Six Ways to Build Stronger Patient Relationships and Boost Retention

Building strong relationships with your patients inevitably results in greater satisfaction and retention over time. The more satisfied your patients are with your service, the more likely they are to return for appointments, leave positive reviews online, and refer their friends and family to your practice. That’s why it’s more important than ever to implement and maintain strategies that boost patient loyalty and retention for your practice long term. In this guide, you’ll learn six strategies to help you build stronger relationships with your patients and boost retention.

1. Reward patients when they refer a friend or family member

Referrals are a compliment and should never go unthanked. Some practices have a whiteboard the staff updates monthly with a list of patient names who have referred individuals to the practice. This is a great way to encourage referrals and get the word out that there is a reward beyond appreciation.

Referral program tips:

  • Send newsletters using advanced segmentation
    Once a quarter pull a list of patients who have visited once before, and visited again in the past 90 days. Then, send them a newsletter with a referral incentive like 1 free visit, and include a ‘Refer a friend’ call-to-action button.

  • Offer easy incentive redemption
    If your patients can redeem their incentive while they are booking their appointment online, they will appreciate the ease and continue to refer in the future. To ensure they use their incentive in a timely manner, add an expiration date and let them know how long it is valid for.

2. Offer seasonal promotions to VIPs

VIPs are patients that bring your practice a lot of value. You can define value in the number of visits per year, number of referrals a year, or even how much they’ve spent at your practice. Just like patients who refer a friend, the loyalty a VIP shows should not go unappreciated.

VIP program tips:

  • Offer incentives they can’t pass up
    A patient who needs a 60-day treatment often pays a pretty penny for that service, and ends up becoming a regular face at your practice. Send them an email once the treatment is over offering them up to 40% off their next visit.

  • Protect your bottom line
    Keep these incentives exclusive by only offering them once or twice a year. If you include that in the email, your patient will know this is a rare offer they need to redeem.

3. Give patients full control when booking appointments

If your patients have to call your practice to make an appointment, you’re actively putting friction between you and your bottom line. The act of finding a calling time that works for them within your hours of operation is enough to keep them away for years.

Easy appointment tips:

  • Add online booking to your site
    This not only empowers your patients to make an appointment when it’s convenient for them, it also makes your practice attractive to potential patients considering a visit.
  • Display all providers and services
    Without the option to choose a specific provider for a specific service, patients will still have to call your practice. Empower them to make an appointment with providers they prefer

4. Communicate with patients in their preferred method of communication

Texting with your patients is convenient for them, and it may also be just as convenient for your staff. It gives them the ability to multitask, while still giving the patient the attention they need in that moment.

Two-Way Texting tips:

  • Encourage treatment plan participation
    Send a text to patients who may be almost done with a product or prescription to ask how it’s going, and if they would like a prescription refill or product replenishment.
  • Respond within 24 business hours
    The reason texting is so popular is because it’s timely. Make it a rule to answer patients within 24 hours of reaching out, and make sure they get an automated message letting them know they will hear back from you by then.

5. Send emails with educational value

Some of the most popular loyalty programs offer education and thought-leadership that’s industry relevant. Patients find value in receiving advice from you outside of their visit.

Educational email program tips:

  • Use patient conversations as inspiration
    You may find yourself answering the same questions often. This means this information is valuable to your patients, and you could save time during appointments if you address common concerns in your email newsletter. Use segmentation to send the right topics to the right audience so you stay relevant.
  • Offer seasonal advice
    Help patients ease seasonal concerns like dry/itchy skin in an email newsletter that offers seasonal advice.

6. Remind patients when they are due for their next appointment

New research reveals that Americans between 45 and 65 years old are experiencing more stress today than people their age did in the 1990s.* Although this stress is due to a variety of factors, one thing is for sure: we have too much to manage and remember in our personal lives. Sending a simple Recall reminder is immensely helpful to your patients.

Recall program tips:

  • Find the right communication channel
    Make sure you’re recalling inactive patients through their preferred communication channel. It may be text, email, or phone, and you don’t want to negatively affect your bottom line because you sent it to the least-checked channel.

  • Send a follow-up
    Often the first reminder doesn’t get acted on, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t effective. Everyone is busy and they may need that second follow-up to commit to an appointment.

​​Demandforce offers automated technology to support your patient retention efforts. Your staff is busy keeping the front office a seamless operation and keeping your current patients coming back is cost-effective. With a handful of retention incentives and programs, your practice will stand out against the competition.

To learn more about Demandforce visit or call (800) 246-9853.