After last year, we could all use a little more TLC. The good news for practice owners everywhere is that providing a better patient experience isn’t just a nice thing to do - it’s a way to earn loyalty, secure more referrals, and build the bedrock of a strong, long-lived practice. Here are some of my favorite easy ways to make being a dental patient just a little more enjoyable.
Let Scheduling Happen Online
You’ve heard me talk about this plenty of times before, but it’s just that important. In a world where flights, rides, groceries, and even dating happens in just a few taps, and entirely without phone calls, this shouldn’t surprise anyone. Stop making your patients call you during their work hours to get an appointment. It meets modern expectations, makes your front desk’s job easier, and lets you keep a full schedule 24/7. And at the end of the day, it isn’t just about the convenience. When it’s easy to schedule an appointment, more appointments get scheduled.Your patients will thank you, and your bottom line will too.
Boost engagement with social giveaways
Most practices only use social media as a place to post pictures of their office and to remind people to schedule appointments. That’s all well and good, but it’s not exactly the most compelling content. A surefire way to get more patients engaging with you online is a fun giveaway now and then.
You don’t have to break the bank here. The prizes don’t have to be extravagant. They don’t even necessarily have to be for your services. And when executed correctly, it can be a great way to remind patients to schedule with you. Here’s an example of what it might look like:
What’s the best pizza place in town? Dr. Jones says Joe’s, but Marcy says Little Italy. Comment with your favorite, and if you’ve had an appointment in the last 6 months, we’ll enter you to win a gift card at your favorite pizza place!
It’s a fun conversation that reminds patients to schedule with you, increases engagement, and makes one patient in particular very happy, all for the price of a pizza. Can’t beat that.
Reward Patients With Referral Programs
If word of mouth is the best form of marketing, referral programs are a way to make the best marketing even better. Any time a patient can do your marketing for you is an opportunity that can’t be missed. Every practice should have some form of it.
The reason it works is simple - patients are more likely to recommend you if they have something to gain. That something could be small, like a free cleaning. Or maybe it’s being entered into a drawing for a bigger prize at the end of the year - maybe a couple tickets to a local team’s game. Whatever makes sense for your practice. The important thing isn’t the prize, it’s the incentive that prize creates. Be sure to talk about the program on social media.
Embrace Surveys and Encourage Reviews
This one can feel a little scary. Who wants to be told they need to improve? While surveys can definitely help you pinpoint areas where you can grow, they aren’t just about that. They have three other important functions - allowing patients to feel heard, preventing potential negative feedback from being posted publicly, and finding solid online review candidates.
If a patient has the chance to take grievances directly to the practice, it’s less likely that they’ll then air those same grievances on Yelp, Google, or Facebook.
Alternatively, if a surveyed patient is raving about how great you are, it’s the perfect opportunity to ask them to post that feedback somewhere public. You’d be surprised how many satisfied patients are willing to go to bat for you. The surveys just help you pinpoint whom to ask.
Call Pop Software
This one is kinda cheating. With good software, you’ll be able to talk to a patient calling in as if they’re the only patient you’ve ever had. The front desk will know their name, their treatment history, their billing details, and many other important metrics, all at a glance.
That allows the phone call to transition from “hold on for a moment, let me find your file…” to “of course Mrs. Fields, great to hear from you - calling about the outstanding balance, or next Tuesday’s appointment?” No more hold time, no more rummaging for documentation, and a completely personalized feel to every call. That’s the kind of experience patients don’t forget. There are loads of software options for this. I recommend Call Insight from Dental Intelligence, but check a few out for yourself to make the choice that’s right for you.
Written by LocalMed. If you are interested in LocalMed or want a FREE demo, the do sponsor our podcast and you do get a discount. Click here to find out more.