How important is patient retention?

The value of retaining existing customers or patients is probably undervalued by the majority of business/practice owners. There are many statistics that prove the value of customer retention. According to the book Marketing Metrics, it is twice as hard to sell a new prospect as it is to sell an existing customer.

Other statistics that prove the value of retention include the following:

  • Increasing retention rate by 5% can elevate profits by 25% to 95% (Published in a Harvard Business Review, Bain & Co.’s Frederick F. Reichheld)
  • On average, attracting one new customer will cost FIVE TIMES as much as retaining one existing customer (Lee Resource Inc.)

In short, it is not hard to see that improving customer retention can make a huge difference to your bottom line.

Given all these benefits to retaining patients, it’s critically important that you are monitoring your retention rate as well as putting in practical ways to prevent patient attrition.

How do you improve patient retention?

People buy from those whom they know, like and trust. Therefore, it is important that this “know, like and trust” is something you are cultivating in your practice.

One of the best ways to build this “know, like and trust” with your patients is to communicate with them. A printed and/or email newsletter on a monthly basis is a perfect way for your patients to get to know and like you better, and to build trust and authority. This form of communication should be personal and not generic.

Another way to improve retention is by listening to your patients. To do this, you need to implement an effective feedback loop. A feedback loop will give your patients an opportunity to be heard, allow you to improve your products and services, and, ultimately, lead to an increase in revenue. Ways to create a feedback loop:

One critical element to an effective feedback loop is to act on what you are hearing. The worst thing you can do is hear the complaints of your patients and then ignore what they have to say.

Next, you need to remain transparent with your patients. Remaining transparent with your patients will lead to an increase in trust. Whether something has gone well or gone wrong, people want the truth. Transparency is important in all aspects of business and life; it should be no different with your patients.

Finally, creating relevant promotions will help to retain your current patients. The best way to retain your patients is to keep them constantly engaged with your practice. The best kinds of promotions are ones that are personalized. If you have your patients’ birthdays on file, send them a birthday card in the mail with some special offers.

Keeping your customers engaged will ensure that you remain at the top of their mind, and help to prevent them from switching to your competition because they just don’t have a relationship with you.

Are you having trouble retaining your patients?

Don’t let your current patients fall through the cracks because you are too focused on new patients. Contact us today to discuss how we can help your practice reach new patients while keeping your current patients engaged and coming back.


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Author: Kathy Jiamboi

Owner of Creativedge Marketing, where growth-oriented dentists find dental practice marketing strategies and advice to take their practice to a new and higher level.

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