Communicate with new and current patients to bounce back from COVID-19 and get patients on your schedule.
With COVID-19, the landscape for businesses, practices, dentists and patients has changed—perhaps indefinitely. But an effective marketing plan can help you thrive in this new reality, attracting the new patients that you need to help your practice recover from the unexpected events of 2020. Fortunately, Henry Schein One Dentrix and integrated eServices can help by automating patient communication and engagement to simplify and strengthen your marketing efforts. As you better communicate with new and current patients, you can keep your schedule full.
Maintain Your Practice’s Health with New Patients
Dentists typically experience a 17 percent erosion of their active patient base each year as patients die, move, or find another dentist, so a healthy, growing practice will need to gain 20 to 25 new patients per month to make up for the attrition. It is possible to attract new patients; aside from those who are looking for a different dentist, the number of potential patients continues to increase year over year from population growth alone.
The key to recovering after interruptions from the coronavirus is connecting with these available patients. Your efforts must begin by building relationships with prospective patients before they even make an appointment. As your practice focuses on the three principles of patient relationship management (web and online marketing and reputation management), and as you leverage modern technology, you can more than just recover—you can prosper now and into the future.
Start With a Good Website
No matter how most prospective patients heard about you, almost all will visit your website before they call for an appointment. Will they like what they see?
Your website is arguably the single most important place where you can communicate a lot of information to current and prospective patients without ever having to pick up the phone. This is more important than ever as your policies have changed in the COVID-19 era. Patients want to know that you are taking precautions to help keep them safe. Your website needs to reassure prospective patients and answer questions they may have.
While your online presence is key to your marketing success, you don’t have to hire an expensive consultant to create and maintain a website. Dentrix Website integrates with Dentrix to make a seamless experience for DIY-ers, with simple fill-in templates that let nonprogrammers achieve professional results. Dentrix Website even lets you include an online appointment request button on your website to make it as easy as possible to get appointments on your schedule. This not only gives patients more convenient options but can save significant time for your staff.
Make the Best First Impression
The next step for attracting new patients is to come up with a strategy for generating positive online reviews. Patient reviews on Yelp, Google and other sites are crucial in today’s competitive dental market. Consumers have been trained to look for online reviews, and they put a high level of trust in them—and in fact, can trust them as much or more than referrals from friends.
Patients also perceive businesses with more reviews as more trusted, so part of this first impression is having many reviews. Also, patients tend not to trust reviews that are older than a few months, so it’s not enough to “set and forget;” you need to keep capturing them.
How do you get patients to leave reviews? It can be difficult, complicated, and time consuming without using a service that automates much of the work. Dentrix Patient Engage simplifies managing your reputation. It automatically sends review requests to patients by text message or email and posts those reviews proportionately to various search and social media platforms that you specify. (As reviews come in, you should also post a few of the best ones on that website you just created!)
Remember: If someone does an internet search for “best dentist,” only dentists with a high star rating will appear. If patients look for local dentists and you don’t have any reviews, they will likely keep looking. That’s how important reviews are in attracting new patients.
Communicate Before Patients Walk Through the Door
Once a new patient has made an appointment, you’ll improve your chances of keeping them with a clear, consistent communication cadence. As you contact new patients ahead of visits, you can again use your patient communication software to set correct expectations, which you can then meet or exceed.
When a new patient makes an appointment, quickly shoot them a templatized email from the central communication hub in Patient Engage that explains what it’s like to be a patient in your practice. Do they need to know any restrictions, such as waiting in their car until you text them to come in? Prep expectations to put patients at ease. You can also send a link to forms to fill out online ahead of time — helping speed up check-in as well as comply with possible physical distancing restrictions in your office.
When patients leave after that first visit, thank them, and tell them about your referral program. And especially, educate them on what you offer, because this could convince them to return for additional services.
Let Technology Work for You
Corporate marketing teams and national DSOs know your weaknesses and are leveraging them against you. But you can compete at their level by using the comprehensive eServices that integrate with your Dentrix software. These will help you execute your marketing game plan while saving time for your busy team by automating routine patient communication chores like these:
- Eliminate stamping and mailing appointment reminders
- Automatically send appointment reminders, birthday greetings, and more
- Manage your online reputation by providing satisfied patients with a survey link and then directing percentages of reviews to different sites
- Use your website to inform, educate and build relationships with current and future patients
- Reduce phone calls for confirming appointments through automated notifications
- Give new patients an easy way to request appointments via your website
- Provide patients a way to refer you online: Happy patients are one of your best ways to advertise
Even in these uncertain times, you can minimize COVID-19 interruptions and threats from competitors as you make a plan to attract the new patients who are out there right now looking for providers. Dentrix Website and Patient Engage give you the technologies and tools that can help you be more profitable and compete at the level of the big players. Learn more about the web and online marketing and reputation management tools that can take your practice to the next level at Dentrix.com/products/eservices or by talking to a product specialist at 833.471.7253.
To learn more about Patient Engage, visit www.dentrix.com/products/eservice/patient-engage.
Watch the following feature overview videos to see Patient Engage in action:
- Patient Communication with Campaign Studio
- Appointment Reminders and Personalized Recall
- Online Patient Forms
By Andrea Gallimore, Product Marketing Manager for Dentrix Patient Engage
Andrea Gallimore has more than 19 years of experience with Henry Schein One Dentrix and the dental industry. She has held many positions, from office manager for a multi-doctor practice to a certified Dentrix trainer. Andrea currently works as a product marketing manager for Dentrix Patient Engage, presents webinars on various Dentrix and eServices products and delivers educational dental seminars across the country. With her extensive software knowledge and real-world office management expertise, Andrea helps practices maximize efficiency and profitability using Henry Schein One practice management software and eServices.