When It Comes to Retaining Patients, Every Detail Matters

We recently hosted Daniel Zimmon and Sooji Park of NatScent on Dental Marketing Theory. They help dental practices achieve an attractive interior scent by using the same technology you might notice at work in boutiques or hotels — the ones that smell just the right level of enticing whenever you walk through their doors.

The goal is to help patients feel more relaxed, comfortable… and ready to sign up for another appointment.

This got us thinking about how when it comes to retaining patients, the little details really do matter. So if you want to boost your recare rate, it’s worth putting in the effort to get those right.

Of course, the way your doctors or hygienists interact with patients is essential. Everybody wants to feel confident and safe with the folks providing their healthcare, and there’s probably no bigger factor in determining whether a new patient returns for a second appointment than whether they had a positive experience with your clinical team.

Your receptionists and whoever is answering your phone calls play major roles as well. For new patients, especially, a skilled, friendly call handler can make all the difference between a scheduled appointment and a quick hangup.

But you don’t want to lose sight of the rest of your office experience. A great way to assess the whole thing is by putting yourself in the shoes of a patient. 

Start by parking wherever patients park. If that’s out in front of your practice, notice how it looks from the outside. Is it worth planting flowers or washing the windows? 

If you’re on the fence, the answer is almost certainly yes.

Next, walk into your waiting room. Take a look around, sit down, stretch out. How does the room make you feel? 

Would you want to be waiting there?

Then keep going and head back into one of your patient exam rooms. Does it seem welcoming, unappealing, or neutral?

You don’t need us to tell you which one of those you want to aim for.

The point of this exercise is to remember that whatever you’re noticing will likely be noticed by dozens, if not hundreds of patients each month. And every one of those patients has a busy life full of competing demands on their time and attention. 

If you want them to give you some of that time on a regular basis, ask yourself: Is my practice making a visit the kind of experience someone will want to have again? Then think about all those little details that can add up to a big yes or no.

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