Patient retention is just as important to the continued success of your practice as bringing in new patients. Building lasting relationships benefits not only your practice but your patients as well. A steady source of pediatric dental care can improve outcomes and provide the best patient experience.
With the right approach, you can take deliberate action to increase patient retention at your pediatric dental clinic.
Why Retaining Dental Patients Is Such a Challenge
The simple fact of the matter is that you’ll never reach 100% patient retention. There’s simply too much change happening in your patients’ lives. This is even more true for pediatric dental care in general due to the phase of life your patient base covers.
Parents with young children are often at the point in their careers that could require moving to a new city, creating upheaval in your patient base. There’s also the risk of parents forgetting about regular appointments and follow-ups, unintentionally letting their child’s pediatric dental care fall by the wayside.
You also face the risk of your patients moving to another dentist. Your competitors struggle with patient retention just as much as you do, so there is always a push to draw in new patients. If competitors offer a better patient experience and more treatment options, then you can find yourself losing patients.
Steps You Can Take to Create a Better Patient Experience
There are many areas you can address to improve the pediatric dental care you offer. Many of these criteria center around the patient experience. Even if what you do doesn’t have a direct impact on health outcomes, it can still have a major effect on how patients choose their dentists.
Focus on these areas to boost patient experience at your practice.
Make your office more child-friendly.
Is your office welcoming to children? While an inviting atmosphere might not impact their oral health, it does affect how they and their parents see your practice.
Make sure that your decor and ambiance provide a certain warmth, avoiding looking too sterile. Waiting areas and play zones tailored to your pediatric patients can also go a long way, and child-sized furniture and equipment are an absolute must.
Hire welcoming and friendly staff.
Is your staff on the same page when it comes to the atmosphere you want for your practice? Ensure that your team members have excellent communication skills and the necessary training to meet the unique needs of pediatric patients. You want every interaction with patients and parents to be compassionate and caring.
Maintain effective and transparent communication.
You should strive to be open and clear in all communications regarding treatment plans and procedures. A big part of your role as a pediatric dentist is to provide guidance and answer questions. Make yourself available to patients and parents, and make sure you provide clear and straightforward follow-up instructions whenever necessary.
Build a personal connection with patients.
A personal touch goes a long way in every type of dentistry, but even more so in pediatric care. Referring to a child by name during visits can help build a connection. You should also engage in active listening to understand their concerns and needs.
Keep in mind that your communication should be tailored to specific age groups, as the level of directness and detail required for a six-year-old patient will be very different than that for a teenager.
Don’t put the blame on your patients.
You should do everything in your power to make patient retention effortless for your patient base. Any obstacle when it comes to scheduling appointments could be the last straw. Make sure that you streamline your processes in the following key areas to make patient retention that much easier.
Implement regular check-up reminders.
Regular check-up reminders can go a long way toward improving patient retention. You don’t want parents simply forgetting when the right time is for a check-up. Instead of relying on their memory and scheduling practices, you can automate email, text, and phone reminders.
Modern patient management software even lets you personalize these messages to help build a lasting relationship.
Ensure timely follow-up communication.
Follow-up communication is also essential. After any treatment, you can send surveys or other types of feedback collection. This is a great time to ask for a review as well, and you can offer incentives for referrals. Make sure to have timely follow-ups for any concerns or issues related to dental conditions or treatment options.
Improve patient retention with more treatment options.
These steps can all help improve patient retention by providing the best experience for your pediatric patients and their parents. However, your capabilities as a dentist are also a critical factor. Expanding your treatment options with continuing education from the American Orthodontic Society can give your patients another reason to stick around. Browse our course catalog today to find the right opportunity for you.
To learn more about our popular orthodontics courses for pediatric and general dentists, check out one of the upcoming events below.