The 3 C’s of Patient Retention

November 9, 2017 Rieva Lesonsky

You work hard to attract new patients to your dental practice. But if you want them to keep coming back for care year after year, your team must live by the "3 C’s” of dental patient retention.

1. Customer service

Do your practice’s customer service standards live up to the service your customers get from other places they do business with? Is arranging dental appointments with your practice as easy as buying something from Amazon, or is it more like calling the cable company? Here’s how to offer customer service that surpasses your patients’ expectations:

  • Offer extras that competing dentists in your area don’t use, such as lap blankets to relax patients during procedures or headsets for listening to music.
  • Make your patients' lives easier. For example, if you use Lighthouse 360, your patients are automatically contacted when they’re due for a hygiene appointment, so they never have to worry about missing a cleaning.
  • Cater to their schedules. Keep a list of patients who want to be notified when a canceled appointment slot opens up. Lighthouse 360’s Fill-In feature automatically detects last-minute cancellations, and then contacts only those patients who have shown interest in cancellations.

2. Communication

With your patients’ busy lives, it’s easy for dental care to fall through the cracks. Consistent communication keeps patients on schedule for regular dental appointments, builds bonds with patients and keeps your practice top of mind. Try these tips to improve patient communication.

  • Encourage patients to sign up to receive email newsletters and other email messages from your dental office. You can keep them informed about new developments in dental technology, new services that your practice offers, changes to health insurance and more. (Always make sure you send email only to patients who have agreed to receive it.) Lighthouse 360 makes it simple to send targeted emails to different groups of patients, such as seniors or patients with young children, tailored to their specific interests.
  • Even dentists have emergencies. What happens when you need to cancel an appointment at the last minute? Don't leave your patients hanging. You can use Lighthouse 360 to quickly send alerts to all the patients whose appointments are affected.

3. Caring

Dental care is highly personal, and your patients have many choices for where to go. The way you, the other dentists in your practice, your hygienists and your front desk staff demonstrate their caring can make a huge difference in whether patients stay with your practice. Show your patients you care with these approaches:

  • Get to know your patients as people. Ask about their hobbies, their interests and their families. You're sure to find some common ground that can help you build rapport.
  • Show you care about your patients by following up to ensure they get the proper dental care. For example, you can use Lighthouse 360 to identify which patients haven't confirmed their appointments, and text or call them right from the list.
  • Remind your front desk employees that welcoming patients is an important part of their jobs. They should always greet patients with a friendly smile when they come into the office, and send them off with a pleasant goodbye. Your team should review the appointment schedule each morning and afternoon so you'll be able to quickly put names with faces.


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