In the age of the internet, all dental practices need an impeccable online footprint, including a professional website, patient portal, glowing testimonials, and positive reviews across multiple platforms, most importantly Google, Facebook, and Yelp. And now, with people more concerned about their safety than ever, new patients will be looking for dentists who go above and beyond.
For example, last May I very publicly purchased two extraoral suction units as part of a $10,000-plus investment into my Palm Beach office in South Florida, allowing me to better protect my staff and patients from unnecessary risks of COVID-19 infection. This set me apart from other dentists in the area and demonstrated that I was being proactive in ways to make my practice safer than ever.
Here are five of the most important ways dentists can prove to new patients that their practice is the one to choose.
First, be very aware of your online reviews and encourage existing patients to review your practice across multiple channels, such as social media, Google, and Yelp. Encourage patients to be specific in their reviews. Although it is important for them to include that the office staff is nice and the office is clean, discussing exact procedures such as implants or porcelain veneers will demonstrate that your practice is the best fit for the new patients’ specific needs.
Second, have a list of references ready so any potential clients who call the office can talk to real patients about procedures they may have had and their experience with your practice in doing so. To do this, simply check with your happy customers post-procedure and see if they would be interested in sharing their experience with others.
If so, you’ll need them to sign an authorization form that would allow them to be contacted by inquisitors and ensure only information they are willing to share would become available to the public. Keep a record of this list with reception so references are on hand and available to give peace of mind to any new patient who may be interested.
Next, and speaking of which, reception is important! Your receptionist or receptionists are the first people new patients will come in contact with, so it is imperative that you have good help. Beyond just friendly and organized, make sure your receptionists are knowledgeable of the practice.
Instruct them on how to give tours of the office, and be clear of what you would allow potential patients to observe should they want to see your practice in action. Ensure they have pictures, video, and references ready to go, should requests from new patients be made for additional information.
Also, always make sure you are there to provide any support that reception may need. As the face of the practice, you’ll want to assure every member of your team that you always have their back.
Fourth, constantly curate your website and social media to include up-to-date photos and examples of before and after work, especially when it comes to cosmetic and implant dentistry such as porcelain veneer procedures. The more, the better. New patients will want to see that whatever procedure they may be interested in getting is something that you not only do well, but perform often.
Finally, have a list of medical doctors who are patients of your office to use as references. It is important for new patients to see that doctors in various fields trust you to handle their dentistry needs. You may even get lucky enough and have a potential new patient spot a doctor they already know and trust on the list of happy patients that you provide.
Dr. Josephs practices implant cosmetic and general dentistry with an emphasis on implants, veneers, and complex crown and bridge treatment in Palm Beach, Florida. He is on the staff at JFK Medical Center and is a faculty advisory board member at McGill University’s Faculty of Dentistry. He completed his residency at Manhattan’s Beth Israel Medical Center and Mt. Sinai Hospital and was published in the Journal of the ADA in October 2017. He also is a twice published author, writing Tooth Talk and More Tooth Talk. Learn more at palmbeachdentist.com.