Why You Shouldn't Ignore Your Patient Churn Rate

So, you lose a few patients at your practice every now and then but you don’t think anything of it. You say to yourself, “Maybe they moved to a new city, or maybe they haven’t required my services in a while.” But then, the number continues to increase and now it has become a concern. There is a specific term for this, and that term is churn rate. 
What is churn rate, you ask? Your churn rate put as simply as possible is a measurement of the number of people who have stopped doing business with you in a given period of time. There are multiple factors that can contribute to your practice’s churn rate continuously fluctuating. 
But before we get to the reasons WHY someone may be leaving your healthcare practice, we want to help you understand HOW to calculate your churn rate. In order to calculate your patient churn rate, follow this formula: 
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Once you’ve completed the equation and have your churn rate percentage, now you can begin to look at the reasons people are deciding to leave your practice and what you can do to stop them.

5 Reasons Why Patients Churn

Although there are many reasons your patient or client may decide they no longer require your services, here are some of the most typical responses you may receive from them if you ask why they are deciding to do business elsewhere.

1. Issues With Your Services

When a patient pays for a product or service from you, it’s because they see the value in doing so. After they’ve received treatment, if it’s not what they expected, they may not feel the same way about your practice. 
You and your staff should work to make sure that patients or clients know what to expect when at your office and that they are happy with the services or products you provide.

2. Your Marketing Plan 

Are you effectively marketing your practice? You want to increase the visibility of your practice as much as possible by having a solid marketing plan that will retain current patients or clients while also attracting new ones.
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If your practice isn’t creating any content, optimizing your website, listing your business, or taking advantage of any other marketing tactics, you might want to rethink how you are reaching your audience. You should be using every marketing trick that you can think of to interest someone in becoming a patient of yours. 
Once someone becomes a patient of yours, this does not mean you can forget about them! Constantly email them new, or even updated content can help increase readership.

3. Problems With Customer Service

Did you know that 53 percent of patients say they value customer service in a healthcare provider?
When people come into your business they expect to be treated with decency and have their concerns taken care of in a timely manner. You must always prioritize the needs of your patients or clients if you want your practice to thrive and attract even more business.
Providing excellent customer service is something that many businesses may minimize when in reality they should be maximizing their efforts to satisfy their customers. 
Great customer service is something that can help you stand out from your competition because patients or clients will appreciate that you listen to and attempt to fix an issue that they have during your first interaction. 
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4. Local Competitors

Whether you’re in a big city or a small town, there’s a high chance that you have competitors in your local area. These competitors may offer something that you don’t at your practice, have better communication with their patients, or maybe their services are cheaper than yours. 
You should create a competitor analysis so you can compare what you offer versus your local competition and see what may be drawing your patients or clients to their business. 

Bonus Tip: ALWAYS remember to ask your patients or clients who churn why they have chosen to go to another business. This can be done over the phone or through an email, but it’s important that you get their feedback so that you can respond accordingly and potentially correct the issue. 

Read On: How to Create a Digital Marketing Competitor Analysis

5. Not Delivering What You Promised

Building a trusting relationship with your patients or clients is so important for maintaining loyalty for years and years. If they did not achieve the desired outcome that was promised, this can cause issues. 
For example, let’s say you’re an optician and someone purchases a pair of eyeglasses from you because you told them the glasses are shatter resistant and would survive a fall whenever they dropped them. But, when they actually do drop their glasses, the lenses crack immediately.
This person will have a hard time believing that you hold up your end of the bargain for providing them with what you promised. Always be truthful and open with patients so they know what to expect and know they can trust you.

Solutions to Decrease Your Churn Rate

Now that you know some of the main reasons that someone may be leaving your practice, let’s review the ways you can avoid losing as many patients or clients as possible. 
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1. Revisit Your Marketing Plan 

There is no perfect recipe to create a marketing strategy that will bring new business through your front door. Every business has to come up with a plan that works for them and will resonate with its intended audience. But, some marketing tactics that should absolutely be included in every business’s plan are:

  • Email Marketing – Email is great for communicating and building a relationship with your patients. You stay fresh in their mind when they receive emails from you on a consistent basis. Emailing is also useful in encouraging your patients to complete actionable items such as “Schedule Your Next Appointment” or any CTA that directs them to your website. Email marketing is an easily measurable and cost-effective method to keep in touch.
  • Being Active on Social Media – If you don’t have any social media accounts or you just don’t use them, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to engage with your current patient base. Increase your online visibility by posting updates or any relevant information about your business or show a behind the scenes look at your practice and staff. 
  • Optimizing Your Website – When your website is not optimized, people will be unable to find you. You must optimize your web pages by using keywords throughout your entire site, consider mobile users, and user experience. Applying keywords will make it easy for search engines to identify your website as relevant to what people are searching for and organically push your site to the top of the results page. Optimizing for mobile devices ensures users can view your website on any device and it will properly adjust since most people view emails and videos on their smartphones.
  • Creating a Google My Business Page – Creating a Google My Business account is of the utmost importance because if someone can’t find your practice online, how will they even know you exist? When your business listing does appear on Google once you’ve claimed it, people will be able to see your location, website, daily hours, and reviews.

Plus, if current patients only visit your offices once or twice a year, they may forget the exact directions to your practice. If they use a voice search to locate your practice and your Google My Business information is incorrect or non-existent, they may be traveling to the wrong location and could become upset or frustrated.
Learn More: How to Claim Your Google My Business Listing

2. Improve Patient Relationship Management 

It goes without saying that you want to have a positive relationship with all your patients, but how can you do that? By working on your patient relationship management, of course! 
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If you need help practicing good patient retention habits, here are some things you can implement at your practice: 

  • Respond to Online Reviews – Whether they’re good or bad, but especially if they’re bad, you should be responding to reviews from patients or clients in a timely manner. When you reach out to them, it lets them (and other patients) know that you value their patronage and want to come to a resolution that will be satisfactory for both of you. 
  • Patient Appreciation – Doesn’t it feel great to know you are appreciated? Your patients or clients want to feel the same way and know that you appreciate their business at your practice. You can do this by sending them a small gift, discount, or reward for being loyal. 
  • Send Out Reminders – Never make your patients feel as if you’ve forgotten about them. If they have an appointment coming up or they haven’t been to your office in a while, send them a reminder text, email, or call them so they don’t forget to come and see you. 
  • Provide Helpful Resources – If you’ve created useful content, share it! Content downloads, infographics, videos, white papers, webinars, videos, you name it! Your patients want to learn something valuable from you that they can apply to their lives, so be sure to share it with them. 
  • Practice Excellent Customer Service – Tend to your patients and clients so that their needs are always addressed. When you respond in a professional and timely manner, they’ll know you want to get to the root of the problem. The better you respond, the better your chances of them leaving you a five-star review online!

Maintaining a healthy amount of communication between you and the patient is essential in keeping them loyal for years to come. 

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Patient Churn

Your churn rate may not be something that’s at the top of your mind when it comes to running your practice, but it should be! Don’t ignore your churn rate because losing patients or clients is never a good thing for business. 
Whether it’s at the hands of a competitor of your own doing, try to avoid making mistakes that steer people away. Work on building relationships and nurturing those relationships so your patients won’t ever have to consider going anywhere else. 

Do you want to decrease your churn rate and increase patient retention? 

Keep your patients or clients as happy as possible and improve your retention rates by calling us at 800.792.8384 or click here to discover our digital marketing solutions.

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