According to a McKenzie Management Survey, of every ten new patients that visit a medical practice, seven will never go back. Thats a lot of not-returning patients!
In his recent Dental Economics Article “Membership plans keep patients committed to your practice,” Dave Mohan writes that a world of endless choices has created a new level of fickleness among consumers.
“Loyalty to one brand or one entity is becoming rare,” he writes. “It’s no different with your patients. If you aren’t doing it already, now is the time to implement a patient loyalty and retention program.”
So, where do you start? Monahan suggests with the uninsured.
“The most vulnerable patients in a practice are those who are uninsured and pay out of pocket,” he writes. “They truly have endless choices and often shop around for oral care. They are also typically the most profitable patients for a practice and the patients a practice can least afford to lose.”
Monahan goes on to write that research from the Fitch Brand shows the uninsured are patients who are uncomfortable not having dental coverage, avoid hygiene visits and are skeptical about accepting additional treatment recommended by the dentist.
“The great news is that 89% of uninsured patients are interested in purchasing a dental care plan if it’s simple, transparent, and affordable,” Monahan writes. “They have looked at dental insurance, but they do not buy it because of the long, complicated agreements that include limitations, exclusions, annual maximums, and other terms that make it difficult to understand.”
And this, he writes, is where a membership plan comes in.
A membership plan is a dental care plan that you offer directly to your patients. Patients pay a monthly fee directly to your practice for preventive care and discounts off other treatment. Membership plans eliminate the cost and hassle of an insurance middleman, enabling patients to get the oral care they need at an affordable price while enabling dentists to run a successful, profitable practice.
Monahan writes that his research has found that the cost or fear of a high cost is the number one reason patients with no insurance avoid the dentist. However, membership plans allow patients to understand the costs up front, and that kind of transparency builds trust because they know they will not be surprised by bills during or after the appointment.
“When uninsured patients get access to the oral care they need at an affordable price they want, they feel a sense of relief and appreciation,” he writes. “They visit more often, become more committed to their hygiene visits, and accept more restorative treatment. As a result, membership plan patients are loyal to your practice and will become your best patients.”