Should you market your practice? Definitely yes. Well, maybe not yet.
New patients are the cornerstone of any practice. Attrition happens for many reasons beyond your control, so you should always do marketing to attract new patients. If you doubt that, imagine if you remembered all the new patients you had in their lifetime and all the referrals they made in their lifetime. You would have grown and been more profitable than you ever imagined possible. But this is not the reality. You are constantly losing patients, so you constantly have to generate new ones.
The crucial question is whether it makes sense for you to implement a marketing strategy right now.
You wouldn’t invite guests into your house without cleaning first, so don’t invite new patients into your practice until your house is in order. You never get a second chance to make a first impression; if you are unsuccessful the first time, you are unlikely to receive another shot.
Even when they have the option to book online, most new patients call to book their first appointment. Like it or not, that first telephone interaction with a member of your team is that potential new patient’s first impression of everything about your practice, including the caliber of care they can expect from you and your team.
If your employees aren’t trained to deliver the right experience that satisfies the caller while capturing them as a new patient with a scheduled appointment, you’ve wasted marketing money. The call will end and your potential patient will become a competitor’s new patient.
Also by Jay Geier:
Ring, ring: practice growth and profitability calls
How to find quality candidates?
If the call results in a scheduled appointment but the new patient has a disappointing experience with one of your team members, your processes, or even the look of your office, chances are they won’t return. not. They won’t recommend other people and may even go so far as to specifically tell family and friends not to go to you (and possibly many others via social media). You not only wasted money getting that new patient, but you also did more harm to the practice than good. You would have done better not to market at all.
You need a steady stream of new patients, but you can’t grow your business with a revolving door of drop-in patients. You realize your profit on subsequent visits, not only through that patient, but also through all the referrals they will make and the referrals these new patients will make.
Preparing your practice for new patients
Until everything about your practice and your team is ready to deliver the kind of experience that will keep patients coming back, hold your marketing. First, invest in your team, which should encompass implementation and training on patient-centric processes, teamwork and accountability.
Every touchpoint of the end-to-end experience should be patient-centric, designed to satisfy and ideally wow the patient. At the very least, the experience should make patients want to stay in your practice. At best, which should be the goal, they’ll be so impressed that they can’t resist mentioning your practice to a friend, because the visit and everything leading up to it was such a positive and unexpected experience. .
One of the biggest misconceptions of independent practice owners is that their clinical expertise and continuing education credentials are what impresses patients the most. We have plenty of interview data that proves that’s not the case. When was the last time a patient asked you anything about your credentials? What matters is this: do they feel cared for and cared for in regards to by each member of the team? Is the office a pleasant place to live? Are processes managed efficiently and hassle-free from the patient’s perspective, including that first phone call?
Capitalize on your human capital
With few exceptions, new clients come to us because they need immediate help to increase their revenue and cash flow. We steer them away from marketing strategies until we have worked with them to address the necessary human capital strategies.
Every human being has the potential to do better, and most want to be engaged and feel good about doing good work. They are already doing their best based on the training and development they have had. To perform better, they need high skill sets and an understanding of what it means to deliver the kind of experience that will attract patients and keep them coming back. Training the team on how to capture potential new patients calling is the most cost-effective investment you can make to jump-start revenue and cash flow immediately, which then gives you more resources for other strategies. profit creation.
We compare team training to oil drilling. Once the team is trained and accountable for delivering a great experience over the phone and at every touchpoint throughout the end-to-end experience, you know your home is in order. You can implement marketing strategies, confident that you will get the expected return on investment in the long run. Suddenly you’ll have found oil and you’ll have a flood of new patients on your hands. Next, you will need to address capacity issues to keep up with growth. . . and what a great problem to look forward to!
Editor’s note: This article appeared in the April 2022 print edition of Dental economy magazine. Dentists in North America can take advantage of a free print subscription. Register here.