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How many times do you receive phone calls from prospective patients…and the patient decides not to schedule an appointment? According to industry surveys, 65% of people decide not to book a procedure with the first practice they call because of a poor customer experience. Most dental practices believe that they offer their patients a good first impression. However, the majority of practices report large numbers of calls and emails that don’t result in new patient business. The first phone call or communication with a potential patient is essential in building patient confidence.
Why do most patients decide not to book a procedure with a dental practice?
- Inaccurate information from staff or lack of knowledge about their dental problem
- Dental clinic failed to reply in a timely manner or were unresponsive
- Long phone wait times: Patients were kept on hold for too long
- Dental staff was rude or poorly trained
If you receive patient calls at your clinic, chances are that these patients are calling for one simple reason: they have a problem. They are calling you because they think that you can help them solve their problem. They are calling or emailing you NOW, because they want a solution NOW…not 2 days from now. Today’s patients know that there are plenty of other clinics that want their business. If you don’t respond to their needs quickly and efficiently, some other clinic will.
How Can Your Clinic Close More Patient Leads?
Focus on Patient Service:
As dental professionals, we think that good dental care is our #1 priority. That may be true. But patients will never experience your excellent quality if they are disappointed by your service. If you want to close more sales, you need to make it clear to every employee that taking care of the patient from the very first call through the after-care follow-up is their top priority. Paperwork and filing can wait until after hours. When the phone rings or a new email arrives, all other work should stop as your team dedicates its focus to giving patients the time and attention they need. Success is predicated on your staff taking the time to listen to patient needs, asking key questions, and building a relationship built on trust. Remember, patients will never do business with you if they don’t trust you.
Improve Staff Training
How well trained are your receptionists or secretaries? Every member of your team should have the training to answer the most important questions posed by potential new patients. They should be able to answer questions about the services you offer and be able to provide details on pricing, materials, and the patient experience. Above all, your staff should know and understand your value proposition. What makes your practice different and BETTER than anyone else? If your team can’t answer this question, it’s time for some in-depth staff training.
Here’s a test: Call your office line and pretend to be a new patient. What is your impression of your own team? Many dentists call their own offices and are amazed to find that their staff often comes across as rude, insensitive or just too busy to care. It is critical that you create a culture of kindness that puts the patient first…above all else. It’s not enough to be good dentists. We must first be good people.
Hire Sufficient Staff
If your team is overworked and always struggling to keep up, it’s time to hire more people to help. Overworked staff will only be friendly to your patients for so long. After long periods of hard work with few rewards, your staff may begin to neglect duties or mistreat patients. If your team feels overworked and underappreciated, it will reflect poorly on your clinic brand.
Consider hiring additional staff members to handle the purely administrative duties for your office. Hire someone to file and manage paperwork , while your seasoned staff answers patient calls, replies to patient emails and works on closing new patient business for your clinic. Give your staff the message that you prioritize patient communications and they will follow your lead.
If your dental practice needs some help with new patient business generation, patient lead management, staff training or dental marketing, contact the seasoned pros at The Goodness Company, Dental Marketing Specialists.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Patrick Goodness is the CEO of The Goodness Company a global healthcare and dental marketing firm.
Patrick Goodness is one of the most recognized names in dental practice marketing. Dental clinics and labs rely on Patrick for insightful marketing consultation, marketing planning and public relations services. His results-driven approach to marketing has helped dental offices and dental labs transform their brand and dramatically increase sales and profitability. Patrick offers a wide spectrum of marketing and public relations consulting services focused on building powerful branding and dramatically increasing sales. His extensive dental marketing experience, global network of clients and colleagues, and his ability to build and deliver valuable marketing concepts and tools that generate significant results are the reason for his popularity and his leadership in dental marketing and dental practice business development. You can reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org