Having recently read the global best seller by Simon Sinek ‘Start with Why’; it really struck a chord with us. We implore you to add this book to your reading list if you haven’t done so already but in case you don’t get round to it we’ve put together this (very) brief synopsis of some of the key points!
Are you communicating regularly with your patients? The main question really is, 'can you afford not to?'
With over 73% of the UK population buying goods for delivery via the internet at least once a month, with nearly 24% doing so every week*, ask yourself the question, why wouldn't you sell your dental products online?
It costs more to acquire a new patient than to keep an existing one so don’t give up on dormant patients without a fight. Reactivation may take a bit of time and effort but it’s worth it.
Do your best to prevent patients becoming dormant in the first place. Try to book them in for their next appointment before they leave the practice. Send out recall letters and follow up with a phone call.
Despite all your best efforts it is inevitable that some of your patients will become dormant.
The first step to manage dormant patients is to identify who they are. Your customer database is a very valuable asset. Make sure you keep it up-to-date. Record the dates of your patients’ appointments so you can identify who has not been to see you within the last 12 months.
There are a variety of reasons why patients may stop coming to see you. Sometimes you won’t be able to help losing patients, for example if they have moved away from the area. These patients need to be identified and removed from your list.
Some patients may have stopped coming to see you if they had a bad experience. If this is the case you need to find out what went wrong and see if you can put things right. Show that your business thinks about the needs of its customers and wants to rebuild the relationship.
Other patients may have just gone quiet because they are busy or because they just forget to book an appointment. These are the patients that you need to focus on.
There are a variety of mediums that you can use to contact your dormant patients. Frequently used methods include telephone calls, letters, direct mail and SMS messages.
Remind patients of who you are, how great you are and what you can offer them. Sell the benefits of coming to your practice. Perhaps send them a copy of your practice brochure if you have one.
You may like to offer a welcome back incentive. For example, 25% off their next check-up or £50 off cosmetic treatment.
Another idea that may provoke interest is to use before and after pictures and testimonials from happy patients who have had treatment at your practice. This could spark interest from patients who would like to have their smile enhanced.
Ask dormant patients why they haven’t attended recently. If they have been unhappy with anything, act on their feedback and let them know. This may encourage them back or at least they will go away with a more positive view of the practice.
Tell patients what’s new at the practice e.g. new staff, treatments, equipment and how they will benefit as a result. A newsletter can be a great communication/reactivation tool. If you have made improvements to the practice as a result of feedback you could include this news as well.
Rather than just using one method of communication try using two or more. Don’t just contact dormant patients once, make it a regular thing. Don’t overdo it though – bombarding patients with daily emails is likely to cause annoyance!
A successful reactivation campaign will take time and effort. To make it manageable you may like to consider spreading out mailings and calls – do a small number each week.
The important thing is not to let your patients forget about you.
If you have any questions about reactivating your dormant patients or would like our assistance with this please get in touch.