These 5 Strategies Create Successful Dental Patient Retention

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Why should retaining patients at your dental practice matter to you? What’s important about finding patient retention strategies that work for your practice?

Fundamentally, patient loyalty creates a flourishing practice. Loyal patients are good advocates; and, a solid patient base helps you keep your doors open. In this blog post, explore the top five dental patient retention strategies. From improving communication and setting expectations at the start of care to building relationships through engagement and more, various tactics can be employed to foster loyalty within a dental practice. 

Let’s dive in.

#1: Prioritize Communication as a Patient Retention Strategy

As a dental practice, one of your primary goals is to keep your patients happy and healthy. However, it’s not always enough to simply provide high-quality dental care. To truly retain your patients and build a loyal following, you must also focus on effective communication. This is truly key to include in your dental practice’s patient retention strategy. Patients who feel heard, respected, and valued are much more likely to stick with your practice for the long haul. 

To achieve this, consider what your core values are as a practice. Are empathy and clear communication among them? Does your entire team know that these are a priority for you?

Practicing these values day-to-day can look a few different ways:

  • Putting patients at ease while they’re in the chair. This can mean engaging in active listening and asking them key questions about their health – as well as something as simple as asking how their day is going.
  • Setting expectations for their care. Tell them what they can expect from the appointment. If there is going to be ongoing care involved in their dental appointments, give them clear instructions on what that ongoing home care can look like (using mouthwash, monitoring certain symptoms, and more).
  • Finding ways to communicate in their preferred language. This doesn’t mean every single member of your staff has to be multilingual! You will likely serve patients whose first language is not English. Inadequate communication can result in patient frustration and, in severe cases, medical errors. Learning a few simple sentences can help bridge this gap. If they’ve brought someone along to translate for them, still look at the patient when you are speaking.

By prioritizing positive communication at every step, you can elevate the patient experience and ensure that your dental practice continues to thrive.

#2: Make It Easy for Patient to Get to Your Dental Practice

As we all know, arriving on time for a dentist appointment is crucial not only for the patient’s convenience but also for the dentist’s ability to keep a tight schedule. This part of a dental patient retention strategy is important in no small part for this reason. It benefits dental patients and staff members alike!

An appointment reminder by text or email that includes a link to Google Maps with the precise location of the dental office can make it easier for patients to get there on time, especially if they are unfamiliar with the area. Additionally, the reminder can provide parking information to help patients plan ahead and avoid the stress of trying to find a parking spot on the day of their appointment. It can be helpful to include transit instructions as well. With the help of such a reminder, patients are more likely to arrive on time, therefore reducing wait times. This allows for a smoother dental experience and can improve overall patient satisfaction. If you have an appointment reminder system offered at your dental clinic that allows you to automate messaging – take advantage of it! Facilitate your patients arriving on time and stress-free.

Well-timed dental appointment reminders are immensely helpful for ensuring that patients attend their scheduled appointments. Research has shown that patients are more likely to attend their appointments when reminded via phone, email, or text messaging. In fact, studies have demonstrated that the use of reminder systems can significantly increase appointment attendance rates, up to 29%. Therefore, it’s imperative for dental practices to leverage technology and offer patients a range of reminder options to ensure that they receive timely notifications.

Ultimately, implementing an effective appointment reminder system can lead to better patient outcomes and improved patient experience – which leads to patient loyalty and retention.

#3: Dental Patient Retention Strategies Involve Prepared Patients

As dental practice staff, it is crucial to bear in mind that patients today lead busy lifestyles and need help remembering to follow pre-appointment instructions. This is a key part of a retention strategy for dental patients. 

Fortunately, the advancement in technology has brought about an effective solution: text messages or automated reminders. dental patient retention strategies

By sending pre-appointment instructions to patients in a way that is accessible to them, dental practices can do that much more to ensure successful appointment outcomes. Post-appointment instructions that are easily accessible for the patient help improve overall outcomes, as well.

One of the ways this can be achieved is by sending pre- and post-appointment instructions by email and text. Rather than sending them home on a piece of paper which can be easily lost, texts and emails will always be in patients’ phones and/or computers.

With the ability to automate these kinds of reminders, practices can help ease the stress and anxiety that patients may feel about their appointment, improving their overall experience and satisfaction – while making the ability to deliver this kind of messaging user-friendly for your staff. It also shows patients that their dental practice cares about them. Both the patient and dental staff want the appointment to be successful.

Those successful outcomes are part of what will keep patients coming back to your dental practice. Prioritize preparedness as part of your patient retention strategy!

#4: Educate, Educate, Educate

As a dental practitioner, educating patients about their oral health is a crucial component of providing high-quality dental care. It is also important as part of dental patient retention strategies. It demonstrates that your practice is a trustworthy source of dental expertise – and shows your patient that you care about their oral health.

This process includes sharing valuable information that equips patients with the knowledge and skills they need to take charge of their oral health. When patients feel empowered to manage their oral health effectively, they are more likely to experience better overall health outcomes and a better quality of life. By taking the time to educate patients about factors that can impact their oral health, dental practices demonstrate a deep commitment to providing quality care and improving patient outcomes.

That means that your retention strategy includes having educational materials as part of the dentist’’s toolkit. These materials are offered to patients to help them understand the importance of dental hygiene and how to properly care for their teeth and gums. They vary from basic oral hygiene instructions such as brushing and flossing techniques to more specific information on the correlation between dental health and overall health.

Common educational material includes: 

  • Brochures. These provide detailed information on dental hygiene and the treatments offered by the dental practice
  • Video instructions & Live Demonstrations. Patients are able to see how to brush, floss, and use interdental cleaners effectively.

In addition to printed or electronic materials, interactive tools such as apps or online quizzes can be valuable to engage patients. Furthermore, dental care providers can opt for using educational aids such as toothbrushes, dental floss, fluoridated toothpaste or mouthwash samples for their patients to take home and use regularly, which can further encourage good oral hygiene habits. 

#5: Incorporate Feedback from Your Patients

Patient reviews are an incredibly valuable tool for dental practices to gauge the success of their patient experience strategy. By analyzing the feedback provided by patients, dental staff can identify areas where they excel and areas where improvement is needed, helping them to continually enhance the patient experience. 

Positive reviews can serve as a powerful testimonial to a practice’s quality of care and commitment to patient satisfaction. On the other hand, negative reviews or constructive feedback can provide valuable insights into areas where the practice may be falling short, allowing staff to take corrective action and improve the patient experience. 

By actively seeking out patient feedback and responding to their concerns, dental practices can build trust with their patients and create a culture of continuous improvement that benefits everyone involved. This is particularly important in today’s competitive healthcare landscape where patient satisfaction is more important than ever. In summary, patient reviews provide dental practices with valuable insights into their patient experience strategy, allowing them to continually improve and provide patients with exceptional care.

One way for dental practice staff to take action based on patient reviews is by proactively monitoring patient feedback and immediately addressing areas where improvements are needed. This may involve reaching out to patients who have left negative reviews to better understand their experience and resolve their concerns. Additionally, it is essential to analyze reviews to identify common themes or issues that may be affecting the patient experience. Staff can then work collaboratively to develop and implement strategies to address these concerns and continually improve the quality of care provided by the dental practice. By taking action based on patient reviews, dental practice staff can demonstrate their commitment to providing the best possible care for their patients and build a positive reputation in the community.

Patient Retention Strategies for Dental in the Field

Of course, every practice is unique. As you put your dental practice’s patient retention strategies into place, you will learn what works best for you and your patients. We wish you luck in this exciting work!

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