We live in an era where consumers’ expectations of brands are high when it comes to service — healthcare being no exception. Patients are consumers, and the demand for excellent healthcare is high — patient loyalty is a very important factor driving the success of any healthcare organization.

We know keeping your patients happy and satisfied is not easy given the constant increase in healthcare costs, significant issues from health insurance companies, and demand for quality care. While some patients are loyal to healthcare organizations, our aim is to show you how to build or maintain patient loyalty at your practice.

For you to gain their trust and earn their loyalty, you must implement strategies for your patient’s convenience and improve overall access to your practice. You want your patients to keep coming back to you. That way, you know you’re doing things right. With all that in mind, here are five best practices your organization can follow to create patient loyalty:

1. Check in with your patients.

It doesn’t hurt to check in with your patients every now and then. Have your staff reach out to your patients by sending them a message. Many patients have busy schedules, and healthcare is not always on the top of their list. A reminder to schedule a checkup could be welcome. It can also help with patient retention. There are many competitors out there; it’s easy for them to catch your patient’s attention, especially if they haven’t heard from you in a while. 

Reach out and ask how your patient is doing. Determine what their needs may be, and if they need anything, let them know that you’re there to take care of and protect their health. Checking in with your patients reminds them that you value them and their health is important to you.

2. Convenience plays a key role in patient loyalty.

According to a survey by Deloitte, consumers expressed that convenience is one of their top priorities regarding healthcare providers. You want to make things easy and simple for your patients. Consider ways you can improve scheduling appointments with them, settling payment concerns, and providing updates to them. For example, having a 2-way text message program helps you manage scheduling and send out reminders to patients while making it easy for them to communicate with your office.

After their visit, send them a thank you, wish them a great day, or remind them how you appreciate their loyalty to your practice. By sending them a message via text afterward, they know that they are a top priority, making them feel that you care.

3. Make things simple for patients.

One of the hindrances that holds healthcare back from having a great quality of service is complexity. Patients want a straight and clear answer when they call. That way, you can avoid patients spending additional time in the waiting area that can only bring them frustration. Another thing you can simplify for your patients is confusing billing procedures. Make sure to follow these practices to avoid undermining your patient’s loyalty to your organization.

4. Make an impactful first impression.

Yes, a first impression always matters for any organization, but especially in healthcare. It’s one thing how you handle a conversation with a patient on the phone, but what’s more important is how you and your staff offer a warm and welcoming environment at the office. Yes, it’s true: You can never get a second chance to make a first impression — so make it count.

5. Embrace new systems to communicate with patients.

If you put yourself in your patient’s shoes, you can see how easier access to the information you need and want to know is important. You’d also want to know which healthcare processes work better for you. Technology offers convenient ways to provide better service in your healthcare organization. If you think your office needs an upgrade, go for it. Investing in a greater system such as an appointment reminders program will make your patients stay with you for a very long time.

Many healthcare providers are too busy to make improvements. You can take advantage of that by executing a plan to retain your patients and gain more. Following the aforementioned practices and strategies can help you create patient loyalty with ease. Take the necessary steps today to build successful, long-lasting relationships with your patients.