You're taking an excellent approach to marketing your dental practice, using time-saving Patient Relationship Management software (hopefully Legwork!), and you're seeing an increase in new patient appointments. Awesome!
However, outward marketing efforts are only part of the "Dental Practice Marketing" puzzle. You must create value in the appointment process in order for your practice's marketing efforts to succeed.
With so much competition in dentistry today, it is vital to set yourself apart from the competition. Sure you're booking new patients, but will they be one-appointment patients because of a forgettable experience? You have to make sure they'll become lifelong patients, which has to start at the beginning of the patient journey.
Here are 6 essential areas that are crucial for creating value in the appointment process:
When they arrive at your office, greeting new & existing patients by their first name goes a long way in creating a valuable experience. This may seem obvious, but you might be surprised how often a simple courtesy like that is ignored in many offices.
Taking the patient from the waiting room, to the operatory, and back to the waiting room needs to be smooth and seamless. Introducing each staff member as they're encountered helps accomplish this without a lot of effort. Transferring the patient from one staff member's care to another is an important time to make them feel valued -- if that transition is ignored, the patient might feel awkward, like they're walking through a place they don't belong.
Make sure directions such as what to do next, and where patients should go, are clearly communicated. Dental appointments are often anxiety-inducing and even dreaded experiences. With a quality transition, you can help reduce these negative emotions and associations.
Maintain consistent communication between providers. Remember, your patients are customers. They shouldn't have to repeat or explain themselves during the appointment process. Make sure everyone on your staff stays informed about each patient coming through your office. That way, newcomers and regular patients alike will experience a seamless, low-stress appointment.
4. Overall Appearance
From the office exterior to the waiting lobby, the appearance of your space is very important and has a large impact on the patient's experience. Many practices neglect their space, and we often see unorganized waiting rooms with magazines thrown about and little thought given toward patient comfort. Make sure your front office staff takes a little time each day to keep the area appealing and welcoming.
Your operatory should be a calm and relaxing environment. Approaching a cold, clinical and bland operatory induces anxiety and can lead to a negative, alienating experience. Patients are your valued customers and guests -- not science experiments!
6. Patient Send-off
Evaluate how you're ending your patient's visits. Are you just pointing them to the lobby and saying have a nice day? The send-off is the most important time to reinforce and retain a patient relationship for life.
The standard gift bag with a toothbrush & floss simply isn't enough anymore. Consider providing them with something that sets you apart, that they can share family or friends.
To be competitive, you need to set your practice apart. Dental patient marketing is a puzzle with many different pieces, and one of the biggest pieces is the patient's experience with your practice. Create a memorable, positive experience, and you'll have patients who look forward to appointments and are eager to tell their friends about your practice!