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Patient Loyalty - Why earning loyalty is even more difficult today for a new dental practice (Part 2)

Kiltesh Patel
June 11, 2016

In this series of patient loyalty articles, last time we had discussed why patient loyalty is critical for growth of a dental practice. In this blog, I'm going to discuss the issues making loyalty difficult to attain.

We had used Life Time Value (LTV) of a patient to show the magnitude of a loss in a practice revenue due to patient churn, which makes patient retention extremely critical. Let us dive further deep into issues which work against the patient loyalty. 

Earning patient's loyalty is more difficult then ever. Let's look at couple of macro level market dynamics to understand it further:

Pillar of patient loyalty - cloud dentala) Care services have turned into commodity, which are available at every corner of a street without much differentiation.
Fact check: did you know that number of dental practices on an average in every corner of a street far exceeds  total number of food chains in the area, i.e. Mcdonalds, Tacobell, Deltacos, Wendys, Dennys, etc... put together.

b) The problem accentuates further since the cost of procedures are now easily available on patient booking sites, which creates competition of price.

c) Next, the patient appointment booking sites earn their revenue by number of appointments, and hence, they need more patient churn, which works against the loyalty - remember the population is not growing, it is within the same pool of patients they are offering new appointments. There are millions spent on it so do not undermine it.
Fact check: did you know that the booking sites offer incentives for patients to always go through their own site rather than directly contacting you!

e) Lastly, sites like Yelp have fueled this churn further because of open reviews whose credibility can be often questioned. One negative review against many positives can potentially have larger negative impact. 

The price and quality of treatments, the two major pillars of patient loyalty for last few decades are eroded in this age of Internet. Today, these two factors are virtually non-existent and in turn dental practices are competing mostly on prices. 

The only major differentiator left is the "patient experience". However, experience component is extremely difficult unlike other two to compete on. How do you create a consistent experience? How do you measure it?

In series of Patient Loyalty blogs, my next blog will show a process to measure and earn the loyalty for a strong growth. You can subscribe to these blogs via email notifications. 


CONCLUSION:

The dental patient's loyalty can be measured in terms  cost, quality and experience. However, cost and quality are diluted to non-existent in today's age; and experience is the most difficult to manage consistently across all patients. 

There are cloud dental solutions available in the dental market to manage patient experience. tab32 is the only cloud dental platform, which addresses the patient loyalty transparently within the cloud based dental EHR platforms.

Learn more about HelloPatientTM Patient Loyalty Software


 

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