Dental retention is always tricky after a practice is sold. Some people write off as much as 50% of a practice’s patients, in the year following the changeover. While there’s no way to ensure you keep every single patient, these tips will help you achieve maximum retention. From remaking your website, to getting an endorsement from the outgoing dentist, you have options to stem the flow of loss.
1. Renovate your website
You are taking over a new practice, and you want to retain as many clients as possible while gaining some new ones. Renovating your website is one of the easiest things to do. It’s likely that the current website wasn’t kept up to date once the practice was sold. Give your practice a new website face lift, with cutting edge features. Include the option to book appointments online. By doing this simple step, you’ve already interested current and new patients.
2. Use your phones before and after appointments
While a website is great, it can’t replace the human touch. If you want to turn patients into repeat clients, you must offer them a unique experience. Your receptionist is a great tool for this, as a phone call works wonders. Ask your receptionist to make reminder calls as early as a week out, or even the day before. Then, after the visit, call again to check in and make sure the patient is doing well. This simple step vastly improves the reputation of your practice as one that cares.
3. Craft your dental patient satisfaction survey well
One powerful tool for retaining clients includes a dental patient satisfaction survey. However, you must craft it to encourage patients to use it. One way to do this is by keeping it anonymous and providing a survey box. This keeps your patients from feeling awkward about turning it in to the receptionist. Another key aspect of the survey is open-ended questions, or a rating system. Both options provide better information than simple “yes or no” questions.
4. Prioritize feedback from your dental patient survey
Once you’ve given out a dental patient survey, focus on the results. While it takes time to put all the answers into one sheet, the results achieved are well worth the effort. Don’t focus on only one type of review. Don’t get bogged down in the negative reviews, but do pay paying attention to any consistent complaints. These will help you focus on one area to improve. While everyone loves a good pat on the back, don’t only read the positive reviews, even if you have mostly positive reviews. Taking both negative and positive reviews into consideration helps you see what you are doing well, and where you need to improve.
5. Don’t change too much too fast
You don’t want to be a slave to patient satisfaction. Yes, take it into account, and try to improve the business as best you can. However, your new practice most likely, has some patients who go to it for specific reasons. If they immediately see lots of changes at once, you may scare them off with uncertainty. A business like a dental practice maintains itself because patients self-select in and out. Something about the current set-up appeals to the patients, and if it wasn’t broke to begin with, you could lose them by trying to “fix” it. Implement improvements at a steady, but reasonable pace, and you’re sure to retain patient satisfaction.
6. Maintain or create online presences
It’s not enough to have your own website. Today, every business needs a social media page, Yelp reviews, and so on. It builds credibility in the online world to have multiple points of contact with your business. If you already have that, focus on maintaining it. Do things like, send emails to new clients, or communicate through Facebook or Twitter. Additionally, try to provide helpful information through a blog or videos. By utilizing social media tools, you build a trusted brand.
7. Ask for an outgoing recommendation
Your patients have two choices when their current dentist retires and you take over the practice. They can find a new dentist, or they can give you, the incoming dentist a chance. Either way, they’re getting a new dentist. Try asking the former owner to encourage patients to give the incoming dentist a try. This helps to build their confidence in you, and in your practice.
You don’t have to lose many patients when buying a practice. Follow these retention tips to keep as many patients as possible. Focus on patient satisfaction and controlled outreach, and you can retain patients throughout the selling process.