Trends to Watch in 2022 – Creating Convenience for Your Clients
It’s a new year, so there’s new business and marketing trends for you to check out to keep up-to-date with your competitors.
The last 2 years have really driven home the need (and desire) for convenience. The at-home, on-demand world of Skip the Dishes, Amazon, and Netflix has changed the way consumers view obtaining products and services. Dental patients are a type of consumer, and with multiple options for patients to choose from when it comes to their healthcare and dental providers, prioritizing convenience for patients will help you stand out.
But how do you align yourself with the convenience of streaming and online delivery services?
To start off you need to recognize that consumers go online to find the care they desire. They also expect to be able to access services 24/7 in addition to being able to communicate directly with their dentist or doctor.
You’re probably thinking that creating more convenience for patients is going to be inconvenient to you, but it doesn’t have to be, not with the right tools.
Here are Our Recommendations for Creating Convenience for Your Clients to Help You Stand Out in 2022
Add a Chatbot to Your Website
Chatbots are a convenient way of opening dialogue with a patient via your website. You’ve seen those little boxes pop up in the corner of the website, asking if you need help with anything. Sometimes they are monitored by staff, but more often that not, they are simply bots. These chatbots can be automated to provide answers to common questions, helped along with some basic AI, with an additional prompt that directs users to leave their contact info if the conversation does require a human touch.
This technology can help your practice grow by generating more appointments (by prompting patients to book online – see below for more) and increasing patient satisfaction (by answering questions immediately, at all times of the day). Yes, chatbots are available 24/7, which is the convenience patients are looking for. The chatbot market for healthcare is expected to triple by 2025 in the US alone. That’s a trend worth paying attention to.
In addition, by using a chatbot you are able to captured useful data and contact information you can use to better target your patients and potential clients with marketing campaigns. If everyone is asking about teeth whitening, it’s time to a promotion to drive up interest.
There are plenty of chatbot programs on the market, including some that have been created specifically with dental and medical businesses in mind.
Here’s a roundup of the best reviewed chatbots we found on the web:
Dental Attendant is a virtual staff member who lives on your dental office website. He works in the bottom corner of your homepage to help visitors get the information they need to become patients at your dental practice.
ChatBots are an innovative way to automate frequent processes. They can provide critical information to your patients, such as procedures, prices and treatment. They can also book and confirm appointments in your name.
It can make the difference between a patient scheduling with your office or with your competitor.
There are many options out there with lots of different features that will suit your business needs, so shop around and see what works best for you.
Offer Online Payment Options
From banks to utility providers to car insurance, businesses are going paperless, both for convenience and for the environment. According to the Trends in Healthcare Payments annual report, 79 percent of patients prefer to pay online. Patients expect the latest technology in the treatment room. To boost confidence in your business, you should have the latest technology in your front office as well. Allowing patients to pay online or from their mobile devices is the next natural step in modernizing the way you do business.
Online payment allows for:
- Receiving instant payments, keeping your books balanced
- More options for payments, from credit cards to PayPal to Apple Pay
- Sending payment reminders without harassing phone calls
- Simplifying reporting and reconciliation, making accounting easier
- Reducing labor when it comes to filing, printing, and organizing paper billing
- And yes, it is good for the environment, which may be an added bonus to potential patients
All are great ways to add more convenience to your patient’s experience with your front office, as well as great benefits for you and your team.
Including a more convenient way to interact with your business that your competition does not, such as “Now accepting online payments!” is a great tidbit of information to improve any advertising you do.
Include an Online Portal to Schedule Appointments
Consider adding an online portal that allows patients to schedule appointments using a digital calendar.
The aforementioned streaming and delivery services are all accessible online, so consumers now expect to be able to go online to acquire all of their needed services. Allowing people to book online is a great option for busy parents trying to wrangle kids or a 9 to 5 worker who just can’t squeeze enough time into their lunch break to make a call. You can help draw in those patients who may have just continually put off an appointment indefinitely out of inconvenience (I know I’m guilty of that). It also makes a great tagline to say booking an appointment with your office is as easy as ordering in dinner.
Including options to download and fill out required paperwork during booking is a big bonus as well to many online booking systems. The ability for clients to fill out paperwork at their leisure before an appointment will also save your staff time during the check-in process.
There are dozens of online booking apps available, with many aimed at dentists and healthcare.
We found a list of the most popular online portal apps according to Google:
Picktime is a free web based appointment scheduling software for dentists and healthcare businesses in which clinics can book their patient’s appointments and also let their patients book their own appointments online. Picktime offers a comprehensive suite of appointment services for practices of all sizes.
Design a professional and customized look for your booking website. You can even choose the most convenient way for your clients to see your booking availability such as by class, time or staff.
Appointment-setting shouldn’t feel like pulling teeth. List your availability online and allow patients to book when it’s convenient for them.
Thanks to growing popularity, there are many options available for online booking. So do you research and find one that works best for you.
Use a Unique Environment to Draw Patients In
While you can add many online conveniences for your patients, at some point they will have to come to you in person.
Patients, as consumers, want to feel special. Like the fitting room experience in a luxury clothing store or the sales experience in a high end car dealership, a great patient experience is friendly staff + a welcoming space with amenities + a stress-free transaction.
IDS designers are experts on creating the welcoming space part of the equation, especially when it comes to businesses aimed at children and families. Games, theaters, and play areas create fun activities that turn required tasks like going to the dentist or doctor for a checkup into an enjoyable experience. Patients won’t mind coming in if they know they’re going to have a good time.
Themed decor for kids is not just for pediatric spaces. A special room or a corner devoted to kids in a general clinic shows parents that you care about their needs. Plus a separate play area for children will keep them occupied and entertained while parents relax in a space designed around their needs, with wifi, hot drinks, and comfy seating.
To wrap up, remember that this year is about creating convenience in every aspect of you business to help boost your edge on patient acquisition and patient experience. What other ways are you improving your business in 2022 that will help you stand out from the competition?
Speaking of convenience, make sure it’s easy for your potential clients to find you on Google.
Don’t forget about keeping your website up-to-date and easy to browse.