Most people understand that creating a good first impression is important when it comes to success. The same can be said about a dental practice. With so many dental offices now taking advantage of digital marketing, a practice needs to go a little further to win patients’ hearts and minds. To create an excellent first impression and get more new patients in the door, a good marketing strategy should include the patients experience into consideration even before they contact the practice—and that doesn’t just mean having a great website.
The patient experience starts from the moment they find your practice’s website, Facebook page or phone number.
Just like at a luxury hotel, from the very moment a prospective patient clicks on your website or online ad or calls for the first time, every interaction that person has should be easy and feel welcoming, as if it was designed specifically for them—that’s the “concierge” experience. The first step is making it simple to contact your practice via multiple channels of communication, i.e. email, text, online request form, and of course, telephone. It also means responding to every single inquiry, and quickly, in a way that matches the means of inquiry. For example, if a prospective patient responds to you through texts, they would probably appreciate receiving a text message in return instead of a phone call and perhaps be more likely to follow through with an appointment. This type of attention to detail builds confidence and rapport and ensures that patients don’t fall through the cracks.
Another way to create a concierge experience is to give prospective patients the time they deserve when they first reach out. The office may be busy, but the person on the other end of the line or text message is probably also a busy person. If they took the time out to contact your practice, that means they are very interested in your services. It would be a shame to lose them to another practice because the person they dealt with at yours was too rushed to listen to their concerns. When things at the office get hectic and prospective patient inquiries come in, the team should have a strategy in place to make those people feel appreciated and that their time is respected.
Follow up is another key factor to consider. Not only is it important to contact prospective patients soon after their first inquiry, it’s also important to try more than once. A prospective patient is going to remember the dentist that didn’t quit reaching out after leaving one voice mail. And just because a patient books an appointment it doesn’t mean they’re going to keep it. Increase the chances of that happening by thinking a bit outside the box when it comes to communications. For instance, sending new-patient paperwork in advance is great, but may not be enough to get the patient’s attention.Try sending one or two additional messages that reinforce the patient made a great choice by choosing your practice, sharing the practice’s excellent reputation, including patient testimonials, videos and thanking the patient for choosing your practice, and giving the patient a way to contact the office with questions. Going a bit beyond the expected will make your practice stand out.
There is a lot of competition in the world of dentistry. However, it’s not hard to get an edge if your practice can start thinking of the patient experience as something that begins before they walk in the door and treating every interaction as a chance to give them the “concierge” experience. Implementing these ideas as part of your practice’s existing marketing strategy could have a profound impact on the number of new-patient inquiries that turn into actual patients who keep their appointments, get treatments and refer other patients.