Apr 20, 2023

8 Simple Rules: Your Clinic Team’s Guide to Boosting New Patient Retention

A new patient books an initial appointment, it seems to go well and you propose a treatment plan, only to never see them again. Sound familiar? It can be frustrating, but it’s also an opportunity to improve your clinic’s patient experience.

The probability of new patients returning to your clinic is only 5%-20%. Loyal patients on the other hand, rebook at a rate of 60%-70%.

That’s why nailing the first appointment experience can have a substantial impact on the growth of your business.

So how do you turn new patients into loyal patients? We thought you’d never ask. Here are eight simple rules everyone on your team can follow to boost your ability to retain new patients:

Make a great first impression

(Everyone)

Have you ever received such great service somewhere that you find yourself eager to return? Consider what made the experience enjoyable and try applying some of the same principles at your clinic.

Clinic owners: Invest in the presentation of your clinic space to make patients as comfortable as possible. Try sitting in your own waiting room for a few minutes to evaluate the overall ambience. Is your clinic clean? Are the chairs in the waiting room comfortable? Is the design of your clinic aesthetically pleasing? Is the check-in process smooth and efficient?

Front Office Team: Often your front office staff are the first people to greet your patients. This first impression often sets the tone for the rest of the appointment. Start with a smile and have a friendly and helpful demeanour while guiding the patient through the check-in process. Your goal should be to put the patient at ease.

Practitioners: When you introduce yourself make eye contact, smile, and be authentic. Be genuinely interested in not only the assessment but the patient as an individual. Something as simple as using the patient's name throughout the assessment goes a long way in building rapport which is necessary if you’re asking them to rebook.

Have a professional website

(Clinic Owner)

Within 2 seconds of arriving at your site, new visitors form an impression of whether it is safe and trustworthy.

Your website needs to ease any anxieties they may have about booking an appointment with you. Have your primary call to action (typically ‘Book an appointment’) available on a sticky navigation bar so it’s easily accessible. Ensure information flows logically and situate elements of social proof prominently near the top of your homepage to help build a sense of trust right away.

Examples of social proof elements:

  • Patient Testimonials 
  • Awards your clinic has won
  • Pictures and bios of your clinic and staff

Avoid using complex language and jargon, make sure your website copy has zero grammatical errors and never compromise the integrity of your site with third-party ads.


Make it personal, in a good way

(Everyone)

Show genuine concern, professionalism and friendliness when interacting with patients. No patient wants to feel like just another number in your database. By connecting with your patients on a more personal level, you’re building a stronger relationship making it far more likely your patient will want to see you again.

To connect with patients on a personal level, try using the six techniques utilized by renowned educator Stephen Covey:

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people
  2. Smile
  3. Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests
  6. Make the other person feel important - and do it sincerely

Showcase your expertise

(Clinic Owner & Practitioners)

Practitioners: Put those hard-earned degrees, certifications, and accreditations on display at your clinic. This might even include your memberships and leadership positions within your field’s association or college. Doing so builds credibility and trust in your professional opinion and gives patients confidence in the treatment plan you’re prescribing to them.

Clinic owner: Encourage your practitioners to display these materials. Also, if your clinic has any awards, accreditations, or excellent online review scores or testimonials, be sure you showcase them in a high-traffic area like the front desk or waiting room.

Educate, inspire, and empower your patients

(Practitioners)

During the visit, take the time to educate your patients about their health, diagnosis and treatment options. This time is a valuable opportunity to empower your patients to play a more active role in their care and ultimately commit to a longer-term treatment plan if necessary. You can also inspire patients to stay on track with regular treatments and exercises by sharing the positive outcomes of a previous patient with a similar case to further show how their commitment can make a real difference to their health.

Inspire patients to stay on track with regular treatments and exercises by sharing the positive outcomes of a previous patient with a similar case.

Schedule the patient’s next appointment before they leave

(Bonus: Have practitioners make the ask)

Patients who rebook on the day of their appointment make an average of 30% to 50% more visits per year than clients who don’t.
(Source: Yocale)

Clinic Owners: Make inviting the patient to rebook a standard part of your clinic’s process. If it’s in the best interest of the patient to rebook, train your staff to frame the question as ‘When would you like to rebook?’. Patients are more likely to rebook when they are aware of your clinic’s flexibility. Reassure them that any dates are tentative commitments and that they can reschedule if needed. 

Practitioners: Consider booking the patient’s next treatment yourself or taking the extra minute to walk patients to the front of the clinic to book their next appointment with your office staff. Doing so gives you a good gauge of how the appointment went and an opportunity to address any lingering questions or concerns that may be holding the patient back from committing to a longer-term treatment plan.

Walk patients to the front of the clinic to book their next appointment with your office staff. Doing so gives you a good gauge of how the appointment went and an opportunity to address any lingering questions or concerns.

Minimize time spent waiting

(Everyone)

Clinic Owner: Measure your clinic efficiency and set targets using key performance indicators (KPIs) such as clinic response time. This KPI is used to measure how quickly your staff contacts a potential patient after they’ve expressed interest in your clinic. 

Admin Staff: Avoid having calls go to voicemail. While waiting on hold as a patient isn’t ideal, it’s still better to hear a friendly voice greeting you and know you’re only minutes away from speaking with someone. If a call does go to voicemail, make a return phone call as soon as possible.

Practitioners: Do your best to stay on schedule and respect your patient’s time by acknowledging the delay. Appointments do run long, it’s unavoidable, but try your best to start and end the appointment at the appropriate time. Consider building breaks into your availability to give yourself extra time between each appointment.

Make it easy for new patients to rebook themselves

(Everyone)

Admin Staff: Leave a business card with the client that clearly lists your clinic’s phone number and website.

Clinic Owner: An automated message to patients following their first appointment can save your team hours of time and increase rebooking rates. Juvonno’s JComm Messaging feature for example allows you to craft a personalized message campaign to specifically reach out to patients that have no future appointment booked. Try implementing a tool like this at your clinic and watch your rebooking rate increase.

Practitioner & Admin Staff: Proactively and personally follow up with patients by phone or text after a week to see how the patient is doing and if they would like to book their next appointment. A brief and simple reminder may be all that's needed and it’s usually appreciated.

Practitioners: Have you used the Drop-Offs tab in My Dashboard in Juvonno?

The tab shows you a list of your patients that have not rebooked, how long it has been since their last visit, and even allows you to send them a personal text message directly from Juvonno. Pretty helpful right?

text patients that have not rebooked directly from juvonno

Clinic Owners: Have you tried the Aged Patients Report in Juvonno?

This report shows you the number of days that have passed since the patient’s last appointment, the clinic they were seen at, the practitioner that completed the assessment, and contact information for the patient.

Contact us to learn more about boosting your clinic's new patient retention with Juvonno!

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