Dental Practices spend a lot of energy, time and money rolling out strategies to attract new patients. However, if it weren’t for the existing patients consistently returning for their oral care needs, your practice would not survive.
Recognising the loyalty of your long-term patients will have a powerful impact. Everyone likes to know that their custom is met with gratitude, and gratitude helps build and maintain better relationships.
Sending a ‘Thank You’ card is a great method. Depending upon the length of time your practice has been operating, you may choose to send Thank You cards to patients who have been loyal for 5+ years. Then systemise the process and once a year, send cards to patients who reach the 5-year mark. This will be easy if you have a dental software program. The initial run will be labour-intensive, however, the yearly process will prove easier. The important thing to remember is that the impact on your patients will be worth it!
My advice is that if you are going to express your appreciation of your patient base in this way, go the extra effort and do it properly.
Make sure the card is handwritten. It is enormously more personal than print and certainly favoured over texts or email. A handwritten note indicates true gratitude because it takes effort and time. Margaret Shepherd in her book The Art of the Handwritten Note, explains that with personal notes becoming a rare commodity, they are being valued more and more.
The Writer is to be the Patient’s Own Dentist
Even though patients develop strong relationships with their dental assistant and receptionist, it is their dentist in whom they place their ultimate trust to deliver quality treatment. Therefore, the treating dentist should be the one who pens the Thank You card, with the supporting team members signing their names personally at the bottom.
What to Write
Margaret Shepherd states that “Your thank-you note should recapture the smile, handshake or hug you would give the giver in person, and offer it in a form that can be read and reread.”
Phrases such as,
“I would like to sincerely thank you for the trust and confidence you place in us to care for your oral health…”
“Our practice is strong because of the loyalty of patients like you…”
“It is a delight to have you as a patient…”
“I look forward to continuing this wonderful relationship…”
work well in conveying the appreciation and sincerity of your message.
Ask Nothing of the Patient
An important element of your Thank You card is to deliver your heartfelt message without asking anything of the patient. Avoid being tempted to offer a discount and free service to reward the patient for their loyalty. The power of your handwritten note will stand alone.