Let’s admit it…as dental professionals, we love to nerd out!
Nothing excites us more than new technologies that can really enhance the level of dental care we can provide to our patients!
Even office and communication technologies are beginning to excite us more. In fact, from all the articles that have been published about dentistry after COVID, the pandemic will be a catalyst to greater acceptance of technology that really enhances our efficiency. These can include automated texting, scheduling, digital forms and touch-less check-in and payment systems.
All of this is exciting for our inner-nerd!
It could, however, be a nightmare for our marketing teams.
Why would this be the case? Isn’t it a great idea to meet the demands of our patients to have greater control over their experience and interaction with you? Don’t these technologies provide a great opportunity to provide the ideal model of self-service efficiency?
Well…yes…all of that is true.
However, there is another thing these technologies do extremely well. They standardize the delivery of dental services! And they reduce our level of human contact and personal interaction with patients.
Think about it…the more we rely upon technology to help communicate with our patients, the easier it becomes to duplicate the patient experience from one office to the next. If “every office is doing it” the same way, how can you provide a unique patient experience that sets you apart from the office down the street?
In other words, why should a patient choose you over any other dentist?
The key will be identifying those opportunities for personal interaction that remain and maximizing their impact! To do this, you truly must develop a sense of your own brand identity. It is more important than ever to have a clear vision that truly expresses the impact you want your dentistry to have on your patients.
And it is not just you that needs to have this clear vision. Your team needs to share it because they will be called on to deliver it. So, developing that brand as a team can be a beneficial exercise.
There are a number of fronts you can really focus on to enhance your brand identity. The most obvious time is when you are spending time with the patient in person. This is your best opportunity to really connect with patients and show them how you are different from other dentists. This is where your commitment to the patient experience comes to life.
However, to get to that point, you have to bring the patients into your office in the first place. A big part of the patient experience always must consider that you want your existing patients to be a referral source for new patients! That means making them feel that you provide a level of care that simply cannot be reproduced through technology alone. It also means asking for referrals!
Of course, these days, projecting your brand identity to both existing patients and potential patients also means harnessing the power of social media. Believe it or not, this is still an under-utilized tool by most dentists. But not by all!
From the use of the their own webpages to platforms like Facebook, Instagram, You-Tube and even Tik-Tok, some dentists have grown their audience and their patient base by developing a brand identity patients can relate to on social media. It is not about being trendy per se. It is about simply using a different medium to communicate their brand.
Social media can be another avenue where you show your existing patients your commitment to their care. It can also be a great way to allow potential patients to have a peek through the window to see your vision of the patient experience.
It is important to realize that these things do not “just happen”. You need to take the time to develop a vision…develop a brand…something that tells the world why you provide such a unique patient experience. Only then can you move on to consider how to best communicate that brand.
Technology can be a great ally when it comes to improving your efficiency. However, if that is all your dental office is about, the only way you can stand out from other dentists is by lowering your price…hardly the best direction to consider for long term profitability.
Better to invest the time and money to develop a brand that stands out…and to communicate it in a way that stands out even more! Perhaps more attention to branding could be the biggest legacy we are left with from the pandemic.
About the Author
Shawn Peers is the President of DentalPeers. DentalPeers is one of Canada’s oldest, continuous operating buying groups exclusively for dentists.