Dentists Need to get Creative to Retain Patients in a World of Marketplaces and Little Loyalty


My friend tells me she went to the Dentist the other day in New York City. She grew up in Michigan and typically goes to her family dentist when she's home visiting her family, but she was feeling like she needed a cleaning so she went on ZocDoc.com and within a few clicks she was booked for a cleaning at a dental practice just a few blocks from her apartment.

Owning a dental practice is not easy.

As a dentist, you’re a dedicated professional committed to your patients’ oral health. But patient retention is also important for the growth of your business.

So what can you do in a world of marketplaces and little loyalty? Here are 4 creative ways you can leave lasting impressions and improve your retention rates.





1) Ditch the White Coat

The white coat is a symbol of authority -- one attained only by countless sleepless nights and grueling board exams. Many dental school students dream of walking into an exam room in their white coats to heal the sick.

But the white coat (and gloves) also creates a sense of hierarchy, making some patients feel intimidated in the presence of a doctor.

White coats can also spread bacteria. One study found that doctors’ white coats were contaminated with all kinds of bacteria, including Staphylococci resistant to Penicillin, Erythromycin, and Clindamycin.

Here’s a solution -- You can simply ditch the white coat. Make your practice more welcoming and “cool” by getting rid of the barrier between you and your patients. If you need pockets, an alternative, such as a sleeveless neoprene vest, serves all the functions of a white coat without causing your patients additional stress.




2) Engage Your Patients with Unique Giveaways

When it comes to growing your practice, you don’t need to hire expensive marketing firms. That’s because nothing beats word-of-mouth referrals, even in this digital world.

But you need to be proactive in asking for referrals.

Set your practice apart with promotional giveaways for your patients, and they’ll do all the marketing for you.

The key to giveaways is choosing promotional items that are both functional and convenient.

Here’s a unique giveaway idea: tongue scrapers. Educate your patients on the use and benefits of tongue scrapers, and be sure to include some as a part of a gift for their loyalty. These functional gifts will strike up conversations wherever your patients go, which could lead to referrals to your practice.

ScrapeYourTongue.com offers wholesale Tongue Scrapers to dental / medical offices at a rate of $25 for a 100-pack: ScrapeYourTongue.com/100Pack




3) Redesign Your Office For Instagram

Does your office lobby make patients say “Wow”?

We live in a world where a picture of a salad can get thousands of “likes.” This means that in order to survive, businesses, including medical offices, need to rethink their office design to attract customers. And with more than 500 million daily active users, Instagram is the place to show off your artistic side.

So how can your office become one of the “Most Instagrammable Places” in your city?

Instead of displaying your diplomas throughout your office, take a page out of retail stores’ playbooks and go for a more photo-friendly setup, like unique art or furniture. Unique live plants are also sure to be a hit on Instagram.

While adding unique elements to your office, don’t forget that lighting is important to take great photography. Not only does soft, natural light relieve stress for patients, it can also result in some breathtaking photos.




4) Prioritize Patient Comfort and Stress Relief

The bone-chilling whir of a dentist’s drill can make anyone squirm uncomfortably. It’s little wonder why dentists are one of the most hated professions.

Some discomfort may be unavoidable, but there are things you can do to maximize your patients’ comfort.

For example, you can provide headphones with soothing music to drown out the sound of drills. Some dentists also have TVs with Netflix in each exam room so that patients could watch their favorite shows or movies during their procedures.

If TVs in exam rooms aren’t your thing, unique plants or interesting artwork/photographs may also work to take the patient’s focus away from the procedure.




Small things like artwork and goodie bags may seem trivial, but they can go a long way in getting people to talk about your dental practice. A dental visit strikes stress and anxiety in millions of people, but by engaging your patients and staying on top of social trends, you may soon have a long list of loyal patients.

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