Whether you run a brick-and-mortar retail business, manage an online clothing store or offer a professional service like a dental practice, it’s time to consider what a loyalty program might look like for your business.
According to Incentive Federation, Inc., 84% of U.S. businesses use non-cash rewards to recognize and reward key audiences in the form of award points, gift cards, incentive travel, and merchandise – up from 74% in 2013.
Some percentage of that can presumably be attributed to dental offices that have, for some time now, started offering referral rewards or other incentives for their patients to keep coming back. Take this idea to the next level with even more incentives and benefits and you have a loyalty program.
If you don’t have a loyalty program, you can see from the statistic above that you may as well advertise for your competitor. You need a program that keeps patient retention high and encourages new patients to visit your dental practice over others.
What Is a Loyalty Program?
Let’s start from the beginning. Essentially, a loyalty program is a rewards program that is offered by a business to customers. A loyalty program can serve many purposes, but the main reason for implementing one is to keep customers coming back to your business.
Loyalty programs allow a new way to attract and retain patients. Many customers will join loyalty programs for perks. These range from access to new products sooner than the general public, discounts on existing services or even access to special treatment like birthday recognition and priority scheduling.
Who Is Using Loyalty Programs Effectively?
Take a look at the coffee giant Starbucks. They introduced a simple loyalty program that rewards customers who shop at their stores continuously. Starbucks utilized simple ideas like earning a star for every $1 spent. As customers gain more stars, they unlock more savings and perks. In 2016, their loyalty program had over 12.3 million active members!
Another case study to look at is frequent flyer miles put in place by major airlines. Frequent flyer miles are, of course, a loyalty program. By allowing customers to redeem these points for real-world travel benefits, airlines have been able to gain loyal customers who will return to their brand for any of their travel needs.
Or what about Bed Bath & Beyond’s new loyalty program Beyond+? For this rewards program, members must pay an annual membership fee of $29 to receive the benefits of the program, which include 20% off your entire purchase every time (in-store and online) and free standard shipping.
If you shop at Bed Bath & Beyond frequently, that’s a great deal for you. If you shop there every once in a while, odds are, with this membership plan, you’ll start shopping there more.
That has certainly been the case for Amazon Prime, too. Amazon Prime, currently, has approximately 85 million subscribers. It’s not a free program either, but one that its members have seen the value in. If you look at their “About Amazon Prime” page on their website, you’ll find a long list of benefits for its members, and Amazon delivers on those promises.
As a result, Amazon has seen a huge increase in sales, and that’s not even including the success of Amazon Prime Day, which brings in a lot of money itself for this booming business.
This list of examples could go on and on of businesses who have found success with loyalty programs. The important thing to note here is what benefits they’ve seen from creating loyalty programs like these:
- An increase in visits from new and returning customers.
- Greater customer spending, as customers try to unlock rewards or capitalize on their savings.
- Higher retention rate. Customers who are loyal to a business or brand often return more frequently to that particular business rather than starting someplace new.
- Positive word of mouth. Loyal customers tend to share their positive experience with friends and family.
What Does This Mean for My Dental Practice?
Patient loyalty plans like the ones outlined above can be a major benefit, especially when it comes to retaining customers on the small business level. But how does all of this transfer over to my dental practice, or the dental industry in general?
Loyalty programs are popular. Look at the number of businesses that are using these programs. And in an industry where it is often a struggle to keep patients coming back (let’s face it, a lot of people don’t like going to the dentist), any incentive your business is able to offer patients can only help patient retention and acquisition.
Let’s look at some statistics compiled by Access Development to show you what I mean…
- 80% of Gen Z consumers are willing to sign up for loyalty cards in exchange for deals/discounts
- 85% of loyalty program members prefer interacting with their favorite loyalty program online
- 76.82% of women and 73.84% of men are likely to shop with a brand that has a loyalty program
- 74% of Baby Boomers, 58% of Gen X and 41% of Millennials claim they would be encouraged to spend with a brand that has a loyalty program
- 67% of global loyalty program members say points or rewards for referrals is appealing…
- Offer patients deals and discounts and many will be ready and willing to sign up
- Create a portal/website where members can access their information and your discounted prices online
- Including a loyalty program at your practice has the high probability of increasing the number of new patients that come into your office, if advertised well
- Increase patient acceptance rate. Offering treatment at an affordable price has a better likelihood of being accepted while in the office
- Offer a referral bonus or discount to members so they tell their friends and family about your program
How Do I Create a Loyalty Program?
Creating a compliant, customized and supported dental plan is one way you can increase loyalty to your practice. By offering a plan that includes discounts on common and major procedures, you can increase the treatment acceptance rate at your practice, keep patients coming back and grow revenue in the process, even with the discounts you’re giving patients.
Just like the Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond example given earlier, many patients will be willing to spend money on a plan that offers them significant deals and discounts on their treatment because they know they’re saving money and getting the treatment they need. It will improve their experience at your office and will, therefore, encourage them to spread the word about their positive experience.
Consider how other dentists have seen the benefits of plans like these.
How Can Launch Loyalty Help?
Creating a program like this can take extortionate amounts of time and energy and isn’t always the priority for dentists who are performing procedures as well as running their practice. That’s where Launch Loyalty comes in.
Launch Loyalty is a first-of-its-kind platform designed for dentists. Launch Loyalty can offer an easy-to-use tool to help dental practices create custom, in-house, private-label plans that increase patient loyalty, boost case acceptance and attract new patients. Launch Loyalty is the smartest way to build and manage your in-house dental discount plan.