Any time you lose a patient relationship, it hurts. Why are they leaving? Is a competing practice doing something different – something better – to woo your patients away? Are you unwittingly doing something to prompt patients to lose faith and start shopping?
Sure, some patient attrition is just part of running a robust practice. Patient needs change. Families move out of town. But patient volume is a number that needs constant monitoring. Whether it’s a sustained downward trend or a dramatic drop, the sooner you recognize the loss, the faster you can get it turned back around.
The turnaround is urgent. Preventing the drop in the first place is even more urgent. Why? Because attracting and acquiring new patients is a lot harder – and a lot more expensive – than keeping the patients you already have.
Why is this happening?
If you’re like most of us, your first instincts may be to look at your patients’ in-office interactions. Did somebody annoy, frustrate or offend an individual patient? Several patients? Introspection and honest self-assessment are great places to start. But don’t get stuck there. You’ll drive yourself nuts and honestly, it might not be something that you or your staff are doing or neglecting to do.
It might be a marketing problem. Specifically, it might be a problem with brand inconsistency.
Challenging? Yes. Fixable? Absolutely. Start by assessing your current marketing and how your messaging is reinforced consistently or undermined by hiccups.
Are You Branding Your Practice with Intention?
What is your brand promise? Do you have one – that’s written down, affirmed online and in all of your written communications? Does everyone on staff know it, embrace it and live it? If someone asked your patients, would they be able to describe your practice in a way that matches your brand promise?
Does Your Branding Reflect Your Vision, Values, and Beliefs about Patient Care?
If you’ve been running your successful practice for many years without any major problems, the idea of “branding” may seem unnecessary, even downright silly. But no matter how consistently you’ve operated, the truth is: the marketplace hasn’t stayed consistent. The marketplace around you has changed. Patients today have a set of expectations from their medical or dental provider that extends so far past the in-office experience. They expect – and yes, demand – a certain level of clarity, ease, and convenience from you – even when the office is closed for the evening, weekend, or wee hours of the morning. To keep up with those demands – and prevent the risk of falling short – you need a strong, clearly branded home page presence, social media presence, and appointment setting support that meets and exceeds what patients expect today. But you can’t get those messages and scripts out there if you haven’t yet figured out what your brand is and how to articulate it to others. It’s a marketing, staffing, and training investment.
Put a stake in the ground and define who you are, what you deliver, and how your perceive, value and approach the patient relationship. Figure out how those brand promises distinguish you from your competition.
Get it Out There, Everywhere, in One Consistent Voice
Everything you say – across every channel – needs to ring true to your brand. Website homepage copy, your social media accounts, your advertising, your bio and profile, your staff profiles, your training for phone staff, even your office layout and decor… all of these must reinforce each other’s messaging. Critically, I’m not simply referring to which facts are shared. I’m talking about how they’re communicated, in tone, wording, and visual presentation.
The Hidden Hiccup: Appointment Setting and Phone Staffing
You may be the most gifted doctor or dentist in the world. But the voices on the phone are your Directors of First and Lasting Impressions. Check in with your front desk staff. On a smooth, predictable day, maybe every phone call sails through perfectly. But what happens during peak hours? How are patient calls handled during harried times? It may well be time to take a serious look at outsourcing your appointment setting function. Outsourcing allows you to welcome patient calls during extended hours, even up to 24/7. It also puts your brand message in the hands – and voices – of true appointment setting professionals who are trained and coached to enthusiastically and compassionately voice your brand to your patients.
At Skybridge Americas, we specialize in improving patient experience and retention by giving voice to your brand promise. To learn more about how we can help you, please reach out. We would love to talk!
Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing
Find out how Skybridge Americas can help you delight your customers and grow your business.
We seamlessly integrate our superior customer care skills with your brand messaging. For more information, contact us at 763-477-7720 or submit the form below!