Millennials approach dental care differently from previous generations, which makes it difficult for some of the more traditional practices to know how to appeal to this emerging segment. However, being able to successfully attract millennial patients is key to the success and growth of your dental office today and in the next few years. Here are some tips to set you on the right track.
1. Expand Your Online Presence
Millennials have grown up around computers and now heavily rely on the online world in their decision-making processes. This means that your website needs to be up-to-date, easy to navigate
and mobile-friendly, which will also help with your search engine ranking.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is something that’s often under-estimated by dental practices, but using smart SEO strategies to attract a millennial to your website makes you much more likely to turn that individual into a new patient.
2. Don’t Neglect Social Media
Social media is a huge part of your online presence, and is extremely important to millennials; Canadian millennials are using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social networks on a daily
basis, and over 80% of their time on social media is spent interacting with businesses.
Tweaking your existing social media strategy won’t do – you’ll need to create one that specifically targets millennials. Not only will this help to attract new patients to your office, but it will also
build trust and credibility, making it easy for you to build a strong relationship with a new patient before you’ve even met them.
3. Check Your Online Reviews
Ideally, you should be dealing with any problems that arise directly with a patient, so that they don’t feel the need to write a negative online review. However, if they do, it’s important for you to stay on top of this. You might not be able to remove or edit a negative review, but most websites give businesses the chance to respond to them, allowing you to put your own point of view forward.
Online reviews matter a great deal to millennials – this is something that they will likely check before choosing a dental provider. Try to keep yours as positive as possible – encouraging current patients to write a good review will go a long way in attracting new patients.
4. Embrace Sustainability in Your Office Design
Millennials are deeply passionate about the environment. Sustainability is a huge buzzword with this generation, and embracing this when it comes to the design of your dental office will be
highly appealing to them.
This doesn’t mean that you need to completely overhaul your decor – start with the smaller touches and see how this works for you, before taking it further.
Clean and green minimalism is what to aim for, with some ideas being:
- Green building materials, such as reclaimed wood
- Water saving toilets
- Energy efficient lights
- Proactive recycling efforts
- Non-toxic paints
5. Implement a Flexible Booking Schedule
The 9-to-5 schedule that previous generations would swear by doesn’t really work for modern day millennials. Life is simply too hectic now to squeeze a dental appointment into an already-shaky worklife balance.
In order to cater to the busy schedule of the average millennial, dental offices need to be more flexible when it comes to appointments. Implementing evening, weekend, and last-minute bookings will help to attract new millennial patients who are already struggling to manage their schedules.
This can make staff scheduling a little tricky for dental offices, making it worth looking into an employee scheduling software. Being able to efficiently schedule and re-schedule staff shifts, while
giving employees the opportunity to swap shifts with each other if required, will help you to manage your new flexible booking system.
6. Offer Digital Services
Millennials prefer to do things online rather than in-person or over the phone, making it important to offer these digital services if you want to appeal to this generation. From booking appointments to paying bills, these digital services make life much more convenient to the average millennial, making it more likely that they will choose your practice over another.
7. Increase Digital Communication Too
Being able to digitally communicate with your patients is a key part of your digital offerings. Social media enables you to do this to a certain extent, but custom patient portals seem to be the way forward in the healthcare field.
Give millennials the opportunity to communicate with you and ask questions without having to take time away from their busy lives – this will show them how engaged and committed you are, which is something else that millennials seek.
Digitally communicating with your patients in between visits will also help with future bookings. Customized email campaigns can be developed to target different patient segments, such as those dealing with tooth pain or those curious about teeth whitening. Millennials check their emails more frequently and regularly than other generations – just make sure that your emails are actually authentic and interesting enough for your patients to want to read.
8. Get Involved in Your Local Community
Growing up around so much technology has led to millennials being extremely socially conscious. Not only do they care about the environment, but they tend to strive to improve their local
community as much as possible.
Although millennials don’t have as much spare income as previous generations, 84% of millennials regularly donate to charity (usually online), while 64% have taken part in some sort of fundraising initiative.
Involving your dental office in these efforts is something that millennials will quickly notice and appreciate. Try taking a more active role in a community project or a local charity, one that your office can proudly stand by. There are so many different ways to get involved and they don’t all cost money – sometimes just donating time or skills can be enough.
Attracting millennial patients to your dental office means that you first need to understand the millennial mindset. This is a well-educated and extremely well-connected generation; one that passionately cares about the world around them. Tapping into the values that millennials have will help to open your office up to the largest generation to date, which will spell out unlimited success for your practice’s future.
About the Author
Derek Jones, VP Enterprise Strategy, Americas, spearheads key initiatives at Deputy, a global workforce management platform for employee scheduling, timesheets and communication. With a focus on Healthcare, Derek helps business owners and workforce leaders simplify employment law compliance, keep labor cost in line and build award-winning workplaces. Derek has over 16 years’ experience in delivering data-driven sales and marketing strategies to SaaS companies like MarketSource and Griswold Home Care.