Marketing Solutions for Dentists and Teams

Archive for August 2008

SOS Dental Marketing

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If you’re like many dental practices today you may be looking for ways to stimulate business… One tried and true tactic is a basic phone call. Placing courtesy calls to your existing patients for recall is one of the fastest, easiest and least expensive ways to get patients in the door.

Make it a fun challenge, get the whole team involved, and start placing calls to fill your schedule with healthy doses of production. Try using one of the following scripts:

Hello I’m calling from Dr Smith’s office as a friendly reminder that you are overdue for your cleaning/check-up/treatment, would you like to reserve an appointment… many of our patients are already reserving their appointments before years end to use their insurance benefits before they expire… Our schedule is filling up and I want to be sure we can get you in on time.

Let me know how this tactic works for you?

Does Your Dental Practice Need A Checkup?

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When was the last time you heard one of your patients complain? We all know that too many complaints are a sign that things aren’t going well. However a practice that never hears any complaints, or never hears much feedback at all, may not be in good shape either…

Periodic surveys are an important component of any marketing plan. They allow you to learn what you are doing right, and what you may be doing wrong. Consider a third party survey service in order for people to feel they can share openly and honestly. Online surveys also work well as they many times offer people the option to remain anonymous. For example, check out www.surveymonkey.com, they offer several excellent affordable online survey options. Once you learn what your patients really value and enjoy most about your practice, you can then leverage that information within your marketing plan.

What valuable information have you learned recently from your patient surveys?

Stop Losing Dental Patient Referrals

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Many dentists realize the value of referrals, yet few communicate with their patients on a regular basis… This results not only in lost referrals, but also in lost case acceptance and sometimes lost patients.

Your patients are regularly receiving generic postcard offers from neighboring dental practices, each promoting a new special service, new technology or better location. The best way to ensure your patients are loyal, motivated and referring regularly is to keep in touch with them. Yes, excellent patient care is vital, but how often are you permitted to make someone’s day? Once or twice per year is not enough. Here are a few effective tips to follow up throughout the year:

  • Email- few practices are collecting email addresses. While not every patient will elect to receive email from you, many will and this will allow you to communicate with patients inexpensively and quickly.
  • Postcards- don’t bother sending patients a generic dental postcard- remember, they’ve likely already received dozens in their mailbox- instead, why not pick up colorful postcards from your favorite local town and have someone from your team write out a seasonal greeting (think summer destinations or great fall color drives).
  • Newsletters- not your father’s newsletter! Despite our desire to interest patients in cutting edge dental technologies, most patients would rather read about you. More personal touch articles and less dental procedure will allow patients to feel like they have a real relationship with you.

The key to winning more referrals is to keep in touch with your patients, one quality follow up at a time.

Dental Patients Lost By Email

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Ever consider not answering your practice phone? Just let the phone ring and ring and you never pick up… this is similar to what happens when patient emails sit in your inbox. Many patients prefer and expect email service – with prompt response. An average response time is at most within 24 hours on business days. Today, email communication is just as important as answering the phone- especially when it comes to new patient inquiries.

Some offices I work with have at least one team member, a technology guru, who enjoys working with computers and the internet and they diligently check and respond to emails- which is great. Other practices consider emails a second or, even worse, a last priority.

Yes, I understand that not all emails are timely. However they all need to be checked promptly in order to determine their importance. Letting a new patient inquiry sit in your practice in-box is similar to ignoring your phone or locking your practice door. If you don’t have someone comfortable or motivated to check email, consider outsourcing it or don’t have it as an option at all. Remember no impression is much better than a poor one.

How often does your office check email?

Feed Minds – Fuel Your Dental Practice

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Today I heard a dental assistant say she would really love to attend more CE and keep learning. I always love to hear someone ask to keep learning don’t you? The more we learn, the more we flourish- personally and professionally. One technique a doctor I work with used is to have the interested team member write up a short summary of why they’d like to attend a course and what they think they’d learn from it…

This technique forever changed the way I looked at CE seminars and programs. My mind shifted from “Wow, Florida will be a great conference location” to “Why do I REALLY want to attend this course and how will I use what I learn day-to-day.” Writing up pre-conference summaries committed me to learn the most I could, and to bring nuggets back to the office to implement and share.

So, the next time your team member asks if she can attend a course, first thank them for their interest and then ask them to write up their “Why and how” summary. It will positively change their perspective and your practice will benefit more from the investment.

How often does your team ask to attend CE?