While you might be excellent at attracting new customers to your chiropractic practice, retaining your existing customers really does make a huge difference to the stability of your business and to your profits.
ThinkImpact’s report on customer retention found some interesting statistics that show just how important it is to keep your existing customers happy:
“About half of a company’s revenue is from approximately 8% of their most loyal consumers.”
“Customer Retention has a huge impact on ROI – 5% increase in CR results in 25 – 29% increase in revenue.”
“It costs much less to retain a customer than to gain a new one – 1/6th to 1/7th the cost.”
“Repeat customers have been measured to spend an average of 67% more than new customers.”
In this article, we’re going to talk more about why focusing on customer retention is important, along with providing some of our top customer retention strategies for chiropractors.
Why customer retention is important
You can see from the statistics above that paying attention to customer retention can save you money, increase your return on investment, and add greatly to your profits.
Existing happy customers really do spend more and bring in more of your income. Not only that, but if they’re coming back, they’re obviously pleased with your customer service, and they could be a good source of feedback for you. Treasure your existing customers and ask them what they think about your chiropractic practice and where there might be room for improvement. Ask them if there’s anything else they’d like to see. You might get ideas for better marketing approaches, content ideas, and even for new products or services that people would like to buy. Yes, profits are great. We all want good profits, but helpful feedback can be a goldmine that leads to even bigger profits. Retaining your good customers gives you that option.
You’ll also find that your business should have more stability and suffer far less from ups and downs in cash flow if you look at retaining your existing customers as well as attracting new ones. If you know you can count on customers you already have that come back to you, again and again, you’ll have far more of an idea of how much income to expect each year. With that information, you can plan your budget more accurately, work out how much you have to spend on new equipment, refurbishments, and other expenses, and you can see how much you’ll likely have available to spend on marketing. Your cash flow forecast will be far more accurate, which is also helpful if you’re putting together a new business plan either for investors or for a company loan.
One final thought: if your customers stay with you, they must know that they have a good chiropractic practice available to them. Your regular, loyal customers are far more likely to tell others about your great service and about how much you’ve helped them. You can ask them for reviews too, providing important social proof for new potential clients.
Customer retention really does have to be a top focus for any business.
Patient retention strategies to consider in your small business
While it’s all very well telling you to retain as many customers as you can, how exactly do you do that?
Read on for our top tips on customer retention strategies for chiropractors.
1) Provide an exceptional patient experience
If you provide much the same services as your competitors, it can be hard to stand out online. One thing you can do, however, is provide an amazing patient experience.
While there might be several chiropractic practices in your local area, there is only one YOU. Think about what you can provide and how you can provide it that is different and better than your competitors.
Go through every aspect of your business and ensure it’s the best it can possibly be for your customers.
That means looking at everything from how you answer the telephone, what your staff wears, and what your practice looks like to your online presence, including your website and social media.
Even the smallest things can make a big difference, from your site speed and ease of booking to any loyalty discounts and offers to help you keep your customers.
It’s worth taking the time to regularly look at your business from the outside, as if you were a patient, to see what you can improve.
2) Deliver on promises
Especially when it comes to their health, people need to be able to rely on their providers to do what they say they will do, whether that’s opening on time or keeping them updated regularly on their treatment and what they can expect.
This is a large part of providing an excellent customer experience and of retaining your loyal patients.
Never over-promise or make a promise you can’t keep. Of course, sometimes unexpected things come up and things go wrong, and you do have to deal with that, but by and large, people should be able to count on you to do what you say you’re going to do.
Not only does it help with customer retention, but it also means you hold yourself to a high standard, which is good for practice morale as well as for creating an excellent professional reputation, both online and offline.
3) Reward loyalty
In addition to providing a great patient experience, what else can you do to reward your loyal customers?
Talk to them and find out what they’d appreciate. They may, for example, appreciate getting a discount if they book a certain number of appointments in advance. Perhaps you could provide a small discount voucher on their birthday or at Christmas. What would make life better for your patients?
You could even consider setting up a formal loyalty program for regular customers. You’ll be familiar with the loyalty cards that some stores provide or the chance to get a free coffee or muffin when you’ve saved up so many points at some coffee chains. Consider what sort of loyalty scheme might work well for your patients.
When considering loyalty programs and other rewards, bear in mind the statistic we shared at the beginning of this article:
“About half of a company’s revenue is from approximately 8% of their most loyal consumers.”
You need to know which patients are your best patients. Who is bringing in the most income into your practice?
You could find your most loyal patients and do something special for them as VIP patients, perhaps with priority booking or payment plans – again, bearing in mind what you’ve found out about what rewards they would appreciate the most.
This is definitely something to consider with your loyalty programs, as people do like to feel that there is a tier below them in any scheme. Everyone wants to be on the platinum tier and not the bronze tier, but they can only do that if you make a point of advertising your loyalty scheme and explaining how it works and what the benefits are.
Again, your loyalty scheme could be an important differentiator between you and your competition.
4) Optimize for your customer journey
One other exercise that’s worth doing regularly is to keep an eye on your customer journey and continually optimize it.
That means looking at how your customers find you and how they decide to become patients of your practice over any competitors.
Examine everything in detail, from your patient onboarding process to your sales funnel.
Look at your website. When potential customers find you, can they navigate and browse your site easily on any device and any platform? Are your calls to action clear? Can people easily find your contact information and how to book? If you have one, does your checkout process work smoothly?
Is there anything missing on your site that should be there?
Look at your content in your marketing materials, on your website, and on social media. Is it creating the right impression when people find you for the first time? Is it of high quality, spell-checked, proofread, and easy to read? Does it answer all their questions? Is it clear to new customers what happens at a chiropractic appointment and what they can expect? Do you provide information that puts people at ease when considering booking?
Check your social media too and make sure you’re providing the kind of experience your current customers expect and your potential customers are drawn towards. Are you engaging on social media, and responsive?
Examine your sales funnel in detail and ensure that you’re providing the right content at every stage of the funnel to persuade people to sign up with you.
It’s an exercise that does take some time, but the rewards can be worth it when you know you’re offering the best experience possible.
5) Personalize your messaging
We have already talked about making people feel special and rewarding their loyalty. You can also make them feel special by personalizing your messaging.
Your email software should be able to segment your list in a variety of ways so that you can tailor your messaging to certain parts of your patient list. You can then, for example, pick out everyone with a birthday next month and send them a special discount. Or you could email just your VIP patients with special content, priority updates, and other targeted content.
It can also help to use people’s names when you contact them. Instead of emailing with “Hi there,” use your software to add a first name tag in each message, and perhaps in the subject line, so that your messages say “Hi Ellie” or “Hi Joe” instead.
You can attract people’s attention as they notice and mentally zoom into content when they see their own name on it.
6) Be available and interact through chat, email, and text
We’re back to providing an excellent patient experience, here. These days, it’s not enough to have an email address and a phone number.
People want to be able to contact you in whichever way they prefer, whenever they want to. They may want to send a text or message you on Facebook. They may prefer to interact with a chatbot on your website rather than give you a call. They may have a question when you’re closed that they’d prefer to be answered now.
While you can’t possibly spend twenty-four hours a day online answering questions, you can use software to help you be available even when it’s 3 am and you’re tucked up in bed. We’ll talk about software in a little more detail later but think about how you can provide information even when you aren’t there. Email autoresponders can include basic information, as can your email signature. And chatbots can be programmed to answer any number of basic questions.
When you are open for business, it’s important to keep checking your social media, your mobile, and your emails to keep up with any messages.
7) Ask for feedback
You can provide a far better patient experience and a better loyalty program if you ask for feedback.
Start with your VIP patients and ask their opinion. You’ll make them feel even more special if you show that you value their opinion and their feedback.
How do you get feedback? You can simply chat to people when they visit, or you can run surveys to see what people think.
You’re likely to get feedback on your social media pages from engaged users, but you can encourage engagement by posting polls and by asking questions.
Don’t overdo it or people will get tired of it, but if done well, you can find out what people think of your practice and what they would like to see.
Another way to do this is to use social listening to listen in on what people are saying about your company on the internet.
It can be eye-opening and, occasionally, you might hear negative feedback, but don’t let that get you down. Take the useful comments from the negative feedback and leave the rest. Then use what you’ve found to improve and keep providing an awesome patient experience.
8) Analyze data
Social platforms provide a whole stack of analytics to look through and you can also analyze your website statistics.
If you’ve been running for a while, you’ll also have plenty of data on who your patients are, what their needs are, and what problems they’d like to solve.
All of this is vital data for your marketing. You can see how patients are finding you, what they’re talking about online, and more, to inform your content marketing.
You can also use your gathered data to see how your practice is doing in the eyes of your patients and what changes you can make to make things even better.
9) Be transparent
No one keeps a 100% batting average forever. At some point, you’re going to have something go wrong or get a negative review that you have to deal with.
You might want to make changes in your practice, like taking on a new chiropractor and moving some patients to them. Over time, all your improvements may result in some changes to your practice.
Whatever happens, it’s important to keep your patients in the loop. People are more likely to complain or to leave altogether if they have no idea what’s happening or why.
Don’t just drop patients onto a new chiropractor’s list. Let them know in advance and, if you can, give them a choice. It’s all part of offering exceptional customer service that will keep people coming back.
10) Use software to simplify things
We’ve already talked about using chatbots and email segmentation to provide a better experience for your patients, but they provide a better experience for you too. If you have, for example, over a thousand patients, imagine how long it would take to pick through them all manually to find the ones with a birthday this month.
The right software can help you out and give your patients the best experience possible, all while saving you time and effort.
You can schedule your email newsletters in advance, so you don’t have to do things in a rush at the last minute. You can also create and schedule your content to your website and on social media in advance, freeing up your time to work on your business and to provide the top-quality care that you want to offer your patients.
What software can possibly do all of that?
Well, with Surefire Local’s all-in-one marketing platform, you can run the whole of your marketing from one dashboard with one easy login. No more learning and using multiple platforms, just simple and straightforward management of everything right there at your fingertips.
With our software, you can indeed get your content ideas together, write, and post your blogs and social media posts using our scheduler.
You can also manage, request reviews, and reply to them from our dashboard, ensuring you stay engaged and keep on top of them.
In addition, you can manage your Google Business Profile and update over 80 business directories at once, without having to keep typing everything out multiple times. That makes it far easier to ensure that your NAP and all your other information are accurate.
With reports, statistics, and so much more, you don’t have to employ an army of marketers to provide an excellent patient experience and increase your retention rates. All you need is our straightforward software and a little time.