Dr. Kim had owned two successful dental clinics for over a decade by the time she became a business coaching client. Over the years competition had gotten stiffer, resulting in periods when one or both of her two clinics suffered low patient volume.
Because there was no pattern to these ebbs and flows of patient volume, this made it difficult for her to efficiently staff her locations. This in turn cut into her margins and profitability. Of course, this was one of the reasons she turned to us to help.
After a deep dive into her business we discovered that there were literally hundreds of past patients who hadn’t come into her clinics for their semi-annual check-up and cleaning.
With this in mind, here is the reactivation campaign Dr. Kim put into place.
Her front desk staff pulled a list of past patients who hadn’t been in to see them for a cleaning and exam in over 9 months. They called these prospects with the following script:
“Hi, Mrs. Jones? This is Dana with Dr. Kim’s office. How are you doing today? Great, Dr. Kim asked me to call you Mrs. Jones. She was concerned that we haven’t seen you in since last March. You may not be aware of this but there was a recent university study that showed how undetected, low grade oral infections can increase a patient’s chance of acute coronary syndrome by 270 percent. That was one of the reasons Dr. Kim felt it was so important to get you scheduled for your next cleaning and exam. Is this week or next week better for you Mrs. Jones?“
This simple scripted approach led to an immediate reactivation rate of 25 percent, and it was one of the key factors that helped her increase patient volume by 11 and 31 percent respectively at her two clinics.
The simplest sale is usually the former customer who already bought from you in the past. So why is it that many businesses are scared to reach out to these former clients? They fear that the reason the past customer stopped buying from them is because of something the business did (or didn’t do.) If this was the case, wouldn’t you rather find out what it was so you can deal with it and improve your business?
In my experiences, the more common reason that your past customer stopped buying from you is that he or she somehow got interrupted in their normal buying pattern and now they just let time, entropy, and inertia keep them from buying again. By you reaching out to them, many of them will enthusiastically start buying from you again.
In the case that they no longer have a need for your product or service, this is a great time for you to ask about the real impact and value they received when they did use your product or service, and then to pivot to asking them for a direct referral to two other potential customers. Assuming you did give them great value, they’ll happily make these referrals.
Pull the list of your former buyers. If this list is small and local to you, reach out to schedule a time to visit with these former customers in person. If the list is small but not local, pick up the phone and start calling them. When you reach them, take the time to reconnect first, then ask them how you can best serve them.
If the list is large, consider an email or direct mail effort to reactivate old customers. Can you segment your list so that your messaging is more precise and targeted? Can you test out two or more compelling reactivation offers?
Then start the campaign. Track your results and keep systematically tweaking it to get optimal conversions.
There is literally millions of dollars of business in the clients who stopped working with you, if you just reach out to ask them to come back into the fold.
If you enjoyed the ideas I shared, then I encourage you to download a free copy of my newest book, Build a Business, Not a Job. Click here for full details and to get your complimentary copy.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.