As a medical practice owner, what’s the one thing your practice counts on? The answer is – patients!
While every medical practice needs to acquire new patients, it is equally critical to retain patients, as the acquisition costs are five times more than the retention costs.
So, if you haven’t been thinking about patient retention, now is the time.
What is patient retention?
Patient retention is the opposite of patient attrition. Patient retention is a marketing strategy. It involves trying to keep patients engaged and involved with your brand for a more extended period so that they are loyal to you and return to your practice whenever they require service like yours.
Patient retention is an essential component of a complete patient lifecycle – it helps bring patients back to your practice after their initial visit.
A patient retention strategy includes retention ideas and tips to keep the target audience loyal to the medical practice and keep the practice on top of its game.
Importance of patient retention
Knowing what patient retention is, and how it will help your practice thrive, can mean the difference between your practice’s success or decline, making it one of the most powerful strategies you’ll ever learn as a healthcare provider.
To help you focus more on retention, here’re some patient retention statistics:
- Increasing patient retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25 – 95%.
- The success rate of upselling or cross-selling to an existing patient is 60 – 70%, while the success rate of upselling or cross-selling to a new patient is 5-20%.
Now that you understand the importance of patient retention, let’s dive deeper and learn some of the best practices and patient retention strategies that successful medical practices implement.
How to improve patient retention?
Here’re some useful tips:
1. Create Patient-Focused Content
Patient-focused content is one of the most effective ways of keeping your existing patients happy. Patients already trust your medical practice and choose as their provider. Sending them the same content that you are sending to new patients just won’t cut it. Patients who are visiting you for some time know you better than a new patient. So, focus on creating content that shows this. Personalized content will create an emotional connection. It will also help them learn more about your new and existing services, stay up to date with current events at your practice, and participate in contests, webinars, etc.
2. Use Social Networks to Strengthen Patient-Provider Relationship
The relationship between providers and patients has evolved a lot with the rise of social networks. Earlier, people didn’t want healthcare brands on social networks because they viewed it as spam. However, things are different now, with medical practices starting to interact with prospects in a way that they enjoy. However, if you are posting nothing but new services and their prices, you are highly unlikely to build a long-lasting relationship with patients. If you want to truly engage your target audience and make a lasting impression on their minds, you’ll have to share informative content that is suited to the platform. You’ll need to show the human side of your brand. To keep patients engaged and satisfied, you can try responding to your brand mentions, answering queries, “liking” posts where your brand is tagged, engage in online conversations, and run contests and giveaways.
3. Ask for Feedback
Feedback is one of the most critical and valuable insights your patients can offer to your medical practice. However, instead of running time-consuming and expensive market research campaigns, simply ask questions through email, social network, or face-to-face when patients visit your practice for appointments. The idea is to take patients’ inputs to understand what’s working and not for your medical practice. You can also choose to share the survey results with your patients. Your patients may appreciate your honesty, and this might motivate them further to share their opinion. Not just this, but when you make changes based on their feedback, it’ll tell patients that you genuinely care about their likes and dislikes.
4. Track and Analyze Patient Engagement Data
Patient feedback can be subjective, but numbers will never lie. Whether you measure total views on your blog, email open rates, or conversion rates, patient retention is data-driven. By studying your patients’ engagement levels, you can learn what they are genuinely interested in and what will make them stay loyal to your practice. This data will allow you to identify gaps in your campaigns and help you refine your strategy accordingly.
5. Defend Against Attrition Early
The seeds of attrition are planted the moment you acquire a patient. Even after the initial few consultations, your services might be unfamiliar to your patient. Obviously, you cannot expect a new patient to figure out everything on his or her own. This is the reason creating an excellent patient experience is essential from day one. Explaining the unique aspects of your services will work wonders for retention.
If you’re serious about patient retention, you should follow the patient retention strategies outlined above before it’s too late. Just a minor improvement in attrition will make a significant difference in your growth. Acquiring new patients should be your focus, but not the fulcrum of your growth plan. A focus on patient retention might not be as appealing as the latest growth hacks, but it’s a more sustainable and long-term approach. Take patient retention seriously, and your medical practice will reap the rewards for years to come.
Want to learn more about patient retention? Read our blog, “A Complete Guide to Patient Retention at Your Medical Practice” here.
Contact us to know how Practice Builders can help you improve patient retention rates.