Attrition. It’s an ugly word in business. It’s defined one of two ways on Google.com:
1. The action or process of gradually reducing the strength or effectiveness of someone or
something through sustained attack or pressure.
2. The gradual reduction of a workforce by employees’ leaving and not being replaced rather
than by their being laid off.
Have you ever stopped to wonder how the 7% to 8% per year of your own patients that move, affect your overall profits? What about those patients you are indifferent to? What, you’re not indifferent to any of them? Really? How do they know? Do you communicate with them often and tell them?
Have you ever wondered how much it costs you every day, every week, every month in lost profit, when you add up all that attrition and you don’t have a regular flow on new patients hammering on your door and burning up your phone lines?
It’s no wonder new patient marketing is absolutely central to a practice’s survival. I mean you don’t even have to piss off anyone, screw up a crown prep or third molar extraction to lose a patient. They’ll just leave because traveling from Idaho back to New Jersey for a cleaning just isn’t practical.
Or worse, they’ll figure you don’t care because no one ever called them to remind them of the treatment you’ve prescribed.
If your patient base is 2,000, you’ll lose 70 to 80 patients each year just from attrition (that’s 5.8 to 6.7 pts every month). And, if you’re not adding those back into your patient base through constant, consistent, marketing efforts, you’re shrinking. And, fast. After two years, you’ll lose 20% of your patient base.
THINK: Retention & Attraction.
Those are the #1 and #2 Jobs Of Your Marketing
There are two central themes I find in practices that are always growing, regardless of the economy: They communicate regularly to their existing patients, and, they are always looking for another source of new patients. Not just one source, but multiple sources. Me, I’m looking all the time. My ears and eyes are naturally tuned for that kind of thing; always on the lookout for an untapped media we can test.
And, if you’re in an intensely competitive area and you’re having to fork over a few hundred bucks each or more for new patients, then do this: FOCUS ON REFERRALS.
There are two places you need to always focus on referrals: in-office and out-of-the-office.
In-office is done with signage (The Best Compliment You Can Give…) and conversations you and your team have with patients. Your office mgr should be measuring and reviewing patient referrals and staff referrals with you every week.
There should be a simple bonus system in place to encourage and recognize both (pts and staff). What gets measured…(You know the drill, right?)
If you’re not communicating with your patients every month and letting them know about all the cool stuff you do in your office, then someone else will start communicating with your patient and there’s a solid chance you’ll lose them.
You’ve had patients say, “I didn’t know you did that!” right? Well, that can easily be squashed if you communicate more often and in more media channels. Email. Text. Mail (and you can mail a LOT of different things including your monthly newsletter, birthday cards, etc.). And, yes, if you are a social media butterfly, then engage that stuff, too.
If you’re not corralling your “herd” of patients and keeping them engaged and in tune, someone else will.
Start a monthly newsletter (we do it all here for you). Start a regular email (just email your monthly newsletter). Start a monthly texting special (sealants, whitening, X% off for Vets, etc.).
The more you engage your patients, the more they will engage you.
Oh, and if doing $3.4 Million in annual production – of bread-n-butter dentistry by yourself – is appealing, you’ll want to hear how ClearPath Society® Member Darold Opp pulls it off. You can check that out here.