How to improve recall rates and get more from existing dental patients

Improving customer loyalty and recall rates should be the highest priority for marketing your practice. Many practices make the mistake of spending their entire marketing budget on new business, forgetting that existing customers are far easier and cheaper to sell to. A recent study found a new customer costs up to 25x more to bring in than an existing one. A base of loyal clients will create a steady revenue stream and can even help you market to new customers through word of mouth referrals.

Here are some top tips for getting more from your customers:

Educate your customers

It’s not always easy to get customers to return when they don’t have a pressing dental issue. Educating your customers about the importance of maintaining excellent oral health can help with this. Explain that regular check-ins can mean a lower overall dental bill as issues can be spotted before they become troublesome and expensive. Discuss this during an appointment, or through marketing such as emails or social media.

dentist showing customer results

Treatment Coordinators (TCOs)

A Treatment Coordinator’s main responsibility is to lighten the administrative burden on dentists. Rather than having consultations with their dentists, patients can instead be referred to a TCO, who will guide them through treatment options. This allows the dentist to focus their time on procedures, and will filter out clients who are not suited to the practice or treatment.

TCOs have the perfect opportunity to form a strong relationship with patients and make them feel like part of your practice’s ‘family’. By being a friendly and knowledgeable point of contact for both new and existing customers, an effective TCO can improve the overall patient experience while selling high-end treatments.

Don’t underestimate the value a treatment coordinator can have in your business. Well trained TCOs can be utilised to present and talk through higher-end treatment such as implants to clients. Chris Barrow advocates working with them from “day one”!

Social media

With a strong social media presence, you’ll be at the forefront of patients’ minds when they are looking for dental treatment. Building a digital profile of your practice can be time-consuming and results might feel insignificant at first. The best way to avoid this is to focus your efforts on just one or two social channels rather than every platform available.

The Singing Dentist is a great example of using social media to create a brand and promote a practice. He’s built a successful and lucrative business by creating something unique which simultaneously provides enjoyable content. Even if you can’t sing, there are lessons to be learnt about consistency, tone of voice and content. His content promotes the idea of ‘dentistry made fun’, turning educational dental content into something more accessible and enjoyable for his audience. From the success of this approach, we can see that creating content which your customers find valuable is more engaging than simply talking about your services.

Email marketing

Email is as strong as ever as a marketing format and is an opportunity to build a connection with your customers while they are not actively seeking dental treatment. The key for a successful campaign is to provide useful insights to your patients, while not overwhelming them. Send emails that answer common questions or explore topics such as restorative or aesthetic dentistry. Keep things short and sweet, and prioritise quality over quantity.

Segmenting your client base and targeting each segment with tailored emails will improve engagement rates. For example, older patients are more likely to be interested in restorative dentistry, so creating a recipient list of your older patients and sending them targeting marketing will increase the likelihood they will engage with the email.

Getting more from current patients

Once a customer is loyal to your practice, their value doesn’t stop there. Take the opportunity to discuss different services you provide at your practice other than check-ups and general treatments. If a customer is interested, they are far more likely to choose their trusted dentist for procedures.

Reviews and referrals

Don’t be afraid to ask your customers to leave testimonials for you on review websites, or tell their friends about you. Many will be happy to do this and it will greatly help you market to new customers. Popular platforms include the NHS website, Google and Facebook.


Hopefully these tips help you optimise and improve your recall rates. If you are looking to grow the implant revenue stream of your business, why not attend a BioHorizons marketing course to find advice on improving retention and getting more value from current customers.

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