In a competitive market, customer retention is a critical concern for your business. Although it is always good to see new clients, repeat business is what keeps your practice profitable. Your loyal customers and patients are also much more likely to recommend your services to others, becoming your own unofficial marketing team. If you want to keep them coming back, you must make some intentional choices to keep your clients happy.
Face to Face
People come to your office for many different reasons. Some may be there for a scheduled checkup. Others may be coming in for urgent service or are experiencing discomfort. Whatever the reason for a person’s visit, it is important that you and your staff are prepared to deal with people who are in a difficult place. The registration process should be simple and quick and the waiting room should be comfortable. Every member of your staff should be agreeable and welcoming, addressing the client by name when possible.
It is also important that everyone is able to talk about diagnoses and procedures in ways that a common person can understand. One way to help your staff prepare is to spend some time on role-playing different scenarios. The more empathetic they can be, the better experience your clients will have. You might also want to teach them some simple de-stressing exercises that they can pass on to anxious clients like deep breathing. Your clients may not remember everything about their visit, but they will remember if they were treated well.
Your website is an important tool for passing information to both loyal and potential clients. At a basic level, you can include business hours and directions. However, a website can be so much more than simple information. With the right platform, your clients can do some of their initial registration online, making the time in the office simpler. Adding a video to your website can keep help improve customer retention. A dental marketing website might include a video walkthrough of the practice so potential clients can see the facility. A pediatric dentist practice might have a video explaining proper brushing and flossing techniques. Using your website as a tool for education expands the reach of your practice. Your clients will be much more likely to stay with you if you are helping them at home as well as in the office.
Customer Service Evaluation
Health practices do not always consider the importance of great customer service. They may assume that, since the clients need their services, the practice does not need to be as welcoming as a retail business. However, if your clients get frustrated enough by the appointment process, they will look for help elsewhere.
In Japan, the Gemba walk is a technique where the manager or staff members walk through an assembly line in order to find wasted actions. This technique is meant to improve the efficiency of the operation. Your practice can do something similar by having staff members walk through a mock appointment. They can experience the full process from registration to dismissal. Then they can discuss what went right and what went wrong. The goals should include efficient registration at the beginning, short wait times and comprehensive exit instructions.
Another way to get feedback on your customer service is by giving clients the opportunity to review your practice. They will come to this task from a different point of view than your regular staff. It is important to get several opinions so that you can spot your strengths and weaknesses rather than respond to a single client’s needs.
An important way to increase customer loyalty is improving your reputation in the local community. You want to be a business that people are proud to be associated with. Sponsoring a local children’s sports program can be a powerful way to show you care about youth in the area. Parents are often supportive of organizations that help their children. You can also find ways to donate your services to the community. A dental practice might have staff members give basic dental care instructions in local school classrooms. A chiropractor’s office could offer free evaluations to high school sports teams. You can also take a day where your staff volunteers with a local service organization, distributing food or helping senior citizens with housework. If you choose to volunteer in a public way, make certain that all your staff members are wearing clothing with a logo that identifies the practice.
In the midst of a busy day, it is easy to let client care slip through the cracks. You want to find a balance between an efficient operation and a welcoming space. By taking the time to improve relationships with your clients, you are increasing the probability that they will come back to your practice the next time they need care. Investing resources into client retention will help your practice succeed and grow.
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