Posts Tagged ‘helpful tips’

5 Tips for Creating the Experience Parents Really Want (But Won’t Tell You!)

June 10th, 2019

What is it that parents really want when they bring their kids in for treatment? Aside from positive clinical outcomes – which we can assume is the number one priority for both you and them – there is something that every parent secretly hopes they get while bringing their family to your office…

A mini vacation.

Now hear us out. They won’t tell you this, but every parent is thinking the same thing when they enter your office. It goes something like this: “Please let this be easy because I really hope I can relax for a few minutes while my kids are occupied and I have no other demands on my attention.”

It’s akin to being on an airplane – for a block of time you can disconnect and sneak in some ‘me time’ while the demands of everyday life can wait. It’s not the primary purpose of being there, but it sure is an enjoyable perk when it happens.

Understanding this secret wish of parents offers a great opportunity for any healthcare provider who works with young families. It’s an opportunity to deliver a beyond-expectation experience that gets parents talking and helps fuel referral rates. Relaxed parents, cooperative patients, happy staff, growing practice – everyone wins.

 

Here are 5 simple ways to make sure parents feel welcome in your practice:

1. Make their kids feel welcome immediately by engaging with them as soon as they enter your office. Welcome them by name whenever possible and make them feel like the star of the show. This helps reduce appointment anxiety in your younger patients and allows them to feel more comfortable being separated from mom or dad. Also, it’s a great primer for a smooth treatment because appointments are easier for your staff when patients feel at ease.

welcome patients to your office by name

2. Create a special space that is inviting for kids – one that is clearly just for them where they can have fun, be fully engaged in a healthy distraction and not worry about interrupting the adults. This creates the opportunity for mom and dad to relax, instead of adding the pressure of having to entertain a child while in a space that doesn’t feel kid friendly.

3. Think about the experience parents have with the assumption that they will arrive with two kids – the one who has a scheduled appointment and a sibling. Construct your experience around the child that will be spending time in your waiting room beyond simply waiting to be called back. Make sure your space goes the distance to keep them happy and engaged for 30-45 minutes.

4. Encourage parents to fully embrace the small window of relaxation time by offering something indulgent to snack on. Strive for a step above the usual – perhaps gourmet coffee, premium chocolates, fresh fruit some or some other delectable snack that makes their time in your space special. Indulging in an unexpected treat is a great way to initiate the mental shift out of the usual daily grind. You could even take this to the next level with a massage chair or other spa-like touches for mom or dad.

massage chair in waiting room to occupy parents

5. For some, a relaxing time may mean using their mobile device. And that’s ok – embrace it by having common phone charges available and reliable Wi-Fi. (Wi-Fi is especially important for our fellow Canadians, where cellular data is often limited and rationed closely, making Wi-Fi a must.)

 

It’s a simple formula, really. First, make a special space and a welcoming experience for junior patients. This takes the tension out of what can otherwise be a high-stress situation for both the kids and parents alike. That then opens the door for you to easily deliver a beyond-expectation experience for mom and dad – one that is a pleasant surprise, but exactly what every parent has secretly been hoping for all along.

 

How to Theme Your Office – Even on a Budget.

March 4th, 2019

Theming an entire office can be a daunting prospect financially, especially if you’re a new grad or if you’ve just opened your first business. But trust us when we say we have something for everyone – and something for all budgets. All of our themed elements are custom built so prices vary depending on design, scope, and complexity. We have created themed spaces from $5,000 to over $800,000. Each design, big or small, serves the same purpose: relaxing your patients and increasing new patient referrals.

 
FINANCING

Not all of our clients just have $100,000 burning a hole in their pocket. The majority finance their theming through local funders. IDS products can be included in your building cost, which makes talking to your bank easy. Bank of America has been a fan of IDS for years and specializes in loans for dentists.

Adding theming into your marketing budget can work as well. After all, theming has proven to be more helpful at gaining new patients than traditional advertising such as newspaper ads, TV commercials, and radio spots.

 
EXPRESS MURALS

If you’re only going to do one thing to transform your space add murals! Those on a budget can check out our pre-designed Express Murals for a more affordable mural option. Murals are a great place to start your theming, and Express Murals make that even easier to do. We are continuing to add to our line of pre-designed murals. Our newest addition is a line of stylish contemporary murals – perfect for offices that see a variety of patients, both young and old.

Dr. Joe Nguyen became a customer of ours many years ago by starting out with a couple of our pre-designed products. He has since expanded into 2 new offices with fully immersive floor to ceiling themes.

“I wanted to start small with my first office so I put a few pieces in certain areas [a mural and 2 brushing mirrors]. For my second office, I went all out with a completely WOW kid’s play area and put murals and some custom 3D in lots of the treatment rooms. Next, I will be expanding the theming in my first office and I plan on doing another fully themed IDS office that will be super cool. I can’t wait. I love IDS. It is so much fun to work with them and I would love to do this all the time!”

– Dr. Joe Nguyen

 

MULTI-STAGE THEMING

You can also consider multi-stage theming – get your favorite pieces now and do a second install later as your budget allows. We have seen a number of clients use this option successfully and theme in stages according to their budget and circumstances. Start in the reception area and add to the treatment area later, or add a gaming tablet before adding a whole play area. Do what works best for you.

If you’re a new grad who wants theming but is just starting out then we recommend theming in stages as well. You can start small with murals, a brushing mirror, and even a photo op to help promote your business. We’ll be ready to add more when you are! We can even draw sketches for your office with a final stage in mind so you know that your early theming will fit your expansion as you continue to theme.

An important aspect to remember about IDS theming is that our murals and 3D sculptures are built to last. Old pieces will stand the test of time and look great next to new additions, allowing you to have a cohesive look as you expand.

Our steel reinforced props are hard coated with the toughest and most durable protective coating in the industry. It flexes with the weight of active kids and stands up to their abuse. Our 3M murals are made of the same material used on graphic vehicle wraps. If it can handle rocks on the highway it can handle kids!

Here are some testimonials from 2 of our clients who did multi-stage theming. Dr. Morgan, who started small on his first office out of school, and Dr. Lateiner, who expanded his office space and his theming along with it.

 

 

“As a relatively new residency graduate, I decided to theme my office in two stages. I had just purchased a long-standing, successful pediatric dental office but was still budget-conscious. Dave and his team at IDS made the entire process from start to finish incredibly easy. He guided me towards what would be most cost-effective but would also give the most dramatic first impression for my patients seeing the office for the first time. Therefore, my new patients were able to experience an exciting office from day one.

My first phase consisted of my reception desk and murals. The murals allowed for maximal coverage while not over-extending my initial budget. Less than one year later we started sketches for my second phase which consisted of a custom tablet game tower, murals, faux windows, Chew on This as well as some custom 3D wall art.

I would recommend IDS and multi-staging their office theming project to any budget-conscious dentist and am very happy with my results. IDS will most definitely theme my second office!”


– Dr. Bryan Morgan

 

 

“I wasn’t planning on opening my second stage for a few more years but things were going so well that when space opened up next door, we jumped on it. We’re not only thrilled with the return we’ve received, but we’ve already booked future projects with IDS. All of our expectations have been exceeded and we can attribute a large amount of our success to our IDS design. Working with IDS has been an amazing experience – the best part of building both of my practices!”


– Dr. Michael Lateiner

 

At Imagination Design Studios, there really is something for everyone, and we happily work within your budget!

 

Marketing Tips – How to Get Online Reviews (and Respond to Negative Ones)

October 15th, 2018

Reviews matter for small business, especially if you cater to the public. Online reviews bring the benefit of social proof, something we have talked about before. Social proof is the influence that the actions and attitudes of other people have on your own behavior and decisions. 91 percent of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews. 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as the recommendation of a friend.

So we all know reviews are important, but how do you get them? Here are a few tips and tricks you can use to get ahead of the competition.
 

Claim Your Online Profiles

If you want to have control over your reviews, be sure to claim your online profiles. This means either setting up a profile or claiming the default listing created by review sites. Make sure you have a presence on Google, Facebook, Yelp, and any industry-specific sites where your business can get reviewed.

If you must begin small, begin with taking control of your Google Business Page. Google reviews are the most important type of review for a dentist. Unless being referred, the first place a parent is going to go to find a pediatric dentist or doctor is Google to search for dentists in their neighborhood. If there are a number of options in an area, they will begin looking at reviews. For a small business competing against similar establishments in the same area, Google reviews can often be an important tiebreaker.
 

Make it Easy for Your Customers to Review You

Add links to your review pages on your website. Include links with your email correspondence and any e-newsletters. Make it easy by making it accessible.
 

Offer Incentives

Now that you are ready to receive and respond to reviews, how do you get them? Begin by offering incentives. This is helpful especially when you are a new business and do not have a lot of reviews. Offer a $5 gift card to a local coffee shop if they leave a review. Or create a contest where every good review is an entry into a prize draw – make sure you announce the winner on a social media to create excitement.

 
Ask the Right People

When looking for reviews, ask the right people. If you have a referral program set up and are able to track referrers you have a great resource at your disposal. If someone refers someone to your office they are obviously happy with your services. Send them a thank you for the referral, a referral gift, and of course, a link to leave a review.

Once you encourage your customers to leave reviews, make sure their efforts are rewarded with a reply from your business. Reply to every good review with a thank you. And be ready to reply to every negative review as well.

 
Earn Your Reviews

If you want good reviews, then you’ll have to earn them. Have great services, a friendly staff, and an amazing themed office that makes their kids calm and happy! Our clients often have excellent reviews talking about the fun environment created by adding games and themed decor.

“The kids loved playing on the iPads on the wall and in the hot air balloon while we waited. Great experience!”
 
“We also love the play area-lots of things to do while the kids are waiting.”
 
“Super clean and decorated beautifully – it made the kids more excited to be there. Would recommend without hesitation.”
 
“Had a TON of eye candy for the kids (awesome decor and video game screens all over the place!)”

If your clients genuinely like your business, you’ll get the reviews you want.
 

What Happens When You Get a Bad Review?

The majority of review sites will not allow you to delete a bad review, so be prepared to deal with them and use them to your benefit. Handling a bad review in a professional manner can actually be just as helpful as a good review as it can show how you handle negative situations.

Also, consumers trust a 4.5 star review more than 5 stars as they feel an imperfect score to be more truthful and reflective of the business. 5 stars are just too good to be true.

But back to how to handle those reviews. Here’s a quick rundown of points you should remember when you get a bad review:

1. You want to respond as quickly as possible so that others people are not able to read this angry review without your side of the story. But be cautious. Don’t respond in the heat of the moment or you may say something you don’t want out in the public.

2. Do your homework. Make sure you know your employees side of the situation before you craft a response.

3. Take responsibility for your part in the problem and offer a sincere apology. Even if the review is unjustified, be empathetic to the reviewer’s complaint. Let them know you understand their frustration and will help them with their issue. This shows others that you care about your customers’ opinions and feelings and will hopefully calm the anger of this particular reviewer.

4. Thank the reviewer for taking the time to bring this issue to your attention. Let them know you pride yourself on excellent customer service and appreciate the opportunity to make things right.

5. Don’t go into too much detail in your reply. Offer to take the conversation offline. You don’t want to start a debate with an irate customer on your wall of reviews, so offer to have to call or email to further discuss the issue.

If you’re dealing with an online troll, just walk away. That’s a fight you’ll never win. Anyone reading the review of a troll will know when someone is just being a bully compared to leaving a legitimate review.

 

With these tips and tricks, you have the know-how to get you on the right path to gain more reviews.

 

Engage, Entertain, and Educate – The Three E’s of Creating Office Decor for Kids

August 1st, 2018

IDS has gained notoriety as being the go-to company for creating office spaces designed with children in mind. When we design for kids we of course engineer the toughest product available, but we also look at the psychological side of how our creations will help children prepare for an appointment.

For this we follow the Three E’s: Engage, Entertain, and Educate!
 

Engage

Passively sitting and waiting for an appointment allows children’s anxiety to grow and fester. IDS wants to engage kids’ minds and bodies in activities in order to distract and calm them, creating good memories associated with their visit to the dentist. You won’t see faces like this at an IDS themed office:

Young patients aren’t just at an office for treatment; they are there to learn. Proving children an opportunity to engage in their education encourages a deeper understanding of their oral health, setting them up for a future of healthy teeth!

The end goal we hope to achieve by transforming an office is to promote a better appointment to allow for smoother, faster treatments and to encourage care to be continued at home.
 

Entertain

Time flies when you’re having fun! This phrase exists for a reason. The busier someone is during a time interval, the faster that time interval will feel like it has passed. There is a lot less time for a child to get anxious, bored, or build up tension about an upcoming procedure if they are lost in play.

From the study Influence of Positive Distractions on Children in Two Clinic Waiting Areas:

“Data analysis shows that the introduction of distraction conditions was associated with more calm behavior and less fine and gross movement, suggesting significant calming effects associated with the distraction conditions. Data also suggest that positive distraction conditions are significant attention grabbers and could be an important contributor to improving the waiting experience for children in hospitals by improving environmental attractiveness.”

IDS gaming tablets, slides, theaters, and play forts provide a number of outlets for kids to burn energy and reduce stress. Whether they are crawling around a play area, laughing at a funny kids movie playing in the theater, or using their mind to solve puzzles on an iPad, kids are having fun!

children palying on gaming tablets in reception area

The proof is in the reviews from parents. Taken from actual online reviews of our clients:

“Makes coming to the dentist fun and something to look forward to!”

“My son left the dentist with a huge smile, asking to come back again!!”

“If you’re a kid and you need to go to the dentist, this is the place to go! The atmosphere is fun, friendly, and eases the anxiety of seeing a dentist!”

If our theming isn’t fun for kids, then we’re not doing our jobs!
 

Educate

Last, but not least, we want to encourage the education of your patients when they visit your office. While making sure kids are having fun is our main goal, we want to ensure that we have an impact on the health of children as well.

Chair-side education is the current model for delivering information to patients. But is this the best way for them to absorb information? Studies show that using passive learning vs active learning creates a stark contrast in the retention of a lesson.

Many studies have found that, while individuals have various learning styles, on average people remember 90% of what they do compared to 20% of what they hear. When you were a student, did you learn more in a lecture hall or when you were actively working on a patient’s mouth? Kids are the same. Passive learning disempowers the student and takes the fun out of learning.

It is important that education is fun at a young age. Research has shown that if students do not consider a learning activity worthy of their time and effort, they might not engage or may even disengage all together in response (Fredricks, Blumenfeld, & Paris, 2004).

Waiting rooms are a place where children can experience hands-on learning and experiment with large replica teeth and other educational installations while still feeling as if they are just playing.

A large tooth with a cavity that emits a foul stink when you press a button gives a vivid demonstration of what actually happens to a rotten mouth. That’s memorable!

Our new augmented reality app created by VIVARRA is a great teaching tool. From jokes and fun interactive games to educational experiences that touch on healthy habits and good hygiene, we try to cover all the basics. The app also includes two-minute brushing timers that patients and their parents can use at home to help ensure they spend enough time focused on each area of the mouth. That’s a great feature!

IDS is dedicated to helping your patients have the best possible experience when they visit your office. Every office we create is ready to Engage, Entertain, and Educate!

 

Marketing Tips – 5 Easy Ways to Use an Award to Market Your Dental Office

March 31st, 2018

Awards are an honor to receive, as well as a great way to boost the reputation of your business. Let’s look at how an award can help your business.

Awards are a form of “social proof”. Social proof is the influence that the actions and attitudes of other people have on your own behavior and decisions. By showing that your business is recognized for its quality, you will help ease the minds of potential customers. Other examples of social proof are testimonials, ratings, and celebrity endorsements.

The easiest way to find awards to apply for is to search online for industry-specific awards available in your city, state, or country. Small business awards often contain multiple categories in which you can nominate yourself. Magazines, newspapers, and websites love to run “Best of…” contests and issues. You can even check out mom blogs and parent groups for more award opportunities. Be sure to use your unique IDS themed office to get more attention when you apply for awards. Once you start winning you can promote yourself as an “award-winning dental office”. Here are some simple ways you can use an award to market your business.

 

1. Get it in the news.

Send a press release to your local paper to announce your accomplishment. Local news crews are always looking for fun feel-good stories and will likely be interested in your story, especially if you have a visually interesting IDS themed office. This will get your name out there in an organic way that’s less intrusive than traditional advertising. You can also post these news stories to your own social media, so it’s a win-win.

 

2. Announce it!

Announce your award on social media or add it to the cover image. Social media is a great place to get excited about an award. Post a photo of you and your staff cheering to make it more personal.

 

3. Put it on your website.

Add the words “Award-Winning” to your company bio or list the award with your patient testimonials.

 

4. Display your awards.

A printed banner, plaque, or even a sticker on your front door allows old and new customers to see your awards.

 

5. Add it to your marketing materials.

If it’s a big win, go one step further and add it to your printed collateral that goes out to clients and colleagues: at the bottom of your letterhead, in the corner of your reminder postcards, or under your logo as a tagline.

 

These are only a few ideas to get you thinking. Getting positive press for your unique office is easy once you get started. Good luck with your awards!

 


IDS is proud to accept the Alberta Business Awards – Marketing Award of Distinction.

The Alberta Business Awards of Distinction recognize businesses and organizations that have demonstrated outstanding achievement and contribution to their community while having developed business acumen & management practices to ensure long-term sustainability. To date, over 250 companies have been named Alberta Business Award of Distinction recipients. We are proud to count ourselves among that number.

Marketing Team Heads Victoria Mitchell and Micaela Blondin