Lets face it, getting new clients for your dental practice can be a real challenge with today’s state of the economy. Uncomfortable situations arise when loyal patients start cutting their visits back and sometimes never return. So, what is a dentist to do? We know you are busy, with the help of National Dental Advertising Association and the tips below you can easily increase new patients by 15 a month, here’s how:
1) Focus on customer service, you’re probably thinking, “I have great customer service, all my patients really like me!” And while that is probably true, you are not the only deciding factor in the complete customer experience at your office. What we’re talking about is focusing on the customer service your new and old patients receive before they even see you.
- Does your office staff send out friendly reminders or thank you cards to patients?
- Do you have a monthly newsletter that is sent to patients?
- Have you ever conducted a secret-shopper experience at your dental practice?
- Can your secretary welcome patients (new and old) with a warm smile and a genuine attitude?
- How long are patients put on hold for? What is the tone of your office staff?
- Are your dental assistants friendly? Are they annoying?
These are all important issues you need to think about – if you are unsure of any of the above answers, you need to invest some time into personnel training and office culture. There is nothing worse than having someone (that you are paying, nonetheless) represent you wrong and leave a bad taste in somebody’s mouth on your behalf.
2) Get involved with your community! This is an easy (and free) way to better represent yourself to those who you would like to call your patients. Volunteer with your church, coach a team, hold a board position with a school, do anything to get involved! Maximum exposure is the key.
3) Advertise and market yourself, how? Just call us (303.777.MAKE), this is our specialty. Our dental advertising and marketing agency has been around for nearly ten years, and we pride ourselves on our ability to accurately advertise and market our dentists. Ask us about our informative Dent-A-Cards that average (at a minimum) 15 new patients and, (at a maximum) 50 new patients per mailing. It is critical that you make your mailers stand out; we know how to do that – do you?
4) Specials! Who doesn’t love a good deal? An important aspect of any profitable business is their ability to understand what drives sales. People, especially old and new patients love to feel special. Offer first time patients a free x-ray, or a discounted cleaning. Reward returning clients a monetary incentive off their 3rd or 4th visit.
5) Inspire customer referrals by enticing current patients with a gift. If they recommend you to their family or friends, and that person comes in for a service, reward your loyal patient! However, please do not reward them with a gift to your practice. Give them a few different choices (around four) for a gift card to go get something to drink. When they are enjoying a couple drinks on you, they will appreciate how you picked up the tab ($15-$25 amount). That positive feeling will last and they will always remember how they were treated when they helped you out. Give and you shall receive!
6) Keep track of inactive clients. This is a simple concept. You should always maintain a recurring relationship with all of your patients. If they don’t receive any sort of communication from you throughout the year, how are you ever going to form any sort of valuable relationship? Make sure that you especially target the patients who have been inactive, send them a special coupon or holiday card. It is the little things that speak volumes.
7) Establish a ‘Check In’ feature at your office. Do you have any idea what ‘Checking In’ is? No, we aren’t talking about patients writing the time they got to your office, what time their appointment is and if their insurance has changed. Surely you have heard of Facebook and Twitter. Put these free social media services to good use! Here’s how. Encourage your patients to ‘Check In’ via Facebook, or Tweet that they have just gotten to your office or left it, and what a good experience they had or how clean their teeth are now. Once they have done that, reward them with a t-shirt. Yes, a t-shirt! However, you MUST make this t-shirt wearable. Out are the days of boxy shirts with your logo on the front and slogan on the back. Here are few ways to make wearable shirts for your patients:
- Focus on the material. American Apparel and Alternative Earth make comfortable and great everyday shirts.
- Do you need a new logo? NDAA can make you one that will look amazing on paper, your website, business cards (we take care off all that too!) and on a t-shirt.
- Make sure you advertise yourself, but make this shirt something people will wear (Isn’t that the whole purpose of free t-shirts?).
- Please, don’t cut corners here. If you don’t put the time, resource and effort into making a wearable shirt, no one will wear it! Seriously.
Good luck, you can and will better retain patients and obtain new ones with these helpful tips. Please don’t hesitate to call National Dental Advertising Association, we want to see you succeed. Call us at 303.777.MAKE.