As you build your practice, establishing good communication with both existing and potential patients will be essential. Creating a reputation of being responsive, easy to contact, and friendly will help build your brand and create patient loyalty. Here are some best practices to ensure clients feel supported:
Provide Multiple Avenues for Patients to Contact You
Small businesses used to thrive by simply having an office manager on-hand to answer the phone, but times have changed. People want to be able to text—or even Facebook message—everyone in their contacts. Help your business grow by being available on all channels!
The modern person is too busy for phone calls, so texting has become the default form of communication. To keep up with the times, dental offices need to invest in alternative ways of sending appointment reminders, like PracriceMojo’s texting service. This allows you to automate appointment reminders, saving your employees time while increasing client satisfaction. You can even use their family messaging service to confirm multiple same-day appointments for everyone in the family, helping busy parents to organize their day.
Establishing a quarterly newsletter with articles and best practices is another way to improve communication with your current clients. As you hear about the latest research, create an article for your website’s blog. You can then share the best posts of the quarter to help keep your patients well-informed. This has an added benefit of driving traffic to your website, improving your SEO!
When sending emails, you want to keep an eye on your open rate. If you’re seeing open rates of more than 15%, you know that clients find your content valuable and are excited to learn more. If your open rate drops below this, take an honest look at your content. If your content seems valuable, your next step will be to evaluate your mailing list itself. Are there any patients on there who have moved away? Anyone who has stopped coming to your business? Cutting irrelevant contacts from your list will help you reach the right people.
- Social Media
As your business grows, new patients will research your business on social media. Ensure that your profiles are up-to-date, and that you’re posting regularly. Optimally, you want to post at least five times a week and be checking your comments and messages daily. This can be a lot to handle for a growing practice, so you may want to explore hiring a marketing company to help out.
- Direct Mail
Compared to social media and texting, direct mail may seem too “old school,” but it’s a perfect way to target prospects in your neighborhood. Since people won’t drive too far to go to the dentist, you’ll want to target zipcodes within fifteen miles of your office. It’s also helpful to mention that you’re an integral part of their community. Did you grow up in the area? Do your kids go to school right down the street? Do you volunteer with any local organizations? This can be an easy way to strike a connection with a brand new prospect.
Experiment with Promotions and Limited-Time Offers
As you market on all the avenues above, you’ll want a “hook” to bring in new clients. Promotional offers can get people in the door and allow you to make a good first impression. Send out a deal for the latest teeth whitening service or a discount on their next cleaning. The most important factor for the success of any promotion is to give clients time to redeem it, so be sure to start your marketing at least three months out. Announce your offer on all the channels above and wait for the appointments to book up!
It’s All About Reviews
Small businesses used to thrive by word of mouth, but that power has largely moved to online reviews. Getting great reviews from your patients provides what marketers call “social proof” and builds trust before the first appointment even starts. Here are some best practices to help take your dental office reviews to the next level.
- Request Reviews from Loyal Patients
If you have patients who have been regulars for years, ask them to leave a review after their next appointment. Mention that you’re grateful for their loyalty and would love if they could leave a 5-star review on either Yelp or Google My Business.
- Monitor Reviews
Responding to reviews quickly helps cement your professional image, so ask your team to check twice a week for new reviews. If they’re positive, respond with a comment like “Thank you so much for your review, [reviewers name]! We really appreciate it.” However, when you receive a negative review, it’s worth taking a more careful approach like those listed below.
- Address Issues Quickly
An unexpected bad review can be a major source of stress for your team, but handling it quickly and professionally will make your business shine! Keep your responses simple and don’t give into the temptation to be sassy or frustrated.
Here’s an example of a well-crafted response: “Hi, [reviewers name]. We’re so sorry to hear about your experience…can you please give us a call so we can determine what happened?” Then take the conversation offline so you can address the problem in a private manner.
It’s also possible that, due to a mix-up or mistaken identity, you’ll get bad reviews meant for another practice. Here’s a sample response for this situation: “Hi, [reviewers name]! We’re so sorry to hear about your experience. We can’t find a record of your appointment in our systems…can you please reach out to us so we can see what happened?”
By addressing bad reviews quickly and professionally, you’ll help restore public confidence.
- Invest in a Dental Reviews Manager
As your business grows, you’ll want to increase the visibility of your reviews by adding them directly to your website. Not to mention, you’ll be receiving more reviews than ever before! PracticeMojo can help streamline reviews management for your team through its Dental Reviews Pro service. This gives your team full control over which reviews are posted on your dental website so you can highlight the best of the best!
Listen to Patient-Facing Staff
Ultimately, your Office Manager, Hygienists, and other patient-facing staff are your best resource for improving client communication. Have a meeting to address what’s working and what isn’t. Have they had any client complaints? Or did a promotion you ran last year garner a lot of attention? Listening closely to patients’ comments will help your team continue to improve communication!
Patient communication is essential to creating a thriving practice, but it takes time and skill for your team to master. These tips will help you build strong client relationships from the get-go, then leverage those into excellent reviews!
If you’d like to save your team time and stress, PracticeMojo helps manage online reviews, automate communication, and build strong patient relationships. Contact our team at (800) 556-2580 to find out how your dental practice can benefit.