“Practice Personality” Plays Big Role in Patient Loyalty to Their Dental Practice

You don’t need to be a marketing whiz to know social media and other personality-driven forms of advertising work well for the dental industry. This makes sense, because long-term success for dental practices relies on loyal, returning patients—and people won’t return if they don’t like you.

But how do you turn your dental practice’s personality into satisfied, repeat patients?

What Actually Drives Patient Loyalty?

Plenty of research has been done on patient loyalty in dentistry. Research has found that, in addition to the obvious high-priority items (pain management, reasonable pricing, consistently good quality of care), patients typically rate dentists’ behavior and personal skills as some of the most important loyalty factors.

In a UK survey,1 a dentist’s ability to put a patient at ease was frequently rated as the most important factor when deciding if they would return for additional care. The personality factor actually outranked education and experience, qualifications you would normally assume to be a high priority.

Personalization was another recurring factor respondents rated highly. This study defined this metric as a patient’s perception of whether or not their dentist put time and attention into their care. Patients hoping for this type of attention aren’t likely to return to a practitioner they feel is detached and distracted.

How Does a Dentist’s Personality Impact Patient Return Rates?

If you don’t think personality is a huge factor when a patient chooses a dentist, think again! According to the American Dentistry Education Association2 website, dentistry is an unusually personality-sensitive field. While dentists are, and should be, mostly focused on patient care, they also frequently own and operate their businesses.

The personality, preferences, and values of a dentist inevitably shine through in the day-to-day operations of their practice. You don’t need to be personable, necessarily, to run your own business. Ownership and operation of a dental practice are a different story! 

A successful dental practice must be led by a combination of skilled practitioners and proficient managers of people and relationships. One-on-one interactions between staff and patients should increase patients’ chances of returning for routine and emergency care. But that’s difficult to do even in the best of circumstances.

Dental practices usually have higher rates of attrition—patients leaving in search of a different practitioner—than other branches of healthcare. Dental offices also tend to be more financially dependent on patients returning for non-urgent check-ups, cleanings, and other routine maintenance to remain solvent.

So what does that mean? Well, returning patients matter in dentistry far more than in other types of medicine. When patients stay with your practice long enough to come back for routine care, you’ll be the practitioner they choose when their inevitable dental emergencies arise. The key to their loyalty is presenting a great office culture, welcoming dentist personality, convenient care, and great prices.

How Can I Communicate “Practice Personality” in Social Media Marketing?

Dental practice staff spend most of their working hours with their hands in mouths, eyes on confidential health information, and ears listening to patients who are stressed, cost-conscious, and sometimes in pain. Suddenly the huge emphasis on interpersonal skills makes more sense, doesn’t it?

More than any other factor, the actual experience of your patients during their interaction—whether they’re in your office, visiting your website, reading a practitioner bio, or checking out a social media page—determines your “practice personality.”3 This term refers to the parts of your social media marketing strategy that demonstrate there’s a living, breathing, human behind your mask and your website. Here’s how.

1. Determine Your Goal

There’s no point to marketing without a goal. Are you trying to attract more families with children? Use photos of families on your social media featuring positive interactions with children or child-friendly waiting areas. And make sure they’re real photos of real patients, people see right through stock images. Just be sure to get a photo release from the parents.

2. Develop Patient Profiles

The Pareto Principle4 means 80% of your practices’ value comes from 20% of your patients. Time spent identifying and targeting your ideal patients will help you attract more loyal patients. This process is called developing a patient profile.5

What does a day in the life of your ideal patient look like? Are their dental goals focused on maintenance or the cosmetic side of dentistry? What are they looking for in a dentist? Use this information to showcase your practice’s understanding of and ability to meet the unique needs of your “ideal patient”.

3. Keep Your Word

Congratulations, you’ve successfully made your practice look awesome on social media! Now, you have to actualize that promised experience. So make sure the positive atmosphere you’ve promised in your social media marketing is achievable and repeatable!

Ready to build a social media strategy to highlight your practice personality? Contact us today at 888.307.7304 to schedule a strategy session.


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