Quiz time, friends!
What’s better than acquiring one new patient?
The answer is not “acquiring two patients:” but retaining every single one of your existing patients!
Having been in healthcare marketing for over 40 years, we understand the excitement that comes with acquiring new patients. However, retaining patients will give you a more significant ROI and healthier bottom line while costing significantly less than the cost of acquiring new patients.
But how do you retain patients? How do you create a patient retention strategy that keeps your patients happy and engaged?
Patient retention is about keeping patients for an extended period, by returning to your medical practice when they need a healthcare provider. It is also about keeping loyal patients instead of just acquiring new ones.
How is patient retention different from the patient acquisition?
In fact, patient retention is the opposite of patient acquisition. The acquisition is when you obtain new patients. However, growing your medical practice takes more than just acquiring new patients. Without the ability to engage and retain patients, your practice is bound to flat line.
Unfortunately, most medical practices spend more money and effort on patient acquisition because they view it as a quick and effective way to increase revenue. What these marketers don’t realize is that patient retention is a much faster, cheaper, sustainable, and efficient way to grow a medical practice.
Upselling or cross-selling to patients with whom you already have a relationship is a more sustainable way of growing revenue because you will not need to think about educating and converting new patients. The proof is in the pudding (numbers, in our case). According to recent studies, increasing patient retention by 5 percent can increase profits from 25 percent to 95 percent. Also, the likelihood of converting an existing patient into a loyal patient is 60 percent to 70 percent, while the probability of converting a lead is just 5 percent to 20 percent, at best.
Understanding the concept of patient retention and why it’s essential can mean the difference between your medical practice’s success and failure, making it one of the most powerful growth strategies you’ll ever learn as a healthcare marketer.
Why is patient retention important?
As just discussed, ignoring existing patients in pursuit of new ones is a mistake most marketers make. While patient acquisition is essential for the growth of your medical practice, meeting the needs of your existing patients can be just as critical. Medical practices that implement a strong patient retention strategy often reap the following benefits:
1. Repeat business: Happy and loyal patients are more likely to come back to your medical practice and pay for your services. According to a study, existing patients are 50 percent more likely to try new services than new patients. Now the question is, how will you encourage existing patients to return to your practice? Always stay connected with patients through their preferred channel or method of communication. Let your patients know that you are available to address their problems. Train your staff to constantly work on improving patient services and experiences because most patients tend to stop visiting medical practices after just one bad experience.
2. More revenue: Satisfied patients already have a strong relationship with your medical practice, and they trust you more than new patients. A long-term or loyal patient is likely to spend more on each visit than someone new who has walked into your practice for the first time. This is because trust is built through each visit, helping the patient become more confident to consider your recommendations and services. This increased trust will allow you to up-sell and cross-sell services, thus helping you increase revenue without much focus on acquiring patients.
3. Cost-effective: This is one of the most noticeable benefits of patient retention. Despite all efforts in creating a robust online and social media presence for your healthcare brand, potential patients will be more influenced by referrals from their trusted friends and family. Word-of-mouth is the fastest, cheapest, and most effective healthcare marketing tool as it helps increase brand awareness and engage prospects. Loyal patients play an integral role in word-of-mouth marketing. When they talk about your brand and share positive feedback, they are encouraging others to consider your services.
4. Strengthened brand image: Your brand image is other people’s perception of your services. While a positive brand image will help you acquire patients, increase profitability, reduce cost, and attract partnerships, a weaker brand image can be one reason for a medical practice’s failure. Your medical practice’s brand image is one of the most powerful marketing assets you have, and it must convey to your patients what they can expect from your practice. However, building a brand image is a challenging, expensive, and time-consuming process. This is because patient experience, loyalty, and brand perception are interconnected. Happy patients are more likely to be loyal to your brand, and loyal patients are very likely to spread the good word about your brand.
So, how do you retain your existing patients? A strong patient retention strategy will involve learning more about your patients’ expectations and experiences with your brand. Leveraging the experiences and knowledge of patient retention experts at Practice Builders, a leading healthcare marketing agency, is important for growth in keeping up to date with the needs of your patients. We will help you put together a strong strategy to keep your patients committed and not driven to look elsewhere!
For more valuable tips on patient retention, keep reading Practice Builders’ blogs.
To know more about how our experts can help you improve patient retention at your practice, contact us for a complimentary session. Our experts will assess your existing strategies and share practical tips on improving your patient retention rate. See the bigger picture, contact us today. Set yourself up for success!