How to get new patients and keep existing ones?
A period of pandemics in almost every corner of the world has taken a toll on not only the patient's oral healthóIn, but also on the condition of the officeóin dentistry, które were subjected to a number of restrictions and could not operate as before. Some advice on how to improve this situation is given by the Americanński website Dentistry iQ.
Few things are more important to the stable operation of a practice than maintaining cash flow. Dentistry iQ portal suggests how to attract new patients while keeping existing ones. He suggests trying some of the following tips and seeing if they work for your practice.
Acquiring new patients is at the top of the priority list in almost every practice. Equally important is the retention of those already treated there. The secret to success in this area is …hard work. Here are some tips to help you achieve these goals.
Practice website – a good impression is only made once
These days, the most likely first meeting between a new patient and the office is not at the chair, but online. Hence the great, though still not always appreciated, importance of the website. Is your practice's website up-to-date, clear, easy to navigate? A website that has not been updated for years or is characterized by archaic layout, may suggest that your entire practice is just as badly presented.
Therefore, it is recommended to refresh the website (new images and updated content) at least once a year. It is worth thinking about content pages was not just a collection of dry, professional information, but by its form gave the chance to establish – already at this stage – a certain bond with a potential new patient. The clinic's website should also confirm that we care about patient comfort, well-being and the highest quality of treatment.
It is suggested not to publish photos of dental instruments and empty treatment rooms, staged illustrations from photo banks will not necessarily be helpful either. Patients are better impressed by actual photographs of the practice, and the presentation of the practice team is also important.
Talk to the front desk – guaranteed success or guaranteed failure
A phone call from a new patient to your office means an initial decision to take treatment there. Whether it actually happens depends hugely on the way the receptionist conducts the conversation – a receptionist who is friendly, factual and provides expert information (without, however, entering the doctor's competence) is an excellent showcase for the clinic.
However, if responses are perfunctory, clumsy, chaotic, and lack empathy and encouragement for treatment, the chances of a patient showing up at the practice diminish dramatically. In this regard, it is important to train your front desk staff, and at the same time select them properly – people with an open, friendly attitude will find their way into such a position most easily.
Learn the basics of digital marketing
You undoubtedly want your practice to appear in Google search results in a good position, but you don't have the knowledge on how to do it. Using professional help and/or resources available on the Internet, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with both recommendations and warnings about online marketing mistakes. This way, more potential patients will have the opportunity to get acquainted with your practice's offerings, and more will eventually receive treatment at your practice.
Consciously create your practice's social media presence
It is difficult to imagine the success of any business without its active, regular presence on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.). Undoubtedly, it is a powerful tool in the development also of such a business as a dental practice. In doing so, it is worthwhile to develop a certain strategy – the content you publish should strengthen the relationship with existing patients, while at the same time encouraging new patients to take treatment right at your office. It is not always necessary to hire a special employee for this purpose – such a role can be performed by a properly instructed person, proficient in social media, e.g. assistant or receptionist.
Take care of appointmentsówkaka of the practice in Google Moja Firma
Google My Business is another opportunity to make your practice known on the Internet. With this free platform, you can post online m.In. contact details of the practice, website address, description, photos, etc. Importantly, Google Moja Firma also provides an opportunity for search engine users to make your practice stand out: a well-reviewed practice (average rating close to the maximum 5 stars) draws the attention of other potential patients.
The COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet
As long as the pandemic is ongoing, it is a good idea to keep information on COVID-19 infection control protocols up to date. Now that vaccination is being carried out on a massive scale and a gradual return to normalcy in various spheres of society is taking place, more and more patients will be looking for a dentist – perhaps a different one than before. Clear information that your facility adheres to the rules of infection control may be the primary criterion for some patients to choose your office.
Don't underestimate patients' concerns
Not unrelated to the previous point is the fact that many patients may feel a very high level of fear of visiting the dentist after the pandemic. Moreover, due to months of avoiding the dentist, these people may require treatment, the prospect of which further fills them with anxiety. It takes empathy and understanding of the patient's concerns from the dentist and the entire team. No less important is the use of premedication and strictly Medical treatments to lower drug levels and minimize pain.
The attending physician and the patient caregiver – these are new positions that are increasingly appearing in dental practices in Poland. What do the people in these positions do? Who they are? Mariusz Oboda, dental practice development coach, responds in an interview with Dentonet.