10 Tips to Create a Loyal Customer Base in Dentistry

20/02/2019 Image
As with any business, creating a loyal customer base is extremely important to maintain a steady revenue and make a profit on your investment. There are many ways in which you can extend your business’s reach and attract as many customers as possible - however, it is creating a loyal customer base which is often the most difficult part of running a business.
Regardless of the industry you are in, you need loyal customers to succeed. The following guide will explore the best methods you can use to create a loyal customer base for your dental practice.  

1. Secure the Best Equipment

Having high-quality equipment is vital in any business to ensure that you are providing the best products and results as possible for your customers. This can include everything from an investment in the newest computer models for receptionists to the most reliable printers in offices.
Using the best equipment will ensure that your service can be trusted by customers and will make you distinct from your competitors. For dental practices, investing in the best dental equipment is important to ensure that you provide the best level of care to your patients and use the newest and most successful practice methods during surgery and operations. At www.kentexpress.co.uk, they strive to provide you with the best quality products for our practice, establishing long-term relationships that can be relied upon. Kent Express also employs a trusted team of advisors that regularly connect and interact with their customers to ensure that they can provide you with the best equipment for you and your practice.

2. Utilise Physical Marketing Campaigns

Although online campaigns and social media are the aspects of marketing that are most often focused upon by businesses, physical marketing campaigns are also incredibly important for businesses with a local footfall. In particular, businesses such as dental practices, that provide a service and rely on a long-term relationship with customers, can benefit widely from creating physical marketing campaigns.
These can range from a variety of options, such as banners outside your practice when you first open and that can be seen from the road to handing out leaflets to homes and around the surrounding neighbourhood and residential areas. These will ensure that you connect directly with your target audience, and you can even cater these further, such as sending out discount vouchers or brochures to people who have recently moved houses, or those areas which are less affluent than others.

3. Appeal to Visitors in Your Catchment Area

For any local business that has a physical shop, dental practices should appeal to visitors within their catchment area, as this is where the majority of your income will come from. Although this may at first seem potentially difficult, engaging with the community is the best way to form direct relationships with people in the community and establish face-to-face communication wherein people will be able to ask you for advice, ask questions and see a familiar face.
Town events such as fairs can be a good opportunity for this as you may be able to sponsor an event or run a stall where you can provide advice and information and become recognised. Additionally, you could consider running educational classes at the local schools or colleges in the surrounding area, as this will enable you to share your knowledge and present you as a reliable practice.
One of the most effective ways to encourage people to visit your dentist, though, is to explain the benefits of visiting your dental practice and looking after their oral health. By providing in-depth and useful advice, potential customers can make an informed decision that’ll benefit their health and your business. Hold their interest by holding events such as a drop-in session or a sign-up booth at a local pharmacist or surgery.

4. Have a Large Online Presence

However, even though having a large physical presence is vital, local businesses can also benefit just as much as larger businesses from having an extensive online presence. For dental practices, using local SEO is key. Local SEO can help clients in your catchment area to find you more easily and will ensure that you meet Google’s criteria so that you land on the first page of search results more often.
If you do not have any knowledge of SEO, there are many digital marketing agencies that can help you. Although, as a business you should sign up for a Google My Business profile, which is ideal for improving local SEO through reviews, opening times, a direct link to your website and appearing in the 3-pack.
You should also create a professional and clear website which can present all of the vital information about your dental practice to your customers. For instance, you should detail what surgeries and procedures you perform, who you care for and the expertise that your business has. This will enable people to trust and find your business, as well as ensuring that you stand out from your competitors.

5. Create a Welcoming and Approachable Atmosphere

1 in 10 people are scared of the dentist and this can make it more difficult to encourage people to visit your dentist regularly, however successful your marketing campaigns are. Therefore, you should focus on creating a welcoming and inviting atmosphere for visitors in both your waiting room and in your surgery rooms.
You should paint your dental practice in welcoming and calm colours, such as baby blues, and provide entertainment for people waiting such as books and magazines, as this can help distract people from their fear of the dentist. When they come for a check-up, you should make them feel relaxed, smile often, and always describe the procedures that you are carrying out as you do them, as well as make sure that you tell your guests what to expect. Patients will also feel more relaxed if you make light conversation and have a mild sense of humour that can put them at ease. If they are particularly troubled, you should take the time to discuss their fears with them and how you can help to ease these.  

6. Appeal to Families

Creating a long-standing relationship with local families is a good way to maintain a multi-generational customer base for the future and will increase the footfall of your business. This is particularly important for dentistry, when many people will stay with the same dentist for the majority of their lives, from when they are a young child to old age. Therefore, it is important to appeal to families, and the best way to do this is to create a bright and child-friendly environment.
1 in 4 children have tooth decay before they start school and so it is important that you are able to reach out to families from a young age. You can do this by providing a family-friendly waiting room, such as proving books, toys, and activities for children to do in a special children only space. You may also consider providing rewards for children after their dental check-up, such as a sticker, which can often encourage children to behave and feel comfortable about visiting the dentist in the future.

7. Employ Caring and Reliable Staff

Another large part of creating a large customer base for any business is to employ reliable and caring staff who can provide the right information to your customers and ensure that a welcoming atmosphere is present. This will also enable you to run your business more smoothly as you will be able to have a reliable team of staff through which you can delegate responsibility and who can help your business to grow.
Of course, this is the same when it comes to dentistry, and having a small team of reliable and dedicated staff is important not only to give your patients the best care possible but also to help them to feel relaxed and happy with your service. For instance, you should employ staff that help customers to feel relaxed and comforted, rather than those that may make patients feel concerned or worried. You must also make sure that your staff are experienced and knowledgeable about the services that you provide, and dentistry in general, from your dental assistants to your receptionists.

8. Sharing Information and Advice

Another excellent way of showcasing your expertise and presenting yourself as a trusted business is by sharing your knowledge with clients. Many businesses will create a blog for these purposes, as this will enable them to post regular content to the internet, which both shows them to be a trustworthy firm, increases their Google ranking, and enables them to reveal their knowledge of their chosen area.
For dental practices, this becomes even easier, and you should consider creating advice booklets and information sheets which you can give to your patients. Not only will this help them to look after their teeth, but they can advertise your company by showing them the benefits of regular dental check-ups.
Half of people fail to visit the dentist, and a large part of this is believing that they only need to visit the dentist when they are in pain or believe that something is wrong with their teeth; therefore, it is your duty as a dentist to explain the importance of their oral health. You should also make time to give advice to patients during check-ups as this will mean that patients will be more likely to attend check-ups even if nothing is visibly wrong with their teeth.

9. Collect and Respond to Feedback

Feedback can help small businesses to remedy the negatives of their business and improve their service for the future, as well as understand what their customers are thinking and how their business is perceived from a customer’s perspective. Many businesses collect reviews and feedback online through platforms such as Yell and Google My Business, which allow patients to provide real user reviews which the business can see and respond to.
However, for dental practices and local businesses, you can collect feedback through physical forms and questionnaires which you can then compile to discover the weaknesses of your business. Although anonymous, these can help you to communicate with your patient and divine how you can further increase your customer base.
Additionally, being asked to provide feedback will potentially make customers feel as if their views are listened to and respected, and that they can make an active input to their community dentist. This will help to attract a loyal customer base, especially if customers can see the changes that you have made to the practice at their request for themselves. If the changes are not obvious, you should consider making posters or leaflets that publish the results of the feedback and the measures you have taken to implement it.

10. Provide a Good First Impression

Although the most simple of the list, creating a good first impression for our customers is vital for any business to create a loyal customer base. Most businesses can do this by ensuring that their environment is clean and that they present themselves as smart and professional, offering a handshake or even a smile. For dental practices, you can make a good first impression by ensuring that your practice’s environment is clean and well-manicured, with all your work surfaces disinfected and cleaned regularly.
Extend this level of care to the gardens or drive, which should be ordered and tidy, with directions to the reception or nearest car park. You can also create a great first impression by ensuring that you use the correct dental equipment and clothing, utilising disposable gloves and face masks to present your business as hygienic and professional.
 
There are many easy methods for businesses to create their own customer base which can be maintained over time. Whether you choose to engage in the community or implement online marketing, there are a number of ways in which you can grow your business and reach your target audience. When exemplified in the practice of dentistry, there are many lessons that can be learnt from the way that they attract a strong customer base. Dental practices can ensure that they provide a great long lasting relationship and good first impression with customers by using a variety of methods such as local SEO and appealing to families within their waiting rooms.

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