No matter if yours is an established practice or start-up, there are two areas of focus that if ignored, will sure as shootin’, cause you financial pain in the short and long term.
Patient retention must be a top area of focus. Next, new patient attraction. Most offices are losing as many patients out the back door as they are welcoming in the front door. A focus on retention first, helps plug that hole in the bucket. This is accomplished with an increased focus on service, excellence in all you and your team do, a real, printed patient newsletter mailed monthly (full of non-dental articles, office gossip, patient recognition, referral contest info, and more), two to three emails to your patients per month with special offers mixed with information about the office and some dental health topics. It’s communicating to your patients about referring, too, through an established referral program that evolves into its own culture. Our Members here at JJD, get access to a 2-day event I held titled, The All Referral Practice. This program instructs offices on how to create, develop and run an All Referral Practice.
It’s the opposite for a start-up. Focus on new patient attraction, first. Then, retention. There is no substitute for massive numbers of new patients. Understand in advance that some will stay and some will go. That’s OK. You have to simply understand that is part of the deal. Not every pt will be right for you and you right for them. At the end of the day, it’s about moving bodies through the practice, allow them to experience your culture, your team and your vision and values. The more patients you see to present treatment to, the more that will say yes. I’d also suggest at this time, a heavy focus by the doctor and the team on SALES and the SALES process. Or, case presentation and the process around it. That’d include reviewing it (recording it on an iPhone for example, or video-ing it), critiquing it, improving it and working at getting a close rate of 85% or better on every patient in the chair. Most have no idea what their metric is for close rates! And, it’s imperative you know so you can improve it. So, start measuring today! Plus, be sure to know the source of every patient and how much you invested to get that patient in the door so you can track production and collections per patient source. This data will tell you where to invest your marketing dollars with the greatest ROI!
Most of us mistake activity for accomplishment when it comes to marketing our practices. Retention, like new patient attraction must be measured. All expenses associated with retention should be known and held accountable/tied to a specific result or outcome.
I shoot for a 3:1 ROI minimum on all marketing expenses. Each one of them. If I get a 2:1 ROI or worse, I look carefully at what we’re doing and review each component to see if we can increase results first, or decrease expenses. Decreasing the expense is the last part I look at before I cut the expense altogether.
Bottom line…while I believe there are some tough economic times ahead of us, NOW is the time to work hard at growing your practice through attraction of new and retention of existing patients. We’d be happy to help you achieve those goals. Contact us to learn more. Our phone: 503-339-6000.