My blog post last week Why The New Patient First Visit Special Price Offer Is Bad Customer Service raised a considerable number of supportive comments, both here at the blog site as well as on various Dental Chat Forums.
Most of those commenting were in agreement with my opinions that, by offering a low fee entry to our Dental Services for a New Patient Visit, we were also offering a *Slap In The Face* to our loyal existing patients returning for regular hygiene maintenance.
One private comment I received via email read:
“A bad idea on so many levels. It diminishes the value of existing patients and creates sticker shock for the new patient when they are no longer shiny and new. The real question is how many new – discount priced – patients does the practice really keep? My guess would be, not many. Dentistry could take a lesson from the auto industry on how to view an existing patient. When someone walks into an auto dealer, the dealer knows that that person will be involved in the purchase of 20 vehicles over a lifetime.”
Long-term patients come back more often, accept treatment more readily, and refer more people like themselves.
Long-term patients should be valued and nurtured.
Having my long-term patients paying regular fees beside a New Patient paying Pennies In The Pound for the same service is fraught with danger on so many levels.
It’s an insult to the long-term patient who could well have already invested tens of thousands of dollars for their Dental Care with you.
Discounting for New Patients raises an un-asked question:
“Is this the *break-even-point* at this Dental Office?”
Can this offer be telling our regular patients that this service is quite easily sustainable at this low-level entry point?
Are our regular patients thinking:
“How come my regular fee for this service is so high, then?”
It raises a question in our regular patients’ minds:
“If they can do this so cheaply for New Patients, are they *stinging* me then as a regular?”
It’s an interesting conundrum….
No sooner had I published last week’s blog than I was on a call with one of my Dentist Clients in the US who has been using these low fee New Patient Offers.
Our call discussed their efficacy, and revealed that sometimes the results were quite variable.
Overall, the offers were bringing in new business, with good collections being made. My client tracks her numbers well, [which is more than I can say for most dentists].
Anyway, there had been some campaigns where results were poor.
Where new patient numbers were considerably lower.
And we put this down to the fact that there are probably *OTHER* offers from other Dental Offices that week that could be lower cost than my client’s offer….
And there’s the *BIG* gamble…
You never know who else has a similar offer on the table at the same time.
And can you imagine Mr. and Mrs. Consumer out there with all those offers lined up side by side across their kitchen table?
How do they choose between offers?
By the colour of the ad?
By the type and size of the font used?
By the physical dimensions and size of the coupon?
Or by the dollar cost of the offer?
So how do you make *YOUR* low fee New Patient Special Offer stand out compared to all others?
The best way that I’ve seen to make this offer work is to give the service away for nothing.
Yes, you read me correctly…..
And the way you do that is to offer the Fee for a New Patient Special Offer Visit as a donation to a local worthwhile charity.
And publicise this offer.
Herald it from the rooftops!
Let everybody know that this month you’ll be donating all your New Patient First Visit fees collected to ABC Worthwhile Charity.
And next month pick another charity.
Let the local media know.
Celebrate the donation with one of those big BIG BIG cheques!
Sometimes the charity will pre-publish your endeavours to their list of supporters, so the act of charity can benefit your Office in that way too.
In this way, by *Giving* the New Patient First Visit Fee away, and by going public with it, you’ll make your Dental Office stand out in your community as the #1 GOOD GUYS!!
And *that* will build Brand Loyalty.
And *that* will have your existing patients thinking what a great Person you are, Doc…
And that their decision to have you as their Dentist has been the correct decision…
The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.
Email me at email@example.com
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