How to Get More Patients in Your Dental Office (And Create Long-Term Loyalty)
There’s no doubt that dentistry is a health essential and that you’re committed to helping people prioritize their oral health. This priority is probably one of the factors that drives you to strategize about how to get more patients in your dental office.
It’s a win-win, really!
- Patients improve their dental health.
- Your practice increases its patient base.
Keep Your Competitive Edge
More and more dental practices are launching. The irony is that at the same time less and less people are seeking dental care.
That reality creates a competitive market.
Carving out your place in a seemingly saturated and lower-demand niche requires strategic planning and competitive execution of those strategies.
HOW TO GET (AND KEEP) MORE PATIENTS IN YOUR DENTAL OFFICE
Prioritize and Refine Your Communication
Everything about your dental practice communicates something. It’s vital that what’s being seen and heard by your new and current patients leads to long-term relationships.
Remember that communication is a two-way street. What you say and what your patients hear, see, and experience are two distinct realities.
Patients will often decide if they’re being heard during the first interaction they have with you and your team.
- Are you listening to their fear, pain, and goals?
- Are “talking-over” them when discussing their treatment relative to finances or timing?
Make communication a top priority for patient acquisition (and patient retention).
- Use engaging language on phone calls, in face-to-face interactions, and online.
- Honor their personal responses to appointment scheduling, treatment presentations, and financial conversations.
- Give them opportunity for feedback via reviews and referrals (more on that in a moment…)
Manage Your First Impression
The first encounter a prospective patient has with your dental practice will likely determine their next steps. And these days that encounter will be online a majority of the time.
First impressions are typically formed through your website and/or an online search. This reality drives how to get more patients in your dental practice through digital strategies.
Start with your website. Think of it as a 24/7 salesforce investment.
- Is it current? Make sure your images, staff information, open hours, services, contact information, etc. are up to date.
- Does it look appealing? Relevance includes design and ease of use (navigation).
- Is it responsive? Screen layout and mobile capability are key responsiveness factors.
- Are you being found online? This is a question of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and your capability of being located through organic (fresh, original) content and local keywords.
Routinely train “friendliness” into your team across every department. From the front desk to your clinical team to those responsible for insurance and financials – keep the impression friendly and engaging.
- Emphasize “etiquette” (greeting, etc.).
- Exemplify kindness and courtesy.
Seek Feedback and Strategize Around It
It makes sense that you might not truly know how you’re doing as a dental practice unless you ask. It’s been said that, “feedback is the breakfast of champions…”
That means every patient interaction is ripe for review. You’re perhaps aware that many patients are quick to provide positive or negative feedback.
It’s better for your practice that you welcome their feedback – however it’s served. People (your patients included) like to know their voice and opinion matters.
- Create a feedback loop that’s easily accessible. Use an online form or a timely follow-up text, email, or phone call post appointment.
- Ask them specific questions relative to their experience with their treatment, your team, and your practice overall.
- Give them an opportunity to share insights about how you could improve. This helps them get on the solution-side of their experience (rather than the problem-side of it).
And when you receive feedback/reviews (positive or negative):
Create a processing loop. Have a default response throughout your practice that consistently listens to any and all feedback and patient reviews.
- Share patient responses with specific team members (when applicable) and your entire team as a training opportunity.
- Mine your online reviews for improvement “nuggets.” Use all feedback (positive or negative) to make changes where necessary.
Use Social Media the Right Way
It makes sense to have a presence on social media these days. But being on social media and using your chosen channels effectively requires being intentional.
Lack of activity can be almost as detrimental as too much of the wrong kind of activity on social media. For example, sharing content but not engaging those who read or comment is equally as ineffective as randomly sharing content without any strategic goals.
- Post content according to what creates the most engagement. Research daily frequencies (two times per day is a common sweet spot) and the optimum time-of-day to post your content.
- Curate and share content that will be of interest to the dental-seeking public and your patients.
- Balance curated (of-interest) content with personal (in-house) content (e.g. team, services, promotions, etc).
- Respect privacy and HIPAA compliance on all posts that reference a patient or treatment. And avoid distasteful images or overly technical or clinical themed content (does anyone really want to see that?).
OPEN THE DOOR TO NEW STRATEGIES ON HOW TO GET MORE PATIENTS IN YOUR DENTAL OFFICE
Your environment sets the tone for how effectively you attract (and keep) patients. Set your environment up for success from the very first impression.
Invest in Your Patients
Valuing your patients and their families sets them up for a lifetime of positive health outcomes. And the environment you create can help you achieve a better patient experience.
- Reduce patient anxiety and enhance their relaxation
- Prime patients and families for their appointments
- Create positive dental care experiences
Invest in Your Business
Maintain your edge in the crowded dental service space. Attention to details in your niche can transform your environment and overall patient satisfaction…whatever your dental niche.
- Create “buzz” in the community you serve
- Accelerate patient referrals
- Generate positive online reviews
Check out these related resources for how to attract and keep more dental patients:
Contact Imagination Design Studios (IDS) to get started transforming your office from a mundane to magical patient experience.
Want more tips for marketing your office? Download the free guide to learn more tips to help you get more patients in your dental office.