When running a clinic, you’re likely focusing on getting your patients the care they need. But what about keeping them on as a client? Are your efforts being focused here as well? If not, you’re risking losing them to your competitors if your marketing strategy doesn’t include measures for patient retention.
Healthcare marketing strategies are often too narrowly focused on bringing in new patients and expanding locally. But placing all your energy into these areas neglects your current clientele. And this is where customer relationship management can play a huge role.
Strong marketing strategies need to consider all of your target audiences, and this needs to include efforts to keep your current patients engaged and happy so that they don’t feel the need to shop elsewhere for their healthcare needs.
In the following guide, we’ll look at how you can keep your current patients engaged so you can count on them to count on you.
Could you use help with patient retention at your healthcare clinic? Reach out to Beacon Media + Marketing today to learn what actions you can take.
What is Patient Retention?
In a nutshell, patient retention is all about making sure that your patients continue returning to your clinic instead of taking their business elsewhere. And though you can expect to lose patients from time to time because they’ve moved away, lost or switched insurance providers, or they’re not actively involved with keeping up with their own health needs, these conditions are not in your control.
The good news is that through an effective retention strategy, your clinic can keep more patients than you’ll lose. And this can be done through a variety of methods. One of the best methods to consider is implementing a personalized marketing interaction strategy. This way, you can work to predict what your patients will need and engage with them accordingly before they take their business to a clinic down the street.
What is the Value of Investing in Patient Retention?
Studies have indicated that 67 percent of consumers are likely to sever ties with a business due to poor customer experiences. Essentially, if your patients don’t like their experience, or if they don’t feel valued, they’re likely to find another clinic.
What’s even more startling about this statistical data is that the average healthcare brand has an approximate growth rate of 45 percent, but also a churn rate of 48 percent. At the end of the day, this illustrates that the majority of healthcare brands lose more patients than they gain. But this can be mitigated by enhancing your patient retention strategy.
The problem is, most healthcare brands don’t have a solid grasp on how to improve patient retention, nor do they understand the long-term value that retention strategies can bring.
Consider these points:
- The average lifetime value of a patient is between 12,000 and 15,000 dollars
- Over 80 percent of patients report not feeling valued by their providers
- Physicians lose nearly 50 percent of their patient base over a five-year period
- A healthcare brand can increase profits between 25 and 95 percent by increasing patient retention by as little as 5 percent
- Healthcare brands can see a 2 percent increase in value for every 1 percent change in annual retention over a five-year period
The key takeaways here are that most healthcare brands could stand to improve all areas of their customer service. And by improving patient retention, you could make big gains in profit over the course of time and become a much more reputable brand in the process.
Why Do Patients Leave a Healthcare Clinic?
The way patients view healthcare has changed significantly just in the last decade. And if you think about the high cost of healthcare as it is, with costs rising each year, patients are more likely to research and shop around for the best deal they can get. Because let’s face it, life is expensive. And we’re all trying to save a buck or two.
Beyond this, consumers in every space have become accustomed to fast service – getting what they want when they want it. And this has a great deal to do with advances in technology in nearly all consumer spaces. Basically, patients have come to expect a higher quality of care, greater convenience, easier access, and greater customer service from a healthcare provider than ever before in history.
So, why do so many patients leave your clinic never to return? Many reasons exist for this, but there are a few that land at the top.
Excessive Wait Time
On average, waiting 20 minutes to see your provider is considered “quick” in the healthcare industry. However, wait times longer than 20 minutes increase the likelihood of more patients walking out of your clinic.
Additionally. In an MGMA survey, nearly 20 percent of patients have changed healthcare providers due to excessive wait times. And clinics with longer than average wait times are actually rated much lower in brand reviews.
Patients Don’t Feel Valued
Just like in any department store, restaurant, or any other place of business, if a customer isn’t feeling that they’re being prioritized, they will take their business elsewhere.
Your simplest interaction with a patient – whether it’s introducing yourself or making small talk – may be the one thing that keeps a patient in your care. This being said, your bedside manner plays a major role in a patient’s decision to stay at your clinic or head to your nearest competitor.
Patients need to feel valued, listened to, and respected just like any other consumer. But you can improve bedside manner by spending extra time to answer their questions, being thorough and informative, and explaining your reasoning behind diagnosis and treatment.
Lack of Communication Between Visits
The days of calling to confirm the next appointment are over. In today’s interconnected world, it’s too easy to stay in touch with consumers. And consumers are aware of this. Because of this changing landscape, if you want to make a patient feel valued, you need to send out much more than an appointment reminder.
The great news is that by maintaining an active presence in your patient’s life when they’re not in the office you can keep them engaged and increase the likelihood of keeping them as a patient.
For example, you can give your healthcare marketing strategy a boost by encouraging your patients to follow you on social media, sending out a newsletter, or sending “check-in” emails that let a patient know that you’re thinking about them. And you can even automate all of these tasks to ensure that none of your patients are slipping through the cracks or feeling undervalued.
Marketing Strategies for Patient Retention
The benefits for patient retention don’t just stop at profit. In fact, patients can also reap major benefits from staying at your clinic. And this is a total win-win scenario.
For example, with consistent visits to your clinic, you can develop a better analysis of a patient’s health history and offer improved care and treatment options. And building these lasting relationships can also foster trust and make a patient more likely to adhere to your recommendations and care – creating greater wellness for them in the long run. But what are the best strategies for this?
First, you need to analyze your current retention strategy and figure out the areas that need improvement. And working with a marketing company can be a great asset in isolating and correcting these problems. A few questions to ask are:
- What is your current retention rate?
- How is your retention rate affecting your bottom line?
- Where can you improve the most to encourage patients to return?
Once you have the numbers, it’s time to implement strategies to ensure patient engagement and retention.
Social media today isn’t just for kids wanting to talk to friends about what shoes to wear. It’s a powerful tool that all healthcare brands should be leveraging.
With a sound social media strategy, you can stay engaged with patients by making daily posts, speaking about important issues, addressing health concerns, and staying in step with the pulse of your community. And the more engaged you are on social media, the more your patients will remain engaged with you.
Email and Content Marketing
As mentioned, sending a “thank you” note in the mail is not the only step you need to be taking. And today, with AI tools and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software that can predict your customer’s behavior, you can create personalized content that suits your target patient groups by age, illness or any other demographic you choose.
Personalized emails are also a great way to stop in and say hello. And these should be a part of your retention marketing campaign.
Podcasts and Videos
The more your community knows you personally, the greater brand awareness you’ll be able to build. And hosting podcasts or making informative videos can show your community or current and prospective patients that you’re involved in the community and that you actively care about health concerns that affect all walks of life.
You can even add links to your podcast or videos in your email programs and deliver them to patients that have already been onboarded. And with sending these helpful and informative reminders, you’re likely going to keep more patients by showing them that they are valued.
Enhance Your Patient Retention Marketing Efforts With Beacon Media + Marketing
Here at Beacon Media + Marketing, we fully understand how losing a patient can be frustrating. We know what it’s like to lose clients. But we also know the power of digital marketing when it comes to patient/client retention.
With our team of marketing professionals, we can take your brand vision and enhance your marketing efforts to build your patient base and help keep your clients coming through your doors instead of your competition. Through a combination of expert web design, social media strategy, content marketing, paid ads, and email marketing, here at Beacon, we have the tools to help you grow and keep your patients coming back time after time.
Are you ready to improve patient retention at your healthcare clinic? Contact Beacon Media + Marketing today to enhance your patient retention efforts.