Tips to build and maintain patient loyalty
Customer loyalty is important to any business that wants to grow and to be successful. A loyal customer is a repeat customer, happy to buy again because he knows your products and services are excellent, they are happy with the way they are treated and feel a special relationship between the two of you. Often, this loyal customer will tell friends about you and your services, offer to give you a testimonial or write a positive review of your product. Good — free — publicity is something all businesses dream of, but few inspire.
What makes a customer “loyal”? Building loyalty — and retaining it — is a long-term process. Below are tips to help your business keep patients happy — and coming back for more.
Step 1: Building loyalty
1. Make it personal – If you can connect with your patients on a human level, they will come back to you. Tell them you know each patient has individual needs, and that’s why you encourage them to let you know what they require to make each visit relaxed and stress-free. Treat patients as individuals, instead of numbers, and you have taken the first step to building customer loyalty.
2. Be a ‘friend’ – Take an interest in your patients. Ask them about themselves — their favorite movies, their travels — and show an interest in their friends and families. But don’t forget to share something personal about yourself, too. This will help build mutual trust.
3. Satisfaction guaranteed – Let patients know patient satisfaction is your top priority. Then deliver on that promise.
4. Be understanding – Treat patients with respect and understand that people are busy and sometimes run late or forget an appointment. Don’t use a heavy hand for a first-time offence.
5. Be honest – Always tell patients the truth and don’t “sell” something that is not necessary.
6. Stay connected – Check up with patients after treatment to see how they are doing. Give them a call at home. Let them know you are always there for them.
Step 2: Maintaining loyalty
1. Email list – Make repeat patients an important part of your Dental SEO campaigns. Getting “special offers” will make these patients feel as though they are an important part of your practice. A personalized offer makes the offer that much more effective by making the patient feel special.
2. Keep it personal – Do what any friend would do: send birthday cards, celebrate a birth in the family, recognize a child’s graduation, send out beautiful holiday greeting cards etc.
3. Thank-you – When someone sends business your way, it’s not only polite, but good business, to thank the referrer, especially if he or she is a repeat customer.
4. Rewards – Show repeat clients you appreciate their loyalty by offering them gift cards or freebies for small services you know they will appreciate. Make this part of your “loyalty reward” program.
5. Surveys – Let long-time patients know you value them by asking for their feedback. They are in a position to let you know how you can improve customer service. Act on their recommendations and they will feel great knowing you respected them enough to follow their advice.
6. Party – Hold an office party to celebrate a holiday, such as Christmas. Use this event as a way of catching up with long-time patients. Make it special with finger foods, raffles etc.