I’m often asked why a dental practice, or a business for that matter, should bother to focus on improving customer service and customer retention?
I am asked why I do not encourage dental practices to believe that customer leakage is simply a fact of life, and that dentists need to embrace this fact, and deal with the conclusion that it is simply easier for them [the dentists] to seek out more new patients to compensate for the attrition of existing patients.
But to me, this scenario has always been one fraught with danger.
What if your practice was in a small town with a very close-knit population?
Wouldn’t your business then be subject to rumour and innuendo, much less than to truth and fact, that could adversely impact on the health and reputation of your business?
I was always alarmed when I attended local dental meetings and heard dentists telling each other:
“I saw over 100 new patients last month.”
…. and numbers just like that or larger.
Because when I hear of single dentist practices seeing such large numbers of new patients, I wonder whether those new patients are being fully serviced, and retained, or whether they are simply being CHURNED?
Churning is not good business practice. Here’s why:
My mentor Dan Kennedy says that what it costs a business to replace a customer lost, is dramatic.
Because, he says, the true value of a customer must be measured in three specific ways:
1- The profit on the initial purchase
What is a new patient worth to your practice? What does the “average” new patient spend at your practice, or really, what is the total amount of money spent by all new patients in the first two years of them becoming a patient of your practice, divided by the number of new patients in that period of time.
When we know what that dollar amount is, then we can safely say, moving forwards, that for each new patient scheduled in our books this week, their average first-two-year spend in our dental practice will be $xxx.
Once we know what the “average” first -two-year spend is, we need to calculate our profit from each patient acquired during that two-year period.
2- The profits on repeat purchases over the lifetime of the customer
What is the average lifetime of a patient in your practice?
How long, how many years does a new patient keep on returning to your dental practice to see you?
Is it five years?
Is it eight years?
Is it thirteen years?`
How much do they spend at your dental practice during these many years of loyalty?
And how profitable has their treatment been during their time as a patient with you?
3- The profits on the referrals to your business by those existing customers, providing you with customers you did not have to go out and pay marketing money to acquire
How many referrals does each patient bring in to your dental practice?
And what is the dollar value of each referred new patient, compared to the dollar value of new patients that come from specific sources of marketing.
Usually referred new patients have already been told about how good we are by their referrers. So they are more accepting of treatment that we present to them because of this personalized introduction.
Kennedy says that losing an existing customer costs you all that money above plus the additional cost to replace them.
He says that every customer or patient that you lose then costs you twice as much as it does just to get another new customer.
Because of this, Kennedy says that in reality keeping customers is a bigger profit centre to your business than acquiring “cold” new customers.
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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.
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