Millennials use their phone for almost everything: ordering groceries, hailing Ubers, reviewing businesses, shopping—the list goes on and on. And when they’re searching for a dentist, that process undoubtedly originates on a smartphone too.
Before you disregard the selfie generation for its somewhat obsessive phone usage, it’s important you know how the group is changing the landscape of the dental industry (and really every industry):
- Millennials are the largest generation to date, at 73 million.
- Millennials possess more spending power than baby boomers, with an expected collective spending power of $1.4 trillion by 2020.
- 51% of millennials are mostly or almost always online and connected.
Millennials, aged between 22 and 36, hold a lot of buying power and are shaking up traditional consumer patterns. Attracting this uniquely driven generation and then providing an efficient experience is crucial to capturing a higher appointment rate.
It’s growing more important than ever to make it as easy as possible for millennials to show up for their appointments. Luckily, it’s as easy as ABC. And it all starts with the phone:
- A stands for Active Social Media Presence.
- B stands for Be Mobile Friendly.
- C stands for Connect.
Active Social Media Presence
Create and optimize your online presence and track everything you do. Ensure you have an informative website and active social media accounts on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Yelp. Understand where your phone calls are originating by leveraging unique phone numbers across each source. Listen to those calls to pinpoint each source’s performance, as well as your staff’s performance, in converting callers into booked new patients.
Millennials care about their own image, how they are perceived and what their friends (and strangers) think. Your practice should care too. Boost positive reviews and manage negative experiences. To book a millennial, build an online community with Facebook and Yelp posts that highlight the great things about your team members. Encourage patients to provide feedback and repost patient testimonials on Instagram, for example.
Other aspects to keep in mind when building your online presence include:
- Information accuracy on your website: Your hours, phone numbers, staff, and address should always be up to date.
- Post pictures of the office, team, and dentist(s).
- Post at least two times per week to build a trusted brand.
- Ask your customers to “check in” and “like” your page when visiting.
- Launch a gift card campaign to generate more online reviews.
- Hold Facebook promotions to incentivize activity on your page.
Be Mobile Friendly
Your website needs to be optimized for mobile access. Since it is limited to a small screen, easily digestible information and short messaging with an obvious call to action are required.
Millennials prioritize the ease with which they can accomplish something. When they visit your website, they have likely previously executed the necessary research. Unlike their parents’ generation, they invest more time in the pre-research phase of the dental search process.
Once they visit your site, they are looking for ways to rule you out. Information on your mobile site (such as your phone number) must be readily available. Be cognizant of the fact that too much information can be counteractive and overwhelm the millennial patient from making the decision to call and book a visit.
Millennials grew up with an increasing focus on technology, which permeates every aspect of their lives. In fact, Use text reminders rather than phone calls to confirm appointments.
No one wants to spend time looking for a phone number. Don’t make a potential patient work harder by having to search for your number. Place your phone number at the top of each page of your website so it can’t be missed, and enable click-to-call from a mobile device.
Remember, once potential patients pick up the phone, they are no longer shopping for a dentist. They are ready to book an appointment. This is where your staff’s performance matters. Callers must be able to quickly connect with a staff member who is able to help them, not just simply answer the phone. Hold times and transfers must be eliminated. The time it takes to schedule the appointment needs to be as quick as possible.
Technological advances have launched us into a mobile-dependent world. The dental industry must evolve from traditional marketing techniques to appeal to this generation’s digital, mobile, and social mindsets. Optimizing your mobile user experience and your staff’s phone performance are key to converting millennial patients.
Ms. Suddreth is the director of business development at Call Box, the leading telephony and artificial intelligence technology firm that works with smaller dental practices as well as large DSOs such as InterDent, Heartland Dental, and MB2 to deliver more insight into their phone calls. Dental providers turn to Call Box when there is difficulty attributing marketing efforts to phone calls and staff accountability issues continue to arise. Living in Dallas, Sarah works with corporate VPs and marketing directors across the nation to enhance their practices’ bottom line and boost revenue.
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