This article was originally posted on www.getweave.com. We have shared it here for our visitors and clients as a resource for their own patient retention issues and questions.
You can read the first 15 ways to increase patient attention here, but please visit Weave to read the rest of the article!
Improve Your Office
1. Make Appointment Scheduling A Breeze
A dental practice is no place to play hard-to-get. People aren’t usually knocking down your door to get their teeth cleaned!
If your patients have a difficult time scheduling an appointment, they’re going to be upset before they ever come to your office (or worse, just give up and go someplace else).
It should only take a couple of minutes for someone to get their appointment in your calendar.
2. Confirm Your Appointments In A New Way
Sending a confirmation text is an easy way to not only remind someone about their appointment but also an opportunity to show your appreciation for their business. Try thanking them before asking them to confirm.
BONUS: Send your automated messages from a full 10 digit phone number versus a short code for better open rates. Weave provides an excellent patient appointment reminder solution.
3. Have A Professional Website
It doesn’t have to be the most amazing website in the world, but having helpful information and a few images of yourself, staff or office could go a long way in helping new patients feel comfortable making that first call.
There are easy-to-use website template services out there that provide some great, and relatively inexpensive, options, such squarespace.com. Also, even though your current patients have contacted you before, odds are they don’t have your number saved in their phone.
Make certain that vital information about your business is easily accessible such as: your phone number, address, hours of operation, and other vital information. It is imperative this information is well formatted on the mobile version of your website.
4. Make Sure Your Website Is Easy To Find
Even repeat customers may not remember your website url. When your website ranks high in search engines your patients can easily find the information they need.
5. Make Sure You Have An Updated Google Business Listing
Having a Google Business listing helps to ensure your information comes up quickly on Google search results, and even produces a map listing for patients to get to your practice easily.
This also demonstrates you care about making things simple for your patients and that you care about your marketing.
6. Make Sure You Have An Updated Bing Business Listing
Google listings are great, but a portion of your audience may be looking on Bing as well. (Yes, Bing users are people, too!) Make sure you’ve updated this listing for anyone not using the Google search engine.
7. Sit In Your Own Waiting Room For 30 Minutes
Have you ever sat in your own waiting room for half an hour? Give it a try.
By the end of your time you should have a few ideas about how to make the experience a little nicer.
8. Provide Enough Parking
Anything you can do to provide ample parking is a plus. Consider making some spots reserved for only patients if you share your parking lot with other businesses.
9. Give Patient Payment Options
According to the National Survey from the Health Policy Institute of the American Dental Association, Why Adults Forego Dental Care, 40 percent of adults don’t seek dental care due to the cost.
Consider offering your patients a more convenient way to pay by creating your own payment plans or offering CareCredit.
10. Rethink Your Office Hours
It may be difficult for patients to come into your practice during normal working hours. Consider having your office open early mornings and/or later evenings to accommodate people’s working schedules, even if it’s just one or two days a week.
This will make scheduling an appointment much easier for some of your patients because they won’t have to worry about taking time off from work. Not only can this be difficult to arrange (if they have to find someone to cover a shift), but it may also mean they lose some income.
BONUS: Try being open during times that no one else in town is.
11. Ask Them What You Can Do Better
It never hurts to ask your patients what they would like your practice to change or improve. Send out a free survey using surveymonkey.com or some other free service and see what they have to say.
If you decide to make a change based on specific feedback – let that individual know that you implemented their idea.
Try sending out some great learning opportunities to your patients. Nothing shows that you’re on top of your game more than helping your patients get on top of theirs.
13. Become A Source For Health-Related Information
Engaging patients between appointments with helpful health information will keep them informed and interested in their on-going dental care.
Try using regular blog posts on your website as a mechanism for patient education. When you update your content it shows you are a practitioner who cares about staying at the forefront of care, and your patients will gain better trust and respect toward you.
14. Avoid Calls Going To Voicemail
Nothing is more frustrating than calling in to set up an appointment and hear it go to voicemail – especially during working hours. Make sure you know when your calls are coming in and that a friendly voice picks up right away.
15. Return Phone Calls
Sometimes your office will be closed and a patient will leave a message. If this happens, call them back that day and, if possible, within the hour.
Returning a patient’s call tells them they are important to you, which, from the perspective of the practice, they most certainly are. If it takes several days to get a call returned, chances are your patient will start looking elsewhere for service, especially if it’s a more urgent situation.
Need more? Visit https://www.getweave.com/patient-retention to read the rest of the article!