The Patient Retention Formula: 5 Key Components

Posted on November 9, 2023 by Holly Jensen

Patient retention plays a large role in the success of a practice and has lasting effects. Learn five key components to help you increase patient retention.

This original article was featured in the November 2023 issue of Chiropractic Economics

As a chiropractor, you know the key to a successful practice is having a steady stream of patients. But what happens when those patients drop out? You end up working harder to get more new patients in the door, which costs you time, energy, and money.

Sources show that a 5% increase in customer retention results in a profit increase of 25% to 95% (Saleh, 2015). Another analysis found that retaining customers is seven times less expensive than acquiring them.

That’s why patient retention is so important. By keeping your patients coming back, you can ensure the long-term success of your practice. Not only does patient retention result in better clinical outcomes, but it yields higher profits for your practice.

Whether on supplements, gift cards, care plans, etc.,  existing patients frequently spend more in your office than new ones because they’ve learned the value of your services and products and keep coming back again and again. Furthermore, loyal patients are more likely to refer their friends and family, which brings in new business without spending a dime on marketing.

This article will discuss the five essential components of a successful patient retention formula. Following these tips can keep your patients happy, healthy, and loyal. This will, in turn, help you create a high-retention practice, which can result in more revenue and joy in practice.

Ingredient #1: Excellent Customer Service

Customer service is the foundation of any successful business. And in the healthcare industry, it’s even more critical. In fact, 89% of businesses see the customer experience as a key factor in driving loyalty and retention.

Your patients are counting on you to provide them with the highest level of care. That means being friendly, courteous, and responsive to their needs. It also means going the extra mile to ensure they’re satisfied with their experience.

For example, you should have a system for following up with the patient after their first adjustment to see how they’re doing. Or, send them a handwritten thank you note for choosing your practice. Small gestures like these can significantly affect your patients’ feelings about your practice. When they feel appreciated, they’re more likely to stick around.

Here are some specific ways to provide excellent customer service in your practice:

  • Welcoming and friendly when patients arrive at your office.
  • Take the time to answer their questions and address their concerns.
  • Make sure your staff is also friendly and helpful.

Ingredient #2: Personalized Care

One of the best ways to show your patients that they are important to you is to provide them with personalized care. This means taking the time to get to know them and their individual needs. Ask them about their health goals, their lifestyle, and their pain. Then, tailor your treatment plan to meet their specific needs.

When patients feel like you’re listening to and understanding their situation, they’re more likely to trust you and feel confident in your care. Repeat their concern and state how that can affect their life.

Here are some specific ways to provide personalized care in your practice:

  • Take a detailed medical history of each patient.
  • Perform a thorough exam.
  • Develop a treatment plan that is specific to each patient’s needs.
  • Be flexible with your treatment plan as needed.
  • Offer ongoing support and education.
  • Build relationships with your patients and get to know them on a personal level.

Ingredient #3: Effective Treatment

Of course, a patient retention formula would only be complete with effective treatment. Your patients must see results from your care to stay motivated and committed to their treatment plan.

This is why staying up-to-date on the latest research and techniques is essential. It would help if you were willing to work with your patients to find a treatment plan that works for them. If you can provide your patients with effective treatment, they’re more likely to stay with you until they reach their health goals.

Here are some specific ways to provide effective treatment in your practice:

  • Use the latest research and techniques.
  • Be willing to work with patients to find a treatment plan that works for them.
  • Be patient and persistent.
  • Offer ongoing support and education to help patients manage their condition.
  • Regularly track patient progress and make adjustments to the treatment plan as needed.

Ingredient #4: Communication

Communication is vital to any successful relationship between chiropractors and their patients. Make sure you keep your patients informed about their treatment plans. Let them know what to expect and how they can help themselves get better. You should also be open to their feedback. If they have any questions or concerns, address them promptly.

When you communicate effectively with your patients, you build trust and rapport. A patient who trusts you will likely stay with you for the long haul.

Here are some specific ways to communicate effectively with your patients:

  • Be clear and concise when explaining the treatment plan.
  • Use language that patients can understand.
  • Answer questions promptly and thoroughly.
  • Be upfront about the cost of care and your financial policies.

Ingredient #5: Frequent Contact

It’s essential to stay in touch with your patients throughout the course of care and after their treatment is complete. You can do this by regularly sending them emails to educate them on the benefits of care and offering them tips on staying healthy.

Staying in touch with patients shows you care about their health and well-being. This can help patients develop an affinity for your practice, which is essential for patient retention.

Frequent contact can also remind patients about your services and keep them returning to care. This is especially important for patients not experiencing pain or discomfort, as they may be more likely to forget about your practice if you don’t stay in touch.

Staying in touch can also provide an opportunity to collect feedback from patients. This feedback can help you improve your services and ensure that you meet your patients’ needs.

Here are three action items you can do to stay in touch with your patients:

  • Send thank you notes after special appointments. This is a simple way to show your patients you appreciate their business.
  • Schedule follow-up appointments. This is a great way to check in on patients and see how they are doing. You can also use this time to answer any questions they may have.
  • Send newsletters or email updates. This is a way to inform patients about your practice and any new services or specials you offer.
  • Send a birthday card or birthday email.

Stay in touch with your patients to show them you care about their health and well-being. This can help to improve patient retention and build a thriving practice.

Here are some of the benefits of patient retention:

  • Increased revenue: Patients who stay with your practice are more likely to refer their friends and family. This can lead to a steady stream of new patients.
  • Reduced costs: When you have a high patient retention rate, you can reduce the costs of acquiring new patients, such as marketing and advertising.
  • Improved patient outcomes: Patients who feel valued and cared for are more likely to adhere to their treatment plan and achieve their health goals.
  • Enhanced reputation: A high patient retention rate indicates a high-quality practice. This can attract new patients and boost your reputation in the community.

Focusing on retention is an ongoing process and an important factor in the success of any practice, as it can help to reduce costs and increase revenue. Be patient and persistent. It takes time to build a successful practice, so keep going even if you don’t see results immediately. Keep working hard and providing excellent care, and you will eventually see your patient retention rates improve, ultimately giving you the high-retention practice of your dreams.

Source: Saleh, K. (2015, February 23). Customer acquisition vs. retention costs – statistics and trends. Invesp. 

About the Author

Holly Jensen, the esteemed Chief Operations Officer of Cash Practice Systems, oversees a pioneering platform highly regarded in the chiropractic community for its unparalleled ability to boost revenue and retention rates. At its core are innovative tools like The Wellness Score, Care Plan Calculator, Auto-Debit, and Drip-Education Systems, meticulously crafted to aid doctors in enhancing patient retention and revenue. With unwavering commitment, Holly has been instrumental in solidifying Cash Practice Systems as the premier choice for chiropractors seeking practice optimization. Prior to her COO role, Holly collaborated with Dr. Miles Bodzin, CEO of Cash Practice Systems, in leading a highly successful wellness practice in San Diego, showcasing dedication to patient care. Together, they've dedicated over two decades to advancing chiropractic care, inspiring practitioners worldwide. Explore for transformative tools.

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