So, I’m sure you have a patient you love and I’m sure that patient loves you (as their dentist). As a dentist you want more of these types of patients so you tend to ask them “if you have any friends or family looking for a great dentist/ or needs any dental care be sure to refer them here!” and you send them off in hopes that they bring their whole family and friend to your dental practice as soon as possible!
However, what results have you seen from this? Sometimes we get some pretty good results, and then sometimes we get absolutely nothing from this. Side note: if you continue to get nothing from this, don’t worry, be consistent in each visit and continue to ask and market.
What else can you do?
Answer: Always ask your patients where they work.
Look at it this way. When you have a happy patient, a patient you like, and you even like their benefits their job provides, then ask them where they work!
Asking your existing patient where they work is a legitimate question but don’t just leave it at that; probe!
Let your existing patient know that you would like to figure out a way that you can set up some type of lunch and learn with the company they work with.
Let me give you a quick script on how to do this:
You: Hey “patient’s name” how’s work coming along?
Patient: Good/ Bad
You: oh ok! Where is it you work at again? (of course conversate with them and lead it to this question, or they may already mention it when you conversate about “how work is coming along”)
Patient: Company Name
You: That’s right! You know I was wondering, do you think they would let us stop by and give your co-workers free hygiene kits/ free toothbrushes and maybe some exclusive services?
Patient: “Yeah!” or they may say “I’m not sure but you can contact this number or person”.
You: Awesome! Yeah I wanted to stop by this week and give everyone free goodies and see if we can set something exclusive up with your company.
So, do you see what you have done here? You created a BRAND NEW opportunity! You opened a door to a whole new possibility of attracting new potential patients!
Now, you will have to go and visit the company and person who is in charge or call them and let them know how you would like to partner up with the company and not only provide them with free goodies, but also how you would like to provide them with exclusive services for the employees of the company and for their families as well.
The point of this article is to show you to squeeze as much juice as possible from your existing patients. There shouldn’t be a reason that you received nothing from an existing patient. Especially if the patient loves you and you love them!
If you’re the dentist, it’s a good idea for you to ask these questions. However, if you have a ground marketer on staff they will be the ones asking the questions and visiting your existing patient’s workplace. The ground marketer will be the one in charge of making sure that your existing patient’s company dental concerns and needs are taken care of by you and your whole dental team.
Normally, the staff or front office already know where your existing patient works (due to figuring out their dental insurance), so make sure the rest of the team knows. Make sure each of your existing patients that you love have been asked this question, and I can assure you, you will see many… PLENTY of doors and opportunities open up for you to attract new patients and increase the quality and loyalty of your existing patients and new patients.
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Is email marketing still relevant? Is it even worth your time anymore? Who is reading your emails that you send out to your current patients? These are all very common and great questions. A lot of the times we feel our efforts and time can be spent on something else where we can get a ROI a lot faster. But just how effective is email marketing? Well…. If done properly then it can be highly effective!
- 48% of emails are opened on mobile devices.
- 11% of email templates are optimized for mobile.
- 69% of mobile users delete emails that are NOT optimized.
- 64% of decision makers read their emails on mobiles.
- 80% of people will simply delete an email if it doesn’t look good on mobile.
So do you see a trend here. Do you see what most of your patients are looking at their emails with? A MOBILE DEVICE. This is crucial to understand. Why? Well, when was the last time you updated your email templates or adjusted your email to be responsive to a mobile device? If you answered recently then great! If not then you NEED to update all of your newsletters, email reminders, templates, and more to be responsive onto a mobile device.
Another important thing to point out in the statistics above is that 64% of decision makers are reading your email through their mobile device. So why would you send out something that you know a decision maker will more than likely not open or not care about. Make sure the content is impeccable….every….single….time. Each email has to add value AND be responsive to mobile devices. Just think about it, would you read an email on your phone about your next eye exam or that you eye- check-up is due and the email doesn’t even look like it fits in your phone and the template looks mechanical and the exact same as last years?! Nope! There’s no value to that, no sense of urgency, no thought put into it. So make sure you add all that into your email along with it being optimized to mobile devices.
Another statistic for you:
Did you know that email marketing was the most effective for or channel used for customer loyalty and retention, surpassing and leading social network marketing by about 20% Source: emarketer.com
We get excited about all the social media platforms and social media marketing that at times we forget that our existing patients are right on the other side of us and they can boost our production and collections. They are already our customers. These existing patients can bring in more family, friends, colleagues, employees, and more! All it takes is constant communication through email and building that relationship.
Email marketing is far…. And I mean very far from dead! It is alive and living large! Email marketing is just evolving and if you feel like your email marketing is getting you know where… then honestly, you aren’t evolving with it. So make sure from this point on you do this:
- Optimize all your email templates to be mobile friendly.
- Make each template warm and personable. Let the reader/ decision maker know that you are personally writing to them and not some generic email template you send out this time of year to hundreds of your patients.
- Create content. Put video into your emails, pictures of you and a picture of them the last time they visited your office. Add value to their day through your email.
- Leave a pending email. Meaning make the email a conversation; don’t just remind them about their end of the year benefits. Leave them an email with value and a possible question or something to ponder on at the end of the email that will lead to a CTA (call to action).
- See who has opened your emails. By now you should have a software that shows you the analytics of the emails you sent out. See who has opened up your emails and send them another email to follow-up with all the steps I mentioned above.
This may seem like a funnel to target your most loyal patients and…. that’s because it is! You also want separate email templates for the patients that did not open up your email. Maybe they felt no urgency or didn’t see your email the first time, so give it another shot with a different approach and email template.
Regardless, I want you to continue to do email marketing. It not only produces results but when done properly it brings in a lot more production, re-calls, pending treatment, referrals, and collections. So follow the steps above and start evolving with email marketing and I can assure you, you will start seeing the proven results I am talking about.
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Last minute cancellations and no-shows can be the biggest buzzkill out there. When this happens it’s as if you feel like there is no point in confirmation calls, confirmation texts, email reminders, and more.
You’re absolutely right though, but if we dive into the reasons why patients cancel or no show in the last minute then we can start reducing it slowly…. Right? I mean I doubt a patient scheduled a treatment for next week and then confirmed via text, phone call or email and then purposely decided not to show or was just sitting at home and said to themselves “today I am going to ruin this dental practice’s production schedule and not show up or call last minute and cancel *insert evil laugh*”. So what we have to do is find out why this is happening so much and be CONSISTENT and PERSISTENT with finding out the reasons for last minute cancellations or no-shows.
Reasons for Last Minute Cancellations or No-Shows.
Reason 1: The patient/ client has not been bought into or doesn’t own their needed dentistry. They think what your saying “what you diagnosed” could just be a bunch of bologna because they were “perfectly fine” before they saw. These type of patients/ customers seek every reason to cancel because they do not have a reason to complete their dental care.
Reason 2: The client is genuinely afraid of pain! (Big surprise right? Someone afraid of pain *gasp*). Although you may be the gentlest dentist in the universe it is still important to probe why they are afraid of pain, or why they feel everything you will do to them will involve pain. This could have implemented into a customer’s mindset due to past horrible dental experiences or stories that their friends or family members tell your customer.
Reason 3: Financial Concerns. Your customer/ patient may just not have the funds for it. Probe to figure this out, lots of times patients are shy or embarrassed to let their dentist know this so they tend to just not show up. If this is the reason then offer payment options (not over the phone). Let the patient know to not worry. If they open up top you about financial concerns mention that cost can be handled in many ways and to not worry about that; express that the main concern is what’s going on in the patient’s mouth right now (whatever the dentist diagnosed) and have them come in to discuss extremely flexible financial options that can totally cover the procedure.
Reason 4: The reason why they patient no-showed or cancelled on you last minute could be in fact that the patient really is physically sick! They may have the flu or severe allergies. Or they may honestly have work or traffic issues. Maybe their boss gave them a big project last minute and they have to get it done. Or maybe they are stuck in MAJOR traffic and will arrive at your dental practice 1 hour behind schedule. This is ok. They are being honest with you and if they didn’t show up due to traffic or work related issues then your patient will appreciate that you understand because you don’t want to feel rushed working on a late patient and the patient will show up irritated and annoyed due to the traffic and work related issues. Not a good mix.
So what’s the solution to these reasons?
Although I mentioned some solutions in the reasons above I am still going to mention them here but elaborate a little more.
Solution for Reason 1: Did you know that studies have shown that patients HAVE to hear a dentist recommendations and consequences for not going through with their scheduled treatment at least THREE TIMES before the patient actually understands and digests it. So if you only expressed to your patient once that they needed an implant and never mentioned it again and scheduled them for an implant consultation then…..yeah….. your patient isn’t going to show up for that consultation.
You need to clearly talk about the condition the patient’s mouth is in and what will happen if they delay treatment every single day. BUILD URGENCY.
Have the hygienist repeat whatever the dentist diagnosed if they have an upcoming cleaning, have the assistants repeat the diagnosing, have the treatment coordinator ESPECIALLY repeat what the dentist diagnosed, and have the front office and scheduler repeat it as well. EVERYONE should know that patient’s oral situation and instill urgency in the patient.
Solution for Reason 2: Like I mentioned before. A lot of the times patients (especially new patients in your dental office) are afraid of pain. Ok… who isn’t?! However as human beings we know if pain is related to the scenario we try to avoid that pain; whether it’s physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental. Why do you think whenever we see our EX who broke your heart walking down the street we try to avoid them! This all happens through horrible past experiences. Figure this out. Talk to your new patient and warm up to them as much as possible. Within the initial visit you have got to express how warm your staff, the dentist, and your whole office is. If the patient tells you about their past experience express great deal of concern and sympathy for them.
Solution for Reason 3: The majority of the people are very private when it comes to their financial state, income, debts, and so forth. So patients will be the same way with you. They rather cancel an appointment or no-show and say they were “bust” then rather tell you that they just can’t afford it. If your patient ever schedules a following appointment and they still have cost concerns or you feel that they are surprised or squirmy when you told them about the cost for their procedure….then….yeah…… they are going to no-show you. That right there is a major reason for your patient to cancel or no-show. Make sure you always give your patients plenty of flexible financial options. If you tried absolutely everything to make it affordable (even cutting treatment in half and working in parts) and somehow they still can’t afford it then guess what…..they can’t afford it. Move on. Call them back within 6-12 months to let them know you still care and see if their finances have changed.
Solution for Reason 4: If the patient is really ill then obviously you want to express concern! Point them to the best Urgent Care or local doctor. If they are a fantastic patient who pays well, then heck pay for their initial doctor’s visit! That would be amazing and they would love you for that (plus it wouldn’t be much and it shows your care A LOT). You can also call to check in on them, write them a card signed by your staff, etc.
If they had work related issues or stuck in traffic express how you understand. Let them know that you understand that LIFE happens, unexpected things will always pop-up. Immediately ask for a re-schedule date and time and let them know how bummed out the dentist will be.
Now that you know the main (actually really…. Only reasons) why patients cancel or no-show it’s time to figure out which reason dominates the most in your dental office. Find out these reasons in your patients who constantly cancel and no-show and apply the solution. Slowly but surely you will reduce these problem.
Let me know how it goes!
THE DENTAL MARKETER LINKS:
FIND OUT HOW MANY NEW PATIENTS YOUR DENTAL PRACTICE SHOULD BE ATTRACTING WEEKLY. CLICK THE BUTTON BELOW TO DOWNLOAD THE REPORT!
The more we are exposed to the world, the more eyes are on your brand and more voices are speaking about your dental office! And this is great, right! This is what we want when we invest time and money into marketing and advertising your dental practice. However, this also means you may 1, 2,or maybe more upset customers. You may have had a miscommunication with a patient. Or competition may just be playing really dirty and wants to see you fail!
When this happens most people feel that they need to do something about it… so they go to third- party websites like Yelp or Angie’s List and leave a bad review about your dentistry. They may also express their feelings or concerns on social media and this can damage your social media presence.
So what can we do when we receive bad reviews? Well, let me tell you, not everyone is going to like you (listen to podcast episode 009 as I go into more detail about this) but you need to learn to accept that. Once you’ve accepted it, now it’s time to do damage control!
Get ready to start managing your reputation online!
Tools to help you manage your online reputation
When dealing with reputation management on social media and third party websites you need to measure five things:
- Awareness: followers, social media mentions, branded search volume, new links.
- Conversion: increased sales, send to friend, newsletter subscribers, any metrics…
- Relationships: How much conversation, tone of conversation, application of conversation, whose initiating conversation.
- Sentiment: Do they like you or not, how is this changing over time, do they feel you are listening, are you responding?
- Engagement: unique visitors, time on site or pages viewed, frequency of visit, inbound links and mentions.
When measuring these five things I recommend using tools social media tools like:
Use these tools (or pick one) to look through each popular third party website and social media platforms to see what you can find that is relevant to your brand / dental office.
These tools help you to pinpoint who is having conversations about your brand online.
So say someone mentions you on social media; SOCIAL MEDIA IS HUGE….. how can you find that mention if they don’t tag you!? By using the tools above and figuring out what the engagement rate is, whose viewing what people are saying about your dental practice, how many views the negative review/ comment is getting, and obviously you can use your own common sense to see if it is good conversations about your dental office or a bad one.
A quick tip: looking at negative reviews from other dental offices in your community, with the tools mentioned above, can actually help you build a great marketing strategy. Looking through negative dental reviews and comments will help you to understand not only what NOT to do in your dental office, but to express that in the community through your marketing strategy.
Should you address customer service issues on social media?
You never want to break or run into the HIPAA compliance law. Make sure you are not mentioning too much of the issue on social media if you do find negative reviews/ remarks online. However you do want to say “SORRY” when someone is upset and understand that people….actually everyone has bad days and do what you can to fix it!
The best you can do if the person is upset on social media or a third party website is address the issue, mention to them your condolences (how sorry you are to hear that), and ask them when would be a good time to call them or email them to fix the issues right away!
Now, sometimes a negative review can just be a negative insane review. What I mean is, do you ever get that one review where you were like “ummmm okay, which patient is this?!” OR “WHAT?! When did we ever do any of this?!”
Some reviews can just be straight up mean and incredibly false, they could even attack you directly which will automatically make you want to be responsive and defensive! but… HOLD ON! It’s best to know when to respond, so let me share with you when to respond.
Only respond to the negative review under these circumstances to negative reviews:
- IF YOU ARE WRONG. If you are wrong just do what I stated above; apologize and see how you can fix it.
- IF THE REVIEW IS WRONG. Make sure facts stay as facts and opinions aren’t misinterpreted as facts. So make sure no lying is going on but correct it in a friendly way.
- IF THE REVIEW STARTS TO CATCH FIRE. If the negative review starts to pick up traction and more and more people are involved in it, you better be a part of that engagement process and make sure it slows down or gets cut off completely.
As you grow and attract new patients, your main concern should always be providing the best dental care to all of your patients. However, not everyone will see this. You can have the nicest, juiciest peach ever, but there is still always going to be that ONE person who doesn’t like peaches. So don’t fret or feel like the world is a dark hole that wants to see you crumble when you get a negative review. Just follow the steps above and you’ll be okay!
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Every community has some sort of hotel or motel in their block, neighborhood, or community. Can the people who work here be your new potential patient? If you are thinking about a small motel, I can understand why you’re telling yourself “ehhhh I don’t care”. But think bigger, think about the Embassy Suites or Marriott types of hotels (or if you’re living in Nevada near Las Vegas, you definitely will want to read this!)
Most dentist or marketers don’t know this but hotels are a fantastic place to attract new patients! They are filled with employees who have dental insurance (mainly the event coordinators, managers, etc. are the ones with the PPO type of insurance). Then you have the other side of employees who have NO INSURANCE (mainly housekeeping).
Aim to attract every employee
Target both of these employees but market to them differently!
You see first you have to build rapport and a relationship with the marketing manager or someone who will let you advertise and market to the hotel’s employees. If you’re still unfamiliar with how to build a relationship or just get the “ok” from management to market your dentistry download the “2 simple and easy marketing tactics to attract new patients now” for free. Read it, apply, and the rest will be easy!
Anyways, so once you’ve gotten the “okay” to market to the hotel’s employees, start creating your strategy. Talk to management and see if you can stand in on one of their “health and safety” days, or host a “health and safety” day, or just simply ask them who has insurance and who doesn’t.
The hotel management staff will be more likely to open up about whatever information you ask because they want to add benefits to their employees as much as possible.
Once you get the “okay!”
If hotel management says “yes” to standing in on one of their health and safety meetings then prepare what you will say to the employees. Make sure it is short, not about any of your dental office’s features, and point out the benefits you give them (dental and economical). I will touch on how to speak at lunch & learns in another blog or podcast soon.
If hotel management says “yes” to your dental practice hosting a “health and safety event” then host it! Now, here you obviously get more bang for your time being there. You not only get to converse with the staff but also their family! Sometimes, when the hotel knows there is an event taking place for their staff, at times, they tend to invite other local business as well. When this happens thank everyone for coming and have a small 30 second to 1 minute speal when they give you the floor to speak. Don’t go on and on about your dental practice just mention one extraordinary benefit that you are offering to only the exclusive people attending the event and that’s it. Throughout the day have someone set-up a booth and manage it while you are out mingling with everyone and grabbing THEIR business cards. Guide them to your booth and have them sign-up for a visit.
If hotel management says “probably not” or “no” to both options above then simply ask if you can leave a sign-up sheet or if there is some way you can give exclusive information to the employees. They may say just leave it in the break room. Now, if they do say that, this is not a bad thing! This gives you a reason to continue to come back and keep dropping off information or picking up information and at the same time you can continue to build a relationship with the staff and eventually (in no time actually) you will be able to do much more for the hotel’s employees and the employees will be more inclined in going to your dental office because they know a familiar face (whoever is doing the ground marketing) from your dental office.
Once you have a handful of people singing up to come to the office talk with management again and see if people on the sign-up sheet have insurance or cash. Divide it and from that point on figure out what extensive offers you can give them according to their situation (insurance or no insurance). This will increase the percentage of them making the first appointment.
So guys, hope this helps!
Don’t forget to download the 2 simple and easy marketing tactics to attract new patients now… for free! This will help you (or whoever is doing your ground marketing) immensely! So download it below! *looks down*
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