Dental health is a priority for the majority of Americans. Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that 84.7% of children ages 2 to 17 and 64% of adults ages 18 to 64 visited a dental practice during the past year.
People are seeking dental care in droves, but with some 110,400 dentists practicing in the US, competition is fierce. To keep your practice thriving, you need to have high patient retention.
Here are eight ways you can boost patient satisfaction levels and drive loyalty.
1. Offer online scheduling
If patients have trouble booking an appointment with your practice, there’s a good chance they’ll give up. Make scheduling easier than ever by allowing people to do it online. Online scheduling gives patients the freedom to book 24/7 so they don’t have to remember to call your office during your office hours.
2. Send appointment confirmations and reminders
Your patients are busy people, so help them keep track of their dental appointments by sending reminders. Automated emails or text messages reduce late arrivals, no-shows, and cancellations so you’re able to maximize patient visits every day.
Allowing patients to confirm their appointments digitally means one less task for your front office staff to worry about. This creates extra time for the front office to focus on responsibilities that require a human touch.
3. Add new patient forms to your website
New patients must complete a significant amount of paperwork, but the process seems less tedious when they can do it on their own time. Making new patient forms available for download on your website allows people to fill them out prior to their appointments.
When patients can prepare in advance, they’re able to spend less time in your office. This will reduce wait times for everyone, as backups occur when people don’t arrive early enough to complete paperwork.
4. Provide small luxuries in the waiting room
Patients notice when you make the extra effort to pamper them. Transform your waiting room into an inviting space by filling it with comfortable furniture and stylish décor. Amenities such as bottled water and a coffee bar won’t put a dent in your budget, but they will make patients—and their loved ones waiting for them—feel valued. Extras such as a television and a variety of reading materials can also add to their experiences.
5. Request feedback
People want to go to a dentist who values them and respects their opinions. Sending patient satisfaction surveys via email or text after each visit is a great way to learn what you’re doing well and where you can improve.
Having the ability to see patients’ feedback turned into positive changes means a lot to them. This will inspire return visits, because having a dentist who truly cares is something worth sticking around for.
6. Connect on social media
About seven out of 10 Americans use social media, according to the Pew Research Center. Consequently, much of your patient base likely has a presence on popular social sites such as Facebook and Twitter. So your dental office needs to be on these outlets too.
Encouraging patients to follow your practice on social media and engaging them with interesting content keeps your business on their minds. It’s hard to forget to schedule a dentist appointment when updates from you appear regularly in patients’ newsfeeds.
7. Extend your hours
Your patients have busy lives, which can make it difficult for them to get to your dental office during standard working hours. Make life easier for them by extending your hours beyond the typical 8-to-5. People will appreciate this flexibility and show their gratitude by becoming loyal patients. In fact, they’ll likely refer friends and family looking for a dentist who can accommodate their schedules.
8. Create a loyalty program
Reward patients for repeat visits by establishing a loyalty program for self-pay elective outpatient procedures. For example, you could offer a “Buy 10, Get 1 Free Teeth Whitening” treatment. Choose a structure that will appeal to your target market, without cutting into your bottom line. Give patients an actual punch card, but also maintain a digital record so you can track their progress and remind them of upcoming rewards.
When choosing their dentist, patients have plenty of options, so it’s important for you to differentiate your practice. If you provide an elevated level of service, people will notice, and they’ll keep coming back for more.