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Retaining Current Clients

By: Tracy L. Drumm
Posted: January 28, 2010, from the November 2009 issue of
Gift and birthday cards

Brochures and takeaway information allow you to stay at the top of patients' minds.

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Create appointment cards. Take this concept one step further and create an inexpensive appointment card that will help retain patients. These cards actually offer the most value with the patients who do not book their next injection or laser treatment before leaving your office. With some inexpensive additions to a regular business card, you can create a powerful retention tool that also serves as a referral card.

After patients’ appointments, they should be asked if they would like to schedule their next treatment. If they need to check their calendar or will call in a few months to schedule, pull out your next appointment card that features a few upgrades.

  1. One side of the card should feature sample before-and-after photos, and the other side should strategically list followup information, such as the anticipated longevity of the treatment. To incorporate this strategy, have a line that reads, “Your treatment was on: _________,” and fill in the date.
  2. Next, list the most frequently performed treatments from your practice, such as Botox, filler and laser. Then you simply check the boxes of the procedures the patients had and indicate when the patients will be due for their next treatments based on how long the results typically last.

Essentially you are placing an expiration date on the patients’ treatments and putting a time frame in their minds for when they should be returning to your office. The before-and-after photos act as a visual expiration by implying, “Around August, when your wrinkles start to appear again like the ‘before’ picture, you are due for your next treatment.” Patients will not only have your contact information in their wallets, but a sample photo of your services, as well.

Birthday outreach. Another effective way to reach out to patients is to have your retention captain simply call them on their birthdays, offering them well wishes on behalf of the practice. For those really wanting to maximize their birthday outreach, an effort that has been shown in several practices to yield a significant return is the birthday gift card. No one likes to receive junk mail; however, everyone loves a birthday card and even more impactful is a birthday card with a gift. Rather than sending out cards throughout the month before each patient’s birthday, maximize time and efficiency by sending out the cards at the beginning of the month to everyone with a birthday during the following four weeks. Typically, a $50 gift card works well in getting patients in the door, and the net gain of their purchase makes the discount a worthwhile investment for the practice.

By giving your patients a gift card, you are rewarding them for being loyal, encouraging them to come to the practice again and helping them justify spending money—you’re saving them $50 without the risk of damaging your image by giving out gift cards. It allows you to lower the cost of your treatments without devaluing them.