The Secret to Growing Your Dental Practice
Growing a dental practice can be hard work. Even if you received your training from a top-notch school and are confident in your own abilities, you often have much to learn about the business and marketing strategies that are crucial for creating and growing a practice. Everyone needs dental care, but there are no shortages of dental practices out there, so setting yourself above the rest is key to growing a successful practice. Besides providing excellent service for your patients here are some secrets to growing your dental practice.
Create an Online Presence
You may think that being active in online marketing is not necessary in the dental world, but these days people turn to the internet for everything. Make sure you have a website for your dental practice and include a page about your credentials, experience, and education. Explain your insurance polices and the types of coverage you work with and payment plans, and list your hours, services, and contact information. Encourage patients to review your practice on Yelp and medical review sites. Make it easy for patients to schedule appointments online, and include a pre-check in form when they sign up for an appointment to reduce the wait while they fill out their records. These sort of touches show that your practice is organized and updated, and will encourage your credibility.
Text and Email Reminders
Set up a text and email reminder system so that patients don’t miss their appointments and that they remember to schedule regular appointments that they might otherwise forget. Many dental practices mail such reminders, and not only is this a waste of printing and paper resources, but patients often discard these reminders with the rest of their junk mail. Sending them an electronic reminder plus the link to make an appointment online is an effective way to keep your patients coming in regularly.
Dental technology is constantly changing, and it is up to you to stay on top of the latest technological trends and practices. Although some upgrades may not be required, patients notice when practices don’t seem current. It may be expensive to update everything at once, so focus on one thing at a time and be sure to educate patients about the new technology (and talk about it on your website). Your excitement and clear grasp of the changes in your field provides them with a sense of comfort and also enhances your credibility as an absolute expert in your field (even if not all of your practices are quite up to date yet).
Create a Dental Blog
Blogs are some of the best ways to stay relevant in terms of SEO as well as create a personal connection with potential patients. Your dental blog does not have to be extremely in depth and you do not have to post every day, but keeping it updated with changes in your practice or tips on how to care for your teeth in between dentist visits will help give your practice a voice of authority and show your potential patients that you understand the importance of maintaining an online presence.
Create a Referral and Loyalty Program
Create incentives for your current patients to refer family and friends to your practice and then give them reasons for them to stick around. Add personal touches by sending them thank yous and cards for birthdays and holidays. Referrals are a key way of growing your practice through online reviews and word of mouth. Make sure you ask your patients to refer people to your practice and make it easy for them by giving them business cards and referral slips as they leave from their appointments. Don’t just tell them about referring friends the first time, gently remind them through signage at the check in desk, email reminders, and as you escort them to the waiting area after their appointments. Reward referrals through gift cards or items such as personalized mugs to show how much you appreciate their help in growing your practice.
Sometimes physically moving your practice is the best way to bring in new patients. A prominently displayed dental practice can create enough of a presence to attract new patients and gives you an opportunity to create a more updated office. The good news is, most dental technology nowadays can more easily be integrated into an existing office or building. Focus on moving your practice to a growing community or neighborhood where new residents will be looking for a new dental practice anyway.
Provide Sincere Customer Service
Whether or not your dental practice is spectacular, the interaction you give your patients is what they will remember most about your practice. Make sure they are greeted warmly by reception when they first walk in the door and make your waiting room feel comforting and inviting. Their interaction with the dental hygienists and with yourself should be pleasant and conversational. Ask them about their personal lives and strike up conversation outside of dental work. Don’t scold them for poor dental hygiene, but rather make sure you carefully explain why each step of the procedure is necessary in order to build trust and confidence. Be sincerely open to questions and give your patients a follow up phone call after any procedures to make sure everything is going well and to see if they have any questions. Personal touches and attention like this gives your patient comfort in your practice, which is especially important considering that most people feel uncomfortable and uneasy about dental work in general.
What do you look for in a dental practice? How have you made your dental practice grow? Share your tips and experiences in the comments section below.