10 Ways to Strengthen Patient Relationship Management

10 Ways to Strengthen Patient Relationship Management
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With the increasing popularity of dental offices offering alluring promos and fancy in-office amenities on social media pages and groups, you can no longer expect undying loyalty from your patients. Even patients you have built relationships with over the years might decide to leave your clinic for a new one that offers free teeth whitening for new patients. 

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This is where effective patient relationship management gives you an edge over your competition. With patient engagement software, you can go beyond the impersonal patient relationship to ensure each member of your community feels cared for and connected to your practice.

What is Patient Relationship Management?

In plain language, patient relationship management involves implementing different strategies to ensure your practice offers individualized care to each patient from their first visit and encourages them to keep coming back until they become evangelists for your practice.

 

A strong sense of belonging and trust will reduce the chance of patients defecting from your clinic for a seemingly exciting new one. 

How Patient Relationship Management Has Changed Over the Years

About a decade ago, most clinics were more interested in getting in as many new patients through their doors as possible. However, since group practices helped strengthen private practices through eye-catching marketing techniques, competition is now sky-high.

 

Increased competition forces practices — big and small, young and old — to adapt their outreach and retention strategies to increase patient satisfaction and attract new patients.

dentist working on a computer in a back office

10 Strategies to Strengthen Patient Relationship Management

If you want long-term patient retention, it’s time to update the way you communicate. Technology has considerably increased consumers’ service expectations across industries — healthcare included. The good news is you don’t need to be a tech wizard to make your patient base happy.

 

Here are ten ways any dental office can begin strengthening bonds within their community today. 

1. Invest in Marketing

Gone are the days of printing your practice’s contact info on free toothbrushes as your primary outreach technique. When it comes to marketing, you can’t just focus on new patients. If you lose focus on your current patient-base’s needs, you’re more likely to lose their business to your competition. 

 

Invest in content creation and tools that allow you and your staff to answer common questions, educate, and more naturally communicate with your patients wherever they spend time online. 

2. Use Social Media

Social media is a great marketing tool to start with content creation and better connect with patients. 

 

If you haven’t created a social media presence yet, you’re missing out on free, native communication with patients and prospects. Some potential post topics include: 

  • Video office tours
  • Staff profiles 
  • Community outreach efforts 
  • Current promotions 
  • Procedure FAQ videos

 

Survey your current customer base to discover their most frequented channels and establish a presence with a consistent posting schedule.

3. Start Using Video

As you begin to leverage social media more consistently, you should start incorporating video content into your post schedule. According to HubSpot, 54 percent of customers want to see more video content from businesses they support. Put simply, video content is more entertaining and more likely to stop the “mindless scroll” through social media content. 

 

Your video content doesn’t have to be highly-produced, expensive marketing videos. Your customer base expects you to be an expert in dentistry, not video production. Luckily, your smartphone is more than equipped to produce acceptable video content. 

 

Some accessible tips to start producing video content include: 

  • Record in a well-lit, quiet room
  • Invest in a basic tripod for steady video quality
  • Learn free, basic editing software like iMovie for videos shot in more than one take

4. Establish a Loyalty Program

Everybody loves to feel valued by the businesses they support, including your patients. Loyalty programs are a great tool to encourage consistent hygiene visits, referrals, and other high-value actions. 

 

patient admires their smile after dental treatment

 

Reward patients who show up on time, fill out their forms, refer friends and family, pay their balance quickly, and more.

 

Modento’s integrated loyalty program makes it painless to set up and manage loyalty programs your patients will actually care about. Using the software, patients accrue points over time for actions you designate and then redeem those points for rewards like branded swag, electric toothbrushes, gift cards, discounts on whitening services, etc. – the sky is the limit!

5. Reach Patients Through Multiple Channels

You can’t engage with a patient if all of your communication goes through channels they don’t use. The best engagement feels natural. Survey and note which patients prefer text, email, or phone communication to stay in the loop with upcoming appointments, office upgrades, promotions, and events. 

 

As stated earlier, ask them about what social channels they use most often to extend your reach further. To truly maximize your reach, you have to be able to communicate messages across your different online channels. 

6. Prioritize Reviews, but Don’t Incentivize 

Although it may be tempting to incentivize your patients to leave glowing reviews to compete with other offices, this tactic carries serious risk. In fact, major review sites such as Google and Yelp maintain strict guidelines that prohibit incentivizing reviews. Incentivized reviews can often result in bias and don’t accurately reflect the service experience. 

 

However, there are ways to encourage reviews safely:

  • Make it simple. Give patients specific, detailed instructions about how and where to post a review. 
  • Include a link to post a review on Google or Yelp with every marketing message you send. 
  • Ask patients face-to-face to review after their service
  • Use language in requests for reviews that encourage a sense of “community.” Calls-to-action like, “Let the [dental office name] family know what you think!”

7. Prompt Response to Reviews

No matter how glowing or negative a review, all thoughtful reviews warrant a response for numerous reasons. Responding to positive reviews shows patients how much you appreciate them taking time out of their day to sing your praises. 

 

On the other hand, negative reviews present an opportunity to show empathy and make good on any mistakes. It also offers an opportunity to build back a hurting patient relationship if possible. 

 

Be careful not to antagonistically refute negative claims made by reviewers. Instead, acknowledge their perceived experience and show other prospective patients you go above and beyond to resolve issues. 

 

dentist and office manager review patient records on their desktop computer

8. Modernize Your Office

Everyone is going digital — don’t get left behind. From forms to treatment plans, check-in to invoicing, digital offices are more organized, efficient, and patient-friendly overall. 

 

Modento could give your clinic a digital facelift with our automated features that streamline patient flow, reduce unnecessary paperwork, and automate reminders and follow-ups. 

 

As important as it is to satisfy your patients when they’re not in the office, it’s even more important to make their in-office experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible. 

 

By integrating modern tools and technologies, you can increase the chances of your patients singing your praises to their friends when asked for referrals. 

9. Customize Verbiage and Get Creative Through Automated Outreach

With modern patient engagement platforms, patients receive fully automated messages that appear as if they were written for them. 

 

Sound like magic? It’s just data. Say you want to set automatic reminders for patients to book their semi-annual hygiene appointment. Instead of a blanket message sent to all patients without any personalization they will likely ignore, Modento allows for the placement of personalization tokens like first name, birthdate, last visit date, etc. 

 

Personalization tokens, paired with friendly, creative stock messaging, will go a long way in improving your no-show rate and getting patients in the office more regularly. 

10. Staffing Appropriately

Dental offices with small teams often find their team members wear many hats. From administering care to running the business, giving your staff enough help is the only way to successfully implement your efforts to enact the above relationship-strengthening tactics. 

 

“The more the merrier” isn’t always an answer to staffing issues. Sometimes you can add tools to your toolbox that allow your current team members to be more efficient in their daily duties. Less manual work gives them time to make social videos, write creative outreach messaging, survey patients, and have more meaningful conversations with your community. 

 

Conclusion

The dental industry is more competitive than ever. Your primary concern has always been maintaining the quality of patient care, and rightly so. However, the story of total patient experience is much broader than what happens in the chair. Strengthening patient relationships requires a comprehensive communication strategy that meets patients wherever they are, online or offline. 

 

To learn more about how the Modento patient engagement platform takes much of the patient retention process off your plate and allows you to focus on what really matters, book a demo today

Modento Posted on 19 April 2021

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