost. When you focus on education and on helping your dental patients make the right choices for their individual situations, you’ll never have to give anyone a hard sell. It’s better for them, and for you, and will go a long way toward building their loyalty.
By taking a little time with each patient, you show that they matter to you. Make eye contact, call them by name and listen to them. It’s difficult for dental patients to answer questions during examinations, so take the time before or after, or pause at an appropriate time. Patients must know and trust that you’re a professional, but by encouraging a personal connection as well, you solidify that relationship and boost loyalty.
Your bottom line
It’s simple and fundamental: When dental patients are well educated, they are far more likely to proceed with the course of treatment you recommend. When they trust you with their dental health, they’ll also trust you when you tell them that a problem is urgent and requires care as soon as possible. These are the kind of loyal patients you can count on to grow your dental practice.
Loyal patients mean appointment follow-through
Patients are more inclined to keep appointments with a dental practice they believe is staffed by professionals who act in their best interests. When they recognize the value of the care you provide, you’ll have greater appointment follow-through. This will help you meet your daily production goals while also growing your loyal, long-term patient base.
After the appointment
Your patients aren’t experts. You are. That’s why you need to ensure that they are told, in layman’s terms, what happened during their appointments. A summary of services performed—such as a periodontal examination and an oral cancer screening—as well as a review of their oral hygiene practices, instructions for home care, and details on areas of concern will reinforce your expertise and high standards of care. This step demonstrates that your practice is thorough and committed to patient health and education.
These recommendations, combined with impeccable patient care, will go a long way to build and maintain your ideal dental practice—and grow your loyal patient base. Get more tips on how to grow your dental practice by downloading WPI Communications’ 30 Tips for Growing Your Dental Practice with Newsletter Marketing.
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