The 5 Tactical Steps to Patient Retention
By Dr. Michael Perusich – CEO Kats Consultants
Patient retention is the statistical measure of your practice which indicates both how it will grow and how healthy your business is over time.
But retention doesn’t happen by accident. It is a very intentional process with foundational steps that must occur for your retention procedures to be effective.
The success of patient retention is very evident in the dental industry. It’s common for dentists to have so many patients on their books that it can take months to be seen as a new patient.
So what is your strategy to keep patients enrolled in care and not dropping-out? What’s the magic of keeping patients in care for the long-term? What’s the magic secret that the dentists have figured out to retain patients?
Well…There is no magic! But there is a very intentional process to make patient retention happen.
Below, we’ll explore the 5 tactical steps that lay the framework for patient retention success.
The key to patient retention is building a great experience for the patient. An experience unlike one they can get anywhere else. This isn’t hard to do. After all, the traditional medical office experience is very sterile and easy to compete against.
Creating a special experience for patients is what keeps them retained in your practice. For example, how is Lexus so successful? It’s not necessarily because they build the world’s best car. Don't get me wrong, they make great cars, but it’s because they create a phenomenal customer experience.
So, what are the 5 tactical steps? First, we want to make a distinction between tactical steps and procedures when it comes to patient retention. Your retention procedures are in-office processes that help keep patients engaged in care. Procedures such as advanced multiple scheduling and missed appointment calls, represent your processes for patient retention. But your tactical steps are what make those procedures work.
So, here are the 5 Tactical Steps to Patient Retention that must happen to get patients to stay, pay, refer, and believe in you enough to remain patients for life.
Tactical Step #1: Communicate
Your patient communication is at the forefront of your success with patient retention. And I’m not just talking about your patient education and communication of office policies and procedures. Your communication must be tactical and delivered in a manner that exudes doctor authority, warmth, kindness, and empathy.
Memorizing scripts and providing a non-stop flow of chiropractic education will not get you there. In fact, real communication is born out of listening and finding ways to meet the patient’s needs in an honest manner.
Effective communication that leads to patient retention is born out of delivering a concise report of findings with options, effective front desk and staff communication, coordinated and honest conversations that doctors and staff have with patients.
Tactical Step #2: Be Connected
Make a connection and be engaged with patients. Notice special days and events. Smile and show concern for the patient as a human being. Remember the quote, “You never know how far-reaching your actions may be.”
Be ready to be the smile in someone’s day and you will build trust for a lifetime.
Tactical Step #3: Service-Oriented
Provide service in a manner that makes patients feel welcomed and their needs met. Be elastic with customer service. Offer options – payments, scheduling, services, and treatment. Get patients engaged in our office culture. Walk out from behind the front desk and talk to patients. Have the heart to go above and beyond to make patients feel special about themselves, the care you deliver, and their decision to be your patient.
Tactical Step #4: Add benefits
Introduce patients to the various services that you offer and why they can be important. This helps open patients minds up to how you may be able to help a wide variety of people with different conditions. This, in turn, opens up the path for referrals from your patients.
Talk about supplements, decompression, laser therapy, weight loss, etc that you may offer in your clinic. Communicate how these services are used and who can benefit. For example, talking to patients about laser therapy and how it can help with conditions like plantar fasciitis. Listen for opportunities to present your services to patients when they talk about friends or family members that may be suffering from a condition.
Tactical Step #5: Create the Cache
Cache is the culture you create in your office that makes it the place everyone wants to go for Chiropractic care. Your cache should be carried into every contact point you have with patients and your community – your office, marketing, social media, website, internet presence, etc. Develop and promote your brand around your cache. The goal is to become the “Chiropractor to the stars” and the place where everyone wants to go because it is not just great chiropractic care…it’s an experience!
Let’s face it – the traditional chiropractic encounter can be uninteresting and un-eventful for patients. But we can make the patient visit exciting, fun, and meaningful by incorporating these 5 easy tactics. Once incorporated into your practice, these 5 tactics will help you understand your patients’ needs more intently, build trust, increase referrals and PVA, grow your collections, improve social media reviews, and rally patients to long-term retention.
Create a great experience for your patients and they will stay, pay, refer, and believe in what you do!
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