[Updated 9/28/17]

At some point during your career, you will have patients that go to another practice for one reason or another.

It is impossible to retain every patient that walks through your doors, but there are ways to reduce the chances of someone leaving your practice.

Some of the reasons they left are out of your control, such as if they moved, found a lower price practice or they were referred to another place by friend or family. But, actually, the biggest reason why someone takes their business elsewhere is due to poor treatment.

A study conducted by RightNow Customer Service Report found that 86% of individuals said that they stopped going to a business because of a bad customer experience, up from 67% in 2008. The other interesting find from this study was that 85% of people would spend more money if they could receive superior customer service.

Creating a great customer experience is what happens the instant contact is made with your business or practice. This occurs wherever the patient interacts with employees and is usually outside of the influence of management or owners. To make things more complicated, the more employees the patient has to interact with, the greater chance there is for them to become dissatisfied.

Here is a simple formula that puts this in perspective:

(Our Customer Experience Performance) – (The Client/Patient’s Expectation) = (The Client/Patient’s Satisfaction Index)

In today’s world, the ability for someone to spread their message of a poor customer experience has grown due to social media and online review sites. Positive reviews are great for your business, but negative ones can damage it.

According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs:

Consumers tell twice as many people about poor experiences than positive ones.

Mix this with the fact that 86% of people won’t purchase from a business with negative online reviews, and a bad customer experience can lead to a lot of missed opportunities for your practice.

Maybe these measures mean you need to spend more money to upgrade your staff, upgrade your client environment or whatever upgrade will make your customer experience a greater one. It may mean you also need to increase your prices to do so. As we stated above, consumers are willing to pay more to receive excellent customer service.

Many places are not even sure where their patients stand in regard to their satisfaction. A great way to collect a sample of reviews is using online surveys. You can implement these in your practice and get feedback from both patients and employees on the customer experience.

The best advice for any patient situation is this quote I heard from one of my favorite people and professional sales and customer service trainer, Marvin Montgomery:

Do unto the customer as they want to be done!

Have you taken a look at your online reviews recently? How are they?

If your practice has lower than 4 stars, you could be losing out on potential patients. Contact us today to discuss how we can help your dental practice!

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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