Is Obtaining New Dental Patients More Important Than Retaining Established Patients?

Is Obtaining New Dental Patients More Important Than Retaining Established Patients?

Hello Friends,

So which is more important to your practice growth – obtaining new patients or retaining established patients?

The short answer, both are very important to successfully grow your dental practice.

Yes, new patients are very important, in fact, we should have a monthly new patient goal that we are working toward each month. Offices love new patients. I hear doctors and teams all the time saying “we need more new patients!” They believe that is the answer to all of their scheduling, production, and collection woes. But is that good enough to grow your practice, just ensuring that you’re getting fresh new patients each month?

Well, if you want to spend lots of money and ultimately work harder instead of smarter, then yes. But, I think it’s safe to say, that isn’t your intention or end goal.

And yet, that is exactly what I am seeing many doctors doing in their practice. They are investing time and money to bring in new patients but are not giving the same attention to retaining those new patients. Like they are just spinning their wheels and will eventually just burn out.

Oftentimes, I will see healthy new patient numbers each month, and yet, the office isn’t growing at all and their production is weak. Why is that? When I examine the data, I learn that far too many of their new patients are one-timers. They left the office without scheduling a future appointment. Why is this a bummer situation? Calling, emailing, texting, and snail mailing our patients to get them to reappoint can be a drag. It’s tough to reach patients once they leave. It’s possible of course, but it takes money, time, and energy that could be better spent elsewhere. Unfortunately, we don’t even see those attempts being made to reach out to those unscheduled new patients. No one really knows what happens to the patient after their first visit. Or they make minimal attempts to reach out to the patients before giving up after a couple of months.

What does your new patient experience look like from the initial call, and first visit, to how you stay in touch with them after they leave?

Do you know what your new patient retention numbers look like?

So if the most expensive patients to acquire are your new patients, the easiest and best patients to fill your schedules are those who have come to you before.  BUT, you may be thinking… that takes time and money to reappoint established patients too. That’s true but you have a huge advantage when reaching out to established patients of record; It’s the power of pre-existing relationships.  (Oh, by the way, on average, it can cost up to six times more to gain a new patient than it does to retain an existing patient.)

What does retaining, reactivating, and reappointing established patients mean for you and the patient?

  • We are creatures of habit.  It’s easier to do something we are already doing than to do something different.
  • Established relationship. (They already know, like, and trust you. You just need to focus on strengthening that relationship)
  • No marketing costs – you’ve already paid the initial investment in getting the patient.

What are you doing to keep track of your established patients? What are you doing to ensure your established patients don’t slip through the cracks? Here are some ideas and tips for reactivating and reappointing your patients: https://bettyhaydenconsulting.com/2019/12/31/dental-patient-reactivation-and-reappointment-tips-and-ideas/

Friends, Do you know how many of your active patients have a future appointment and how many do not? Do you know how many new patients you are welcoming into the practice AND how many patients you’re losing each month?  To help you get that data quickly, like within minutes – if your PMS is either Dentrix, Eaglesoft, or Open Dental you can request a complimentary, no-obligation practice data snapshot here: Game-Changing Awareness from Dental Intelligence  – Within minutes we’ll identify your practice’s strengths and uncover hidden opportunities.  I am happy to assist you with this at no charge and with absolutely no obligation to do anything further with me. 

What are you doing to keep your new and established patients loyal to your practice?

Loyal patients, isn’t that what we want? Patients that return year after year, accept your treatment recommendations and refer their friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. They are loyal to your dental practice because they like and trust you. You’ve earned the privilege to serve them not just for a moment but for life.

Is it really a privilege to serve them? Absolutely! Any office that struggles with getting and keeping new patients, struggles with getting patients to accept their treatment recommendations, struggles with the hygiene department’s continuing care reports and Swiss cheese-like appointment schedules, struggles to keep up with all the record transfer requests from patients for their new dental office, will learn (hopefully quickly) that having loyal patients in your practice is an earned privilege. The best part with loyal patients is the aforementioned struggles are greatly reduced or eliminated altogether.

Of course, this takes some work – implementing and following closely, effective office systems/protocols are critical to you successfully retaining your patients and reaching/exceeding your practice goals.

Doctors, if you would like to grow and improve your dental practice and have wondered what it might be like to work with me and what coaching is all about… please feel free to reach out to me to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation coaching call at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com.

Do you enjoy the dental leadership, management, and marketing tips and ideas that I share each month?   I would love and truly appreciate for you to please leave a review/recommendation for me here on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOK

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Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty (Dental Coach)

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Dental Marketing Ideas for September

Hello Friends,

September is the last month (opportunity) for you to have the best third quarter ever. Yet, many dental offices say that this is typically a slower month for them. If that is true for your office or if you just want to spice things up for September, here are some dental marketing and practice management ideas for you.

dental marketing ideas for september from betty hayden consulting

Focus: Parents – Now that their kids are back in school, it’s time for dads and moms to pamper themselves with a dental visit.

Look at your schedule for September, find any days that have a few holes in them and declare them “special days for parents”.

Reach out to all of your parents with incomplete treatment plans or that are past-due in hygiene. Invite them to come in on this “special day” for their dental visit.

Offer Incentives: $ off Ortho, Free Adult fluoride w/hygiene visit, Teeth Whitening Specials, % off treatment, etc. This could be a one day only event or you could feature a different service each day for a week. (Food & beverage is also a nice incentive 😉 )

Gift ideas: Pampering gift bag – lotion, toothbrush, lip balm, chocolate, etc. Include informational handout about the links between oral health & overall health in women & men.

You could easily team up with local businesses for some cross marketing. Salons, Massage therapists, Restaurants, etc. may be more than willing to donate gift cards that you can use in a drawing or include in a gift basket that your patients can enter to win.

Here are  4 more ways to Help your Team and Patients Smile in September!

Random Acts of Kindness Day or Be Kind Day: 1 Do something special for your team today and/or something unexpected for your patients. If you’re going to do something nice for your patients, get your entire team involved by asking for their ideas.

National Clean Hands Week: 18-24 – Give-Away for your patients during this week: Small imprinted bottles of hand sanitizer.

World Alzheimer’s Month  – Use this as an opportunity to educate your patients and the community about the importance of dental health care for Alzheimer’s patients in helping to keep them comfortable and healthy.

National Courtesy MonthThis is a great opportunity to remind your patients that: “As a courtesy to our patients we remind you of your dental reservation 1-2 days prior. We kindly request that you try to keep your dental appointments as scheduled. If you do require a scheduling change please notify us with at least a 24 hours notice of your appointment date. Thank you!”

So there you have it, some fun marketing ideas for the month of September. If you liked these ideas and plan to use some of them, PLEASE let me know. I love to hear your comments and ideas.

If you would like me to work with your office to create a custom marketing campaign for the month of September,  please contact me today at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com

Looking ahead to October – Breast Cancer Awareness Month, National Apple Month, Candy Buy Back and more! Oh, and don’t forget, October starts your final quarter so start now figuring out your production, collection and new patient goals for October, November & December. Remember to include your entire team in your plans!

If you are not yet receiving my free dental marketing ideas every month to your email inbox, please take a second to subscribe today. 

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As always, I wish you all a fantastic & productive month!

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty