It's every marketer’s worst nightmare: Churn.
It's what happens when customers, who are notoriously fickle with their loyalties, come to a company, only to leave eventually for your competitor. If you've experienced this, it's probably not specifically about your company. Every company experiences churn.
Customers are easy to lose, and that's just a fact of marketing. Today, experts estimate that out of 26 unhappy customers, only one will complain directly to your company. The rest will simply leave. This may lead you to wonder what you're doing wrong, why your customers are leaving for your competition, and how you can improve your level of customer service.
If you're asking these questions, you're not alone. This post is designed to help you understand how to retain customers, why they leave, and what you can do to stop at the whole churn cycle.
Why Patients Leave: 5 Things That Will Send Them Through Your Competition’s Doors
While some amount of churn is random, owing largely to customers in decision or preferences, lots of churn can be prevented. The first step is to understand why it happens. With this in mind, here are the five most common reasons that customers churn in today's environment:
1. You Play Favorites
We get it, there's some level of intelligence associated with paying the most attention to your loyal, returning patients. Those patients are worth more, and it's easier to sell to them. Despite this, though, you don't ruin returning clients by neglecting the clients that are coming to your practice for the first time. If you do this, patients will catch on. If they feel like you're playing favorites with your more established patients, they are simply going to leave.
With this in mind, focus on customer service. 84% of customers say that salespeople don't share enough information with them and that this causes frustration which makes them want to take their business elsewhere. Once this happens, you're in a deep, deep hole. It takes an average of 12 positive customer service experiences to make up for a single negative experience.
If any of this sounds familiar to you, it's clear that you've got to start treating all your patients equally. Instead of rewarding loyal clients for expected Behavior, start focusing on nurturing new clients, as well. When you pay your full attention to both pursuits, you have a better chance of creating a more balanced patient base.
2. You Make Things Inconvenient
We all love convenience. When you make working with your company inconvenient, it's not going to fly. In an age where Amazon rules everything, virtually everything can be had within 2 days, and for free.
People are shopping online more than ever before and they are starting to expect the same level of customer experience they get from their online shopping in every other area as well. It's clear that offering an inconvenient or clunky sales process will just earn your abandonment. With this in mind, focus on making your buyer's journey as simple and streamlined as possible.
If you can look at your pipeline and identify where you're losing patients, you'll be able to find a way to resolve the pain point and retain business. Additional elements, like a mobile app, or online payment processing will go a long way toward making your patient's experience more streamlined as well.
3. Your Wait Times Are Too Long
In brick-and-mortar retail stores, companies still have some checkout counters. Well, these checkout counters can be fantastic because they allow you an opportunity to interact face-to-face with your customers and create a real relationship. However, they can also be a serious liability because if there's any delay during a customer's checkout, the ones behind in the line have to wait longer than expected.
Today, 86% of customers will leave a store if the line to checkout is too long. With this in mind, it's time to start asking if you have developed a solid appointment scheduling system for your dental practice.
If you haven't, it's never too late to start looking for available options in the marketplace, and how to build one. The answer may lie in hiring more staff, or utilizing a technological appointment management system, which can also be helpful.
4. You're Not Innovating
Patients today expect more and get bored easily. Who can blame them? There's so much to look at in today's marketplace environment. Modern customers have the option of choosing from countless companies, countless products, countless marketing schemes, countless checkout options, and more. There are dozens of ways for them to get the things they want.
Because of this, your practice can either innovate or sink. If you are offering patients the same old services they're used to, and you're finding that you're experiencing a lot of churn regardless, the answer might be that you're not innovating enough.
Innovation isn't something that you can plateau on. It requires constant maintenance and a close attention to detail. It's not enough doing it once, you need to keep redoing it, adjusting it to your customers, and ensuring it's scaling with your business. The process goes on forever.
To ensure that innovation is as efficient and targeted as possible, identify a couple of common pain points in your practice. Next get your team to put their heads together to find new ways to route around the issue and provide better service for both employees and customers.
5. Your Competition Is Just... Better
Nobody wants to hear this, but sometimes customers leave because your competition offers a better product good or service. In this case, it's time to put your feelings and offensiveness aside, and figure out what action you can take as a result.
While every founder wants to think of their dental practice as the best on the block, this isn't always the case. The great news is that you can use this as a lesson. What is your competition doing that you're not? How can you mimic or improve upon their offerings?
Are they paying attention to patients in a way that you are not, but should be? Thinking about all of these things won't make you any weaker as a practice, it will only improve your offerings and make you more aware of your surroundings.
If you're not sure what your patients like about your competition, consider sending out an email survey to past patients. The feedback might be hard to read, but it will certainly be illuminating.
Keeping Patients in Your Practice
Although there's no way to retain 100% of your patients 100% of the time, there are ways to reduce churn in your organization and ensure that the customers that you worked hard to earn stay where they belong.
But improving your customer service, taking lessons from your competition, and understanding how you can treat each patient equally and compassionately, will improve the offerings of your dental practice, and ensure that you are building long, happy customer to client relationships.