Based on reports from the American Dental Association, the average new patient retention is 41%. Overall, dentists keep just 4 out of 10 new patients after their first appointment. Just a 10% improvement in these statistics would add thousands of dollars in revenue every year.
So how do you improve dental patient retention? What kind of strategies and efforts should you implement to get patients to return to your dental office? Let’s look at four things you can do to help create an ongoing engagement with each patient.
1) Treatment planner
Making reminders and appointment scheduling is not enough for successful dental patient retention. You need to hold your team accountable and measure their success. This will help boost your performance and retention.
According to the Dawson Academy, a dental office needs treatment planning protocols. These protocols should feature a practical and easy-to-use checklist. The process can be useful for any patient, regardless of how complex their dental issue might be.
With an option like this, dentists can get proper quality control throughout the entire process. The planning begins with the dentist completing a two-dimensional functional-esthetic analysis. This checklist helps them address macro and global esthetics. As well as occlusal stability.
They would then need to add their treatment plan to 3D models. When they stick to this planning process, dentists can provide better patient care and function smoothly. That’s how they build loyal dental patients in the long haul.
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2) Effective patient education
Almost 3.5 billion people around the globe have oral diseases. Experts believe 2.3 billion suffer from dental caries. While 10% of the population has severe periodontal disease. The reason for that is relatively simple. Many people are simply unaware of how bad their teeth diseases can get.
If you want to get patients to return, you need to give them a reason to. It’s up to the dentist to educate patients and inspire them to book a dentist appointment.
For example, tell your patient if they ignore the cavity, it will continue to expand. If a tooth decays, it will make you vulnerable to brittle teeth. It might cost $200 to get the teeth fixed now. But, if you don’t treat the issue and more oral diseases emerge, then you’ll be spending $2,000 down the road.
Simply put, a dentist needs to build trust and rapport with patients – and master their soft skills.
3) Provide flexible payment options
The cost of regular dental services is usually the main reason people don’t want to find a dentist. Regular dental care is just too expensive. According to a University of Michigan National Poll, 69% of people surveyed said they couldn’t afford regular dental care. It just wasn’t in their budget.
By offering clients flexible payment options, you can overcome these financial pitfalls. For instance, you can give constant patients special discounts, financing, or even a fun points system. With every visit, patients can collect points, which can serve as a discount.
Another practical idea is to help them understand their insurance coverage. So, the next time a patient needs to book an appointment, they’ll be more inclined to use your affordable services.
By joining our Opencare platform, you can optimize your revenue cycle management. With our services, you can learn useful practices for verifying the patient’s insurance. Our team of experts will guide you every step of the way. We make treatment plans easy with full insurance verification services.
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4) Help patients make the most of the care they pay for
Many insurance plans have high out-of-pocket costs and deductibles. Unfortunately, figuring out the insurance policy can be overwhelming. You can win over patients by helping them get the hang of their expenses.
Today, dental patients have high expectations. They want their dental practice to take care of their treatment, scheduling, and insurance. If you don’t give them the service they need, some other office will.
To keep loyal dental patients, start by preparing simple brochures. These brochures should explain everything about copayments, insurance, and coverage. Mix that information with practical examples they can find in real life. This will help orient patients.
Don’t forget to talk about your copayments in detail. Some dental offices require complete up-front payments. Others prefer up-front copayments. Whereas some services don’t even ask for copayment until they have acquired the insurance reimbursement.
Basically, you should become an advocate for your clients. That’s how you build effective dental patient retention.
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Working on your patient retention rate is no easy feat. There’s plenty of effort that goes into building a loyal clientele. But, with the right strategies and the proper approach, you can turn the tide. All the options listed here can help you overcome these obstacles. What matters is that you put as much attention into the patient’s financial needs as their dental care.