Gary Glassman, DDS, FRCD(C) and Bruce V. Freeman DDS, DOrtho, MSc
With no shortage of dental offices, why should a potential patient choose yours?
Here are some tips on how to draw in new patients to your practice.
Your website is often the first point of contact for patients and the beginning of the Patient Experience. The site must help people understand WHY they should choose and place the health, and hard-earned dollars, in your hands. If patients do not get a sense of who you are a and how you and your team will care for them, your site has failed. A generic site will not yield committed patients who are coming to you for more than just your location. Some hallmarks of a good site include”
Although we live in a highly digitized world, word-of–mouth is still the best way to bring in new patients to your practice. Personal recommendations have always been the most powerful form of advertising.
People are more likely to listen to a trusted source about their positive experience, than they would by reading a random ad. Patient referrals are a great way to attract like-minded, loyal patients, even if you are just starting out. In fact, your very first patients in your career, serve as an essential voice during your first year of practice, as you endeavour to build your brand identity.
Reviews and testimonials left by existing patients can be a big factor in your success as this is how patients ‘pre-screen’ you and your clinic. It is unlikely that people will choose a dentist with no reviews over a dentist with dozens of positive reviews. Your online reputation is so important when it comes to your digital presence. The best way to get raving reviews is by taking everything negative a patient expects from a dental visit and turn it into a positive.
By going above and beyond for your patients, by providing them with a memorable dental experience, and not just a visit, they will surely be running to tell their friends wonderful things about you. From ease of booking to a personalized comfort call, these small touches are powerful. It is important not to be discouraged by negative reviews. Instead, show patients that you take customer service seriously by quickly addressing the issue and recognizing you cannot please all the people all the time, as the saying goes.
Put your ego aside, as there is likely a grain of truth to most reviews and in the end, it is the patient’s perception that matters. If you would like to have patients leave a review it must never be incentivized and you can simply say, after inquiring of the patient if all was satisfactory: “Thank you so much for the kind words about your appointment today. As you know, everyone searches online when looking for a new dentist so sharing your experience would mean a lot to us”. You don’t ask, quite simply, you don’t ‘get’!
If you are not providing a different experience from the competition, attracting patients to a new practice will be an uphill battle. Good clinical skills are not enough, as it is the human skills, good communication, empathy, and compassion, that help create a great Patient Experience.
Potential patients want to get a sense of who you are first. You can then mention any skills you have developed that could improve their experience. People rarely leave a dental office due to a clinical issue, as it is almost always about communication and how they feel they were treated. The environment speaks to the patients, whether it be within your website or the physical space of your clinic. Consistency of brand and message is key, as the patient’s main goals are to receive safe care and have their fears, desires, and goals, are heard, and acknowledged.