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Alex Nozdrin is one of the founders of RevenueWell, the maker of automated practice marketing and patient communications software that cuts overhead costs, increases production and helps practices acquire new patients. Alex is passionate about marketing, online technologies and ways that they can be applied to help dental practitioners succeed in the Internet age.
One of the founders of RevenueWell tells you how software can make a difference for your patients and your bottom line.
Dentistry is about more than just your bottom line. It’s about people – the patients whose lives you get to share. It’s a relationship business really, and one that requires nurturing to stay robust.
Yet, nurturing relationships and running a business can be trying. Marketing software works in concert with your current practice software and allows you to bridge the gap between what you want to do and what you have time to do.
Make a great first impression
Do you provide a high-tech, high-touch experience that delights the patient every step of the way? Today’s consumers are fluent in web technologies, always online and instantly available for meaningful interaction. Increasingly, they’re expecting dental teams to meet them halfway. So, if you’re looking to make and sustain a good impression, here are two best practices that will help you WOW your patients before they ever step into your office:
Take some interactions online
A big chunk of online searches for dental services occur after business hours. So much so, that even your existing patients may not get around to calling you until after they return home from work. By allowing patients to request appointments, access secure files, and pay bills online, you’re meeting demands established by their other service providers. If you don’t currently offer an online portal to your patients, you’re likely lacking in the type of self-service tools patients expect.
Confirm patient appointments using email and text messages
In recent surveys, more than 90 percent of all patients said they’d rather get an email or a text message than a disrupting phone call at dinnertime. The good news is that an average patient will usually respond to a text message within minutes of receiving one, compared with hours or days in response to a voicemail you leave them.
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If you were to ask your patients what causes them to visit the dentist, many will say it’s when they notice an issue. Unfortunately, that puts you in the same category as their plumber, or “that guy” they called last year when their sink was leaking. To avoid this trap, and put yourself in a position to earn their elective business as well, you’ve got to be in contact with your patients year-round. Very few doctors do this.
A system like RevenueWell helps you get there by scanning your practice management software for things like birthdays, expiring insurance anniversaries and lapsed recall dates, automatically sending birthday cards, insurance reminders and recall statements on your behalf. Monthly pediatric and general practice newsletters are a great addition to the mix. Intelligent practice marketing software programs can even remind patients they have pending treatment. Staying in touch when patients aren’t thinking about you is essential. In doing so, you begin to build a real relationship with them and position yourself in the patients’ minds as a “lifestyle” dentist: somebody who can make a positive impact in their lives, not just someone they run to with tooth pain.
Market your practice
So how about marketing? Well, if you’re communicating with your patients regularly as noted above, you’ve got the vast majority of your marketing covered. Communicating is, in effect, marketing. It’s just you’re not used to thinking of it as such. Perhaps the best part, however, is there’s no need to spend months manufacturing a marketing plan, dedicating the resources to creating content, creating useable and up-to-date databases, because all of that strategy – along with the executables – is built right into the software.
And, yes, of course, a hand-written note is always better than a stock postcard; a personal call will often beat an appointment confirmation SMS. But for most busy, understaffed, cost-conscious offices I speak with every day, such automation makes the difference between things getting done, or forever remaining on the “to do” list.
Practices that use a practice marketing system benefit from lower attrition, better treatment acceptance and a more engaged patient base. Isn’t it time you took the leap?