Dr Mark HassedAs the economy continues to tighten many practices have started using discounts as a means of attracting and retaining clients. The end result is very often ugly.

Some practices give pensioner discounts of up to a 50%. Some practices give 10% discounts for anyone who pays on the day. Some practices give away a free initial check up, x-rays or cleaning. Some practices give away free whitening or hygiene visits.

There are some big problems with using discounts as a means of attracting and retaining clients:

  1. It tells clients that you are desperate.
  2. It tells clients that you probably do low quality work.
  3. It demoralises the staff who work in the practice.

The net result that I have observe is low staff morale, low levels of customer service and a practice full of highly price sensitive bargain hunters. The good honest patients who are happy to pay a fair fee tend to leave discount practices. As a friend of mine once said: “I'd rather pay and get it done right.”

If you use discounts in your practice I urge you to rethink. In my opinion it is a big mistake. You not only lose the discount but you also burn off good clients and replace them with people who it is hard to look after profitably.

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