Dental Practice Management - Patient Retention

Patients are often eager to leave your office as soon as their appointments are done. But before they dash out the door, make sure they’ve scheduled a follow-up consultation, received a walkout statement and that they’ve had a good experience with your office. These three keys are often forgotten with post-appointment patient care, but they make big differences in long-term patient retention and overall patient experience.

A Recare Appointment

Nobody should ever leave your office without being offered a recare or follow-up appointment. Recare appointments help drive profits and increase retention rates while keeping your patients healthy and happy.

Scheduling recare appointments can be a tricky task, especially since most patients are hesitant to schedule appointments further than a month away. But your receptionist can do wonders with the right wording and a little persuasion. Always ask your patients open-ended questions, such as, “You’re due for another appointment in April. I can see you on Tuesday the fifth or Thursday the seventh. Which is better for you?” Try to stay away from yes or no questions that your patients can easily brush off.

Recare appointments are vital to keeping patients on track with their treatment plans and overall health. When you begin insisting on follow-up appointments, you’ll not only see healthier patients, but you’ll also see a big jump in patient retention and a gradual increase in profits.

A Walkout Statement

The second item patients should get before they leave your office with is their personal walkout statement. Walkout statements provide each patient with a quick overview of their dental standing. A walkout statement summarizes their payment balance, logs applicable credit card payments, details insurance information and recaps what appointment they just attended.

This is valuable information for every patient because it can answer almost any question they’ll have down the road. They are especially useful for patients on continuous treatment plans who are looking for a general idea of how many more appointments and payments they have left. When you provide your patients with a general overview of their information, they’ll feel your office is being transparent with them, which inspires trust in your practice and, ultimately, higher patient retention.

A Good Experience

It might sound cheesy—but it’s true. Your patients should always feel they’ve had a good experience. Unfortunately, numerous people dislike the dentist, but that doesn’t mean your office can’t make patients comfortable and less anxious along the way. Make patients feel comfortable throughout their appointment, and while scheduling their recare appointment, ask them how their appointment went. Did you see your dentist on time? Were you surprised by the procedure? Be personal and ask specific questions.

After you've asked these questions, use our Patient Profile to log their responses. Next time they arrive, make sure to address their concerns so they have a better experience. Oftentimes, patients just want to voice their small concerns or anxieties, and getting it off their chest and seeing you care enough to ask will turn their whole experience around. Either way, listening to patient feedback and taking action afterwards is a great way to improve the patient experience and continually improve your patient care.

Touching base with your patients after their appointment is crucial for keeping them as loyal customers. With the right skills and knowledge, it's easy to extend patient care past their appointment's end. A post-consultation check-in can make big impacts on your practice. So don't forget to communicate with each patient before they leave—they'll appreciate the outreach and leave feeling that more than their mouth was taken care of.