In Part 1 of this article, we examined a practice transition from the patient’s perspective and discussed two proven strategies to maximize patient retention following a dental practice sale.
Here are two additional strategies that buyers can implement to enhance patient retention:
Strategy #3: Maintain/Increase Office Hours
The buyer should focus on maintaining the current operating schedule of the practice for at least three months following a dental practice sale to provide continuity for existing patients and allow the new practice owner to determine if adding days/hours is necessary to better meet patient demand. Any changes to the operating schedule should be done gradually and be perceived as a benefit to patients. While offering extended hours or adding additional days to the schedule can have a positive impact on patient retention, new patient flow, and practice revenue, the additional cost in overhead expenses must also be considered.
Strategy #4: Consistent Branding
The selling dentist has likely worked very hard to establish a positive reputation and promote their practice within the local community (both of which are key components of goodwill). It is crucial for the new practice owner to preserve this goodwill and make the change in ownership as seamless as possible for the existing patient base by maintaining the name/branding of the office for as long as possible following a dental practice sale. While the branding of the practice can be enhanced by establishing a website, sending out direct mail, sponsoring community events, etc., it can also easily be damaged by immediately altering the practice name/image and potentially giving patients the impression that the office has undergone a significant change or been acquired by a corporate owner. Therefore, rebranding is a decision that should not be taken lightly and be analyzed in regards to each specific practice, its perception in the community, and the long term goals of the buyer.
By implementing these four strategies and being mindful of how changes to the practice will impact the patients and staff, buyers can ensure maximum patient retention and a smooth transition of ownership following a dental practice sale.
This article is brought to you by Patrick Johnston, MHA and Brannon Moncrief of McLerran & Associates, specializing in Patient Retention Following a Dental Practice Sale in Texas.