As the healthcare industry continues to evolve and become increasingly competitive, it’s more important than ever for practices to focus on retaining their patients.
While attracting new patients is undoubtedly important, creating long-term relationships with current patients is essential for building a solid and sustainable practice. Not only does it help increase patient engagement, but it also fosters loyalty and trust that can pay dividends in the form of repeat business and referrals.
By shifting the focus to patient retention, healthcare practices can establish a loyal patient base and set themselves up for continued success.
#1 Customer Retention over Acquisition
Businesses often undervalue customer retention, as many tend to focus solely on customer acquisition to achieve rapid ROI. However, this approach can be shortsighted, as it can lead to a constant need for new customers and neglect of existing ones. Retaining customers can provide several benefits that contribute to long-term success.
Are you wondering whether investing more time and resources into customer retention for your medical practice is worth it? The answer is a resounding yes, and here are three compelling reasons why customer retention should be a top priority for your medical business.
Saves costs: Customer acquisition is costly, especially in competitive markets. In contrast, retaining existing customers is often more cost-effective as it requires less spending to keep them coming back.
Increases lifetime value: Existing customers spend more over time, resulting in a higher lifetime value than new customers. This is particularly relevant in the medical industry, where patients require ongoing care.
Builds loyalty and advocacy: Retained customers are likelier to become loyal to your brand and recommend your services to others, resulting in new business without additional marketing expenses.
#2 Digital Marketing to Retain Patients
Leveraging First-Party Data for Customer Retention
Many medical practices still rely on third-party data to drive their marketing efforts, but with the rise of data privacy regulations and changes to web tracking, this approach is becoming increasingly challenging. Instead, first-party data can provide valuable insights into patient behaviors and preferences, allowing you to create personalized experiences and foster stronger connections.
To optimize the customer lifecycle, medical practices can implement a retention-led strategy that focuses on delivering value at every stage of the patient journey. Analyzing first-party data allows you to identify areas to improve the patient experience and tailor your communication and marketing efforts accordingly.
For example, you can use patient feedback to refine your services or offer personalized recommendations based on their past interactions with your practice. You can also leverage patient data to develop targeted marketing campaigns that resonate with their needs and preferences.
By prioritizing customer retention and using first-party data to drive your marketing efforts, you can build long-term relationships with patients and position your practice for sustained growth in the medical industry.
Establishing Cross-Channel Engagement
Cross-channel engagement is essential for creating a seamless patient experience that promotes customer retention. Patients today interact with healthcare practices through multiple channels, including social media, SMS, email, website, WhatsApp, mobile push and mobile apps. Therefore, it’s critical to establish consistent communication and engagement across these channels to keep patients connected and informed.
Right person, right message, right time!
A patient who receives timely and personalized communication through multiple channels is more likely to feel valued and stay loyal to your practice. Additionally, cross-channel engagement can help improve patient satisfaction by providing easy access to critical information and enhancing their overall experience with your practice. Therefore, healthcare practices should create a cohesive strategy that integrates all communication channels and delivers consistent, high-quality patient messaging.
Bonus: Patient Retention for Medical Tourism Industry
It’s essential to examine the medical tourism industry separately for customer retention because the aspects of customer retention in medical tourism differ from those in local clinics. Patients travel internationally to receive the medical treatment they need, leading many business owners to assume that customer retention is less likely to occur in medical tourism. Consequently, they tend to neglect to invest in retention and focus solely on client acquisition.
However, customer retention should also be a top priority for the medical tourism industry. In addition to the benefits of loyal customers’ referrals and word-of-mouth power, offering personalized top-notch medical services leads to long-term success and patient satisfaction.
Due to the international nature of medical tourism, establishing cross-sales between services can be especially effective in increasing revenue and patient satisfaction.
By providing a seamless and convenient experience, you can foster a loyal customer base that will return for future treatments and recommend your services to others.
Braze (2023) Global Customer Engagement Review
Padma Panchapakesan (2013) Antecedents of customer loyalty in medical tourism