In the service industry, loyalty may never be coerced, only earned. This is especially true in a dental practice. It has been observed, and reference to this can be gleaned across the net from a simple search, that loyalty of a customer and patient to keep retuning is based steadfastly in the level of service and professionalism that is displayed.
This way, loyalty is earned. Bonus programs, loyalty reward programs and complex promotions will not amount to anything if the customer is not comfortable to visit your chair.
There is a level of familiarity and comfort a patient must feel for them to develop a level of trust that strengthens over time. Causes for doubt quickly shake this trust, evidence of wellbeing slowly builds it. Only a patient who experience a level of service that is sufficient to overcome the already burgeoning apprehension of a dentist visit will be able to store a positive memory of the experience.
Loyalty marketing is a fairly new term for an old truism – do unto other as you would have them do unto you. As long as this is adhered to, loyalty marketing is half way done. A person’s loyalty to a dentist, or even a mechanic is based upon how they perceive the service. And that really comes down to culture. If a clinic puts out New York manners in a southern rural town, don’t expect to have patients for long. Loyalty can only be earned.
A survey of dentists across the country repeatedly attribute their continued success to the relationships they forge with their patients. This relationship works better to cement the bond and guarantee a returning patient more than frequent flier miles ever could. Dentistry is about relationships. And it is the relationships that carry the loyalty of a patient.
As such, first and foremost is the relationship. All else that is used in the furtherance of effective marketing is really only to preserve relationships and is by no means in itself a successful strategy. If there is an email reminder program, it should be with a fairly personal note from the dentist to the patient. That goes a lot farther than a template message. Wishes of birthday’s and holidays should be done with a personal touch. When visiting, time should be taken to understand the patient. All other academic formulas to increase patient count and revenue will pale in comparison if a little humanity is brought to bear on the relationship