How to Market Your Practice and Keep Your Patients During the Epidemic

Jackie Ulasewich-Cullen
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We recognize that most practices are taking the ADA’s recommendation and closing their doors to non-elective treatments. For those teams who remain in the practice, this is a good time to give them a refresher on how to handle new patient calls and deliver good customer service. Even if the team isn’t in the practice all at the same time, you can do remote or individual training.

You likely don’t have time for these types of training during normal practice hours, but you can make a real difference in scheduling new patient calls as well as in keeping the patients you have. After all, you’ve put time and money into marketing, and now it’s time to make sure that the patients you’re attracting are receiving the best service possible.

Marketing is half the battle when it comes to winning over new patients. When people call in for the first time, are they put on hold for a long time? Are their questions being effectively answered? Make sure you have a system in place for fielding the inquiries coming from your marketing efforts. 

Plus, caring for your leads is just as important as getting them. Marketing can bring you leads, but what you do with them requires a well thought-out strategy that includes great customer service. A survey by American Express found that 17% of consumers are willing to spend more on a company that has outstanding service.

Your office team, the front line of your practice, should be well trained on how to field new patient calls, as well as calls from your current patients. This means being friendly, courteous, and knowledgeable so patients aren’t put on hold for a long period of time, as 33% of customers are most frustrated by having to wait on hold, according to HubSpot Research. What’s more, Glance revealed that, on average, customer service agents only ask for a customer’s name 21% of the time

Avoid these costly mistakes. When a new patient calls after seeing your Facebook ad or finding you on Google, you want to make sure those marketing dollars don’t go to waste. 

As important as it is to grow your new patient numbers, retaining your current patients is just as important to your practice’s profitability. According to Bain and Company, increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by between 25% and 95%. 

Part of our philosophy focuses on marketing and customer service to existing patients as a way to make them feel more connected to your practice and keep them coming back for treatment. Marketing through email, social media, and more to your patients is necessary. 

It’s not just the time in the chair with you that matters, it’s the relationship you’re nurturing with patients outside your four walls that keeps them coming back. It also makes financial sense. Ivesp revealed that investing in new customers is between five and 25 times more expensive than retaining existing ones. While you do need to grow your new patient base, ongoing communication with your current ones will keep your practice profitable.

The patients you care for during this time will remember their visit. Make it the best experience possible. From how your patients are treated on that first call to the emails, social media, and other strategies that keep them coming back, continued marketing and great customer service is a key driver in practice success.

With more than a decade of experience in corporate dental laboratory marketing and brand development, Ms. UlasewichCullen decided to take her passion for the dental business and marketing to the next level by founding My Dental Agency. Since starting her company, she and her team have helped a wide variety of practices all over the nation focus their message, reach their target audience, and increase their sales through effective marketing campaigns. She can be reached at (800) 689-6434 or via email at jackie@mydentalagency.com.

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