The ongoing pandemic has certainly made businesses change their marketing strategies. At the beginning of 2020, many services were either canceled or provided virtually. For a time, it seemed there was a lack of personal contact with patients. Marketing strategies changed to virtual. While online marketing is effective today, there are other dental marketing strategies that can be more useful in 2021, as practices open up for in-person visits. As a provider, you must ask yourself what kind of experience you would value as a patient. Let’s look at these effective strategies in more detail.
Determine Your Values
It is important, as a dental provider, to reflect on what you would value as a patient experiencing care at your dental clinic. Is effective communication important to you? Maybe having short patient wait times is one of your top priorities as a patient. Consider what is important in a patient experience to be proactive in developing your marketing strategies. Talk with your fellow team members to determine what matters most to current patients. Once those are determined, you can move forward with planning more effective strategies for marketing to reach new patients.
Ultimately, the patient experience in your care is most important when initiating effective marketing strategies. It was a requirement to maintain virtual connections with patients during the last year, due to dental office closures. Now that patients are coming back into your practice, their patient experience is more important now than ever to maintain long-term relationships and trust with your clients.
As a first impression, the way your patients are greeted when they enter your practice will set the tone for the entire visit. Patients should be greeted with a smiling and helpful staff member upon entry. Communication with patients and families about procedures, treatments and follow-up instructions are especially important to build trust and provide quality care. Staff should provide detailed instructions in simplified terms to patients before, during and after treatment.
To add to the patient experience, consider offering more payment options for their dental care. Hard times have affected everyone over the last year, and patients may experience some anxiety about their financial situation and ability to afford dental care.
Patient experience also applies to virtual visits. In a pre-pandemic study, 81.9% of patients stated their virtual experience with their provider was as effective as an in-person visit. To improve the virtual experience, ensure patients are aware of their payment plan options, and ability to access information and payment portals on your easy-to-use website. Some patients may wish to continue virtual services when able. The patient experience is just as important when communicating virtually.
Another tip to improve patient experience is to ensure your staff is trained to communicate well with patients using this virtual or telehealth method. Patients should be directed to printed after care instructions, available on your website. Consider offering a chat box or messaging system to ensure patients can connect with a provider in a timely manner.
Embrace the New Normal
Despite the influx of patients returning to your dental practice, it is expected that some clients will wish to continue virtual services. Either due to health concerns or simply convenience, your practice may still service many patients virtually. In a 2020 survey, patients were asked to evaluate their experiences with teledentistry service. Approximately 91% of those surveyed stated they understood their clinician’s instructions, and felt that they could connect with their provider. About 94% of patients reported they would use virtual services again for their dental healthcare needs. Therefore, it would be beneficial to both the dental provider and the patient to utilize virtual resources going forward.
When embracing the new normal, you will need to evaluate your current website. It should be easy to use and have many patient resources. For example, evaluate your available options for contacting a provider via web or portal. Do you have easy online payment access for patients and an updated patient education section? These resources will be useful for patients who have questions or concerns about their care, but choose to consult virtually for their care. Embrace the new normal by updating your website and social media pages to provide patients with a better experience.
Consult With a Professional
Change is time-consuming and difficult. And your dental staff will need training on how to handle the new transitions. You may consider using a third-party company like Strategic Practice Solutions to help you manage new changes in your dental practice. SPS can help grow your practice by assessing your current marketing strategies and helping you set goals. They also provide company training, ensuring all staff are on the same page when providing the best patient experience. Call or click today to request more information about how SPS can help you.