Obviously, building a thriving dermatology practice is always one of your top priorities. To accomplish this at a sustainable rate, you need to never lose sight of the one asset that matters most of all: your patients.
Most dermatology practices (and most businesses in general, for that matter) get the majority of their revenue not from new customers, but from their satisfied existing ones. Satisfied patients are more likely to tell their friends and family members about you, which will almost always lead to a steady stream of new people walking right through your door.
The only way to accomplish this level of patient retention, however, is to reward loyalty when and where you see it. In an era when new, competing dermatology practices are probably cropping up all the time in your area, your key value differentiator becomes the quality of the experience you’re able to offer. Loyalty is a big part of it. If patients don’t feel like they’re being appreciated, rest assured they will go elsewhere.
Therefore, if you want to learn more about the best patient retention strategies for dermatologists that you can start using immediately, there are a few key things you’ll want to keep in mind.
Patient Retention Strategies to Consider in Your Dermatology Practice
1. Provide an Exceptional Patient Experience
In a field as competitive as healthcare and dermatology, it’s safe to say that there are a lot of practices that do what you do, in that they offer very similar services. But nobody does what you do quite like how you do it, which is how your patient experience becomes your key competitive advantage.
Everything – from how people go about making appointments to the check-in process when they arrive to the actual services they receive – should be as easy and as enjoyable as humanly possible. That way, you’re offering an experience that people actually want to have multiple times – which is how you get them to keep coming back to your office for more.
2. Deliver on Promises
Another one of the best patient retention strategies for dermatologists involves always delivering on any promises that you make, no matter what. Essentially, what you’re doing is setting expectations – if you say that you’re going to do something, live up to that idea. If you know that a promise is unrealistic or even impossible in the first place, don’t make it.
You never want to be in a situation where you’re over-promising and under-delivering, especially in a healthcare environment. For many people, even one instance of this may be all they need to start looking for a competitor.
3. Reward Loyalty
If you want to earn loyalty as a dermatologist, it stands to reason that you need to reward it when you see it. This can happen in a number of different ways – from giving repeat patients a discount on certain services or offering certain bonuses for every referral that one of your existing patients brings in. All of this adds up to show someone that they’re more than just another entry in your appointment schedule – they’re a patient that you truly care about. People will be able to feel that and rest assured they’ll remember it when it comes time to make another appointment with the dermatologist.
4. Optimize For Your Customer Journey
Every dermatology practice is unique – and that is also true when it comes to your patients. This means that when it comes to patient retention, there truly is no “one size fits all” approach to what you’re doing. Not every technique is going to work equally well for every group of people. Some may not know enough people who are in need of dermatology services to make a referral program worthwhile – leading to a system that few are utilizing and that isn’t really rewarding anybody. If that were the case, it’s a technique you shouldn’t be using.
Make an effort to understand your patients and what they really want and need and use this information to craft a loyalty strategy that addresses these ideas.
5. Personalize Your Messaging
Nobody likes feeling like an afterthought, yet that is exactly how you’re treating patients if you’re still using generic language in your communications like “Dear Sir and/or Madame.” Instead, use someone’s name. Address them directly. Send them a personalized message on their birthday or around the holidays. Make them feel like they’re the only patient you have, even if you both know that isn’t true. This level of personalization is a perfect way to increase engagement with your patients, which in turn will increase loyalty as well.
6. Be Available and Interact Through Chat, Email and Text
Along the same lines, if you want to increase loyalty as a dermatology professional, you need to give people someone to be loyal to – meaning that you need to be available when people need you, no matter what. If someone has a question, you should have an easy answer. If someone has a concern, you should be positioned to address it. This is true not just by phone call during office hours but via email, text message, and even a chatbot on your website.
Doing so again will help show your patients that you truly care, which will make a big difference when it comes to loyalty.
7. Ask for Feedback
If you really want to make sure that you’re running your dermatology practice to the best of your ability, one of the best ways to confirm this is to come right out and ask. Give patients surveys after their appointments or solicit feedback online. People have opinions that they’re more than willing to share – all you have to do is prompt them a bit. Asking for feedback straight from the patients themselves is a great way to determine which of your loyalty efforts are making an impact and which ones are not.
8. Analyze Data
Every day, your patients (and your practice) are creating huge volumes of data. You’ve got data pertaining to the demographics that make up your average patient. You know which kind of services are most widely used. You know how frequently people are making appointments. You know where a lot of your new patients are coming from.
All of this is invaluable in terms of not only understanding where you stand but also with regard to how to grow your dermatology practice profitably. You need to analyze that data on a regular basis to uncover trends and patterns that you may have otherwise missed. That way, you can lean into those trends and capitalize on the opportunities for growth they represent.
9. Be Transparent
One of the most essential patient retention strategies for dermatologists involves being transparent as much as possible. Again, this feeds back into the ideas of “don’t make a promise you can’t keep” and “set expectations at the beginning of your relationship with a patient.”
Transparency – meaning you’re honest about what you can and cannot do as a dermatology professional – is how you begin to build a relationship with someone. Relationships are built on trust and the more trust you can create, the more loyalty you inspire as a result.
10. Use Software to Simplify Things
Finally, don’t be afraid to leverage automation software to simplify all of these things as much as possible.
Marketing software can pull data in from a variety of different sources like other patient management software into a single, easy-to-use location. It can allow you to manage patient communications, appointments, and more from one screen. It’s a great way to save time, so you can spend less of it figuring out how you’re going to retain patients and more time actually deepening the loyal relationships you’ve already worked so hard to build.
Schedule a Demo of Surefire Local’s Business Intelligence Marketing Software
Make no mistake about it: if you want to grow your dermatology practice, retaining your patients and inspiring as much loyalty in them as possible is a big part of how you do it. At Surefire Local, we’ve created an innovative business intelligence application to help you do precisely that.
Not only does it allow you to view analytics so that you better understand both your current and prospective patients, but it can also help relieve a lot of the burden in terms of communication, marketing, and more. It’s a tool built with customer outreach and retention in mind and once you have a chance to see what it can do, you’ll begin to wonder how your dermatology practice was able to get by without it. So if you’d like to find out more information about the patient retention strategies that you can use to earn loyalty and grow your dermatology practice profitably, or if you just have any additional questions that you’d like to discuss with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – schedule your demo today!