You know more than anyone how important it is to continuously attract new patients to your practice. But keeping those patients is especially key to success. It takes more than an annual call, email, or flyer to remind patients of their upcoming appointment to keep them engaged and loyal in the long term.
You’re likely dedicating significant time and resources toward new patient acquisition, but make sure you’re not neglecting those that repeatedly visit your practice. Loyal patients can be your best advocates, recommending you to their peers who are seeking a hearing care provider.
Keeping existing patients can also save you money in the long run and even improve revenue. Acquiring new patients can cost between five and 25 percent more than retaining them. Additionally, a five percent increase in retention can generate a 25% increase in profit.
So, what can you do to keep your patients coming back again and again?
Retaining patients takes some effort – not just while they are at your office, but during the months in between. However, doing so doesn’t have to be complicated.
Here are some ways you can keep patients coming back to your practice for their hearing care needs.
The service and care you provide when a patient is within the four walls of your office is the most important factor in overall satisfaction. That means delivering quality service, personalized to every individual. Ask questions and listen to every patient’s needs and preferences to show you value them and care about their health and overall wellbeing.
Consider the journey your patients take throughout their entire experience with your practice – beyond just their time with you in the exam room – and how you can optimize that experience. From initial appointment scheduling, to interaction with the front office staff, to follow-up calls or emails, every single patient should feel heard, welcome, and appreciated.
When was the last time you revisited internal patient processes? If you can’t remember, it’s likely time to think through current state and how to improve. Consider the following:
Chances are, there are ways you could make these processes more convenient for patients while also improving internal efficiency. Some approaches to try include the following:
Your employees in the front office are most likely the first point of contact for a patient, and first impressions set the tone for the entire patient experience. Happy employees provide better service and result in happier patients.
It starts with providing front office staff members with the support and resources they need to do their jobs well. Implement tools like smart scheduling that facilitate processes and relieve some of the stress of administrative tasks. These systems make it easier to schedule, reschedule, and fill in calendar gaps for improved patient flow. Additionally, regular training to review customer service best practices, call scripts, how to handle common patient complaints, using patient management systems and other technology empowers the front office team to offer a consistent and exceptional experience for every patient.
While it’s easiest to focus your attention on patients when they are at your practice, make sure you don’t forget about them in between appointments. Months, or even years, may go by, giving them an opportunity to find another provider to take your place. Keep communication lines open with your patients between appointments.
Email is a convenient channel for reminding people to schedule an appointment, following up after an appointment, providing helpful tips, and updating patients on the latest news about your practice. Social media offers another way to broadcast timely news, updates, and best practices to your audience. Tools like social media schedulers and email automation simplify patient outreach, allowing you to set up simple email workflows or schedule communication well in advance.
Traditional channels are also useful to stay in contact with patients. Many Patient Management Systems (PMS) allow for easy database marketing, where you can upload letters and send to a select list of patients. Segment your database for new patients, patients whose warranties are about to expire, those with hearing aids that are three or more years old, those who are using specific manufacturer products, and more to keep messaging relevant.
Finally, create a patient communication calendar to ensure you are reaching out regularly.
Your practice cannot operate without patients. Drawing patients in is one step toward growth, but holding on to them is what will truly determine your success. Patient retention comes down to not just the quality of care they are given in the exam room, but every interaction they have with your practice and your employees.
It’s time to take steps toward providing an exceptional patient experience across touchpoints to grow a loyal patient base.