Did you know that it costs five times as much to attract a new customer as it does to keep an existing one? “It’s a well-established fact that 44% of companies have a greater focus on customer acquisition vs. 18% that focus on retention,” says Khalid Saleh, CEO and co-founder of Invesp. “Also, it’s true that only 40% of companies and 30% of agencies have an equal focus on acquisition and retention.”

As dentist offices across the country reopen their doors for patients, now is the time to show your valued patients that you care about their safety and health. A customer-centric approach to patient care starts by assuring your patients that they are understood, heard, and cared about. Here are three places to start:

Offer Affordable Care

Offering ways to make your services more affordable can help you keep valued customers, especially during challenging times. “Providing affordable dental care doesn’t need to mean sacrificing revenue. In fact, it can increase it,” explains Chelsea Robinson at Dentistry Today. “For example, offering an in-house payment plan can make complex care more accessible for patients, reducing their likelihood of putting off treatment.”

Depending on your area, your practice may also benefit by adding a dentist therapist to handle routine, high-volume procedures. “Dental therapists can help dentists provide routine services to more patients, expand dentists’ practices, and generate additional revenue,” says Allison Corr at PEW. Allison explains that dental therapists typically earn lower salaries than dentists, so adding them to your practice can also help dentists provide more cost-effective care. “By delegating some of the routine procedures to these midlevel staff members, dentists can lower their per-unit costs, treat more patients, and generate higher revenue,” she says.

Expand Your Brand Online

Promoting your practice online is one of the best ways to connect with the modern customer. Adding your brand to the digital space creates various opportunities for encouraging engagement and promoting your services.

  • Encourage Online Reviews

Studies show that almost all consumers (97 percent) read online reviews for local businesses; around 85 percent of them trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. A successful dental practice encourages customer feedback and isn’t reluctant to address a negative review with thoughtful, caring solutions for the public to see.

  • Act on Customer Feedback 

Businesses typically ask for customer feedback, but successful ones ACT on that feedback. Your customers are the best resource for creating a customer experience that resonates with your patients. And guess what? Whether it’s pitching a new technique or a tip for a better workflow process, your patients have great ideas. There’s no better way to show you care than to listen to them.

  • Share Thought Leadership on Oral Care

Dentists see their active patients twice a year. But what if you could maintain that relationship every week? Invite your patients to follow you on Facebook or Instagram, then use your social platforms to introduce new products, procedures, or staff members, or share wellness information on oral care and other health topics. This is your chance to encourage regular engagement with your patients in between office visits.

Personalize Your Patient Screenings

The frequency of dentist visits is ideal for screening for early signs of conditions like oral cancer, osteoporosis, TMJ disorder, eating disorders, and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Conducting a caring yet effective health screening focuses on more than oral care issues: It includes talking about lifestyle habits, symptoms, and changes in health, and creating a comfortable atmosphere where the patient and dentist can discuss concerns. While dentists cannot diagnose the problem, encouraging a patient to talk to their healthcare provider is key to early detection should there be a problem.

Although dentists share a common approach to oral care, the one area where your practice will stand above the others is your patient experience. By incorporating services like flexible payment plans, encouraging patient engagement in person and in the digital space, and focusing on meaningful health screenings, your patients will stay while your practice moves forward.