Many dental practices make the same mistake: they focus too heavily on acquisition. While it’s important to ensure you’re consistently bringing in new patients, if your practice isn’t able to ensure those patients come back, it limits your progress.
Offering steep introductory discounts that eat away at profit margins isn’t enough, nor does it encourage patients to return for future care. Dental practices must find a way to create value and improve the patient experience to remain competitive. If your patients become inactive, don’t write them off. Instead, establish a process to reactivate them.
In this article, we’ll cover four solutions you can use to reactivate and retain dormant patients at your dental practice so you can maximize your recurring revenue.
Let’s dive in.
1. Focus on Customer Service
The good news for dental practices is that the global dental industry has been steadily growing every year. In fact, between 2016 and 2021, it grew from 28.1 billion to 36.8 billion U.S. dollars—a 30% increase! The bad news is that if you aren’t able to retain your patients with the right strategies, you’ll lose patients to your competition.
Before diving in, we have to look at the most important strategy for retention: excellent customer service. You could implement all the best tactics, tips, and tricks to re-engage patients—but, if you aren’t offering incredible support, your efforts will be wasted.
If you want to keep your patients coming back, you need to provide service that goes above and beyond. Every interaction with your patients needs to be a wonderful experience. Referring to patients by their names, offering uncomplicated booking, financing, and coverage options–and, most of all, ensuring patients feel comfortable and cared for the entire time they’re in your care.
2. Make a List of Overdue Patients
Once you have your customer service up to speed, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty, reactivating your dormant patients. Start making a list by scouring your entire patient database for any patient who is overdue for an appointment.
The American Dental Association (ADA) defines inactive patients as those “who have not been seen for at least 24 months.”
Make sure your list includes the patient’s name, date of the last visit, and contact information like their phone number and email address. Next, it’s time to sort your patients into three categories: patients who haven’t been back in six months, 16-18 months, and 18+ months.
Begin with the “6-month” group. It will be much easier to reschedule patients who have visited your practice recently than those who are long overdue. Start dialing, emailing, and texting if the patient is subscribed to your SMS list. Ask for them to come back. You’ll be amazed at how many patients you can reactivate just by reaching out.
3. Always Follow Up Post-Appointment
Putting a follow up plan in place is key. As soon as your patient finishes up at your front desk, ask them to book their next appointment.
Your next follow-up should be a few days later by phone or email. Ask them how their appointment was, if they have any feedback, and ask them to book the next one.
You’d be amazed at how many patients don’t re-book because they just forget. The saying “out of sight, out of mind” is one of the most true statements for reactivating dormant dental patients. If they haven’t heard from you in a while, they will probably forget you and move on.
Keep engaging your patients with follow-up messages and you will improve your retention rates drastically and grow your dental practice.
4. Implement a Subscription-based Membership Plan
If you’re looking for an effective way to boost revenue and keep patients coming back, consider implementing a subscription-based membership plan.
Some dormant patients avoid the dentist due to lack of insurance and fear of costs. The idea of a membership plan is simple. Rather than paying for each procedure on a per-visit basis, patients can pay a monthly or annual fee to cover all of their preventive care directly to your practice. Plus savings on additional treatment encourage patients to accept more procedures from your prescribed care plan. By launching a dental membership plan, you can lower cost barriers and increase patient loyalty – helping your practice retain more active and engaged patients.
Not sure where to get started? Kleer can help! Request a demo today!