There’s a scene early in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross where Alec Baldwin’s character, Blake, in a machismo-fueled monologue, implores a group of salesmen to close their deals. “A-B-C,” he says. “Always. Be. Closing.
When it comes to marketing your dental practice, there’s a similar ABC: Always Be Communicating.
You should always stay in touch with patients. Whether it’s right before they come in for an appointment, while they’re in the waiting room, when they’re in the chair, just after they leave an appointment, or during the lull between visits: Always Be Communicating with patients.
The most obvious pre-visit communication is a reminder. Since you treat recall like the marketing campaign that it is, remember to vary the messaging of your reminders. Email, text, send a postcard, make a phone call, and work all angles to remind patients about their appointment. Just be sure to stop sending reminders once you have confirmation.
Other pre-appointment communication can include pre- op instructions. Should the patient refrain from eating or drinking anything in advance of their visit? Do you prefer that patients not floss ahead of time since it inflames their gums and makes treatment difficult? Do you have electronic forms that enable patients to fill out their information before getting to the practice? Do they need to bring their insurance or identification card?
Tell people what to do (and what not to do) before their appointment, so they know exactly what to expect when coming in to see you.
Think of the visit in three parts: the waiting room, the chair, and the checkout. Use your waiting room to educate patients on their treatments. If you have a television in the waiting room, broadcast dental-specific programming to show off your different treatment offerings.
Follow up with patients while they’re in the chair. Touch upon the treatment offerings they saw in the waiting room. By discussing what they saw while waiting, you reiterate the importance of certain oral care routines.
As patients are checking out, ask about the day’s visit and again discuss any further treatment offerings the patient might need. Verbally explain and print out any post-op instructions (if needed). Since you’re going to be staying in tight communication with them, make sure all the patient’s communication preferences are up to date.
Immediately after visit
Getting in touch with a patient within 24-36 hours after their appointment is crucially important. For one, it shows patients you care about them even after they’ve settled
their bill. It’s also the premier time to double down on your marketing communications. Email any post-op instructions to a patient’s inbox. In the off chance a patient was a little frazzled toward the end of their visit, this ensures they have proper care instructions.
If you have one, send a reminder about your patient portal. Inform patients that they can find all their past treatments and billing statements here. Not only does this give patients a feeling of control over their account, but it also frees up your team from fielding questioning phone calls. Email follow-up treatment information.
Everything you told the patient throughout their visit is fresh on their mind. Now is the perfect time to practice your mastery of selling elective services, and really drive home the need for preventative or cosmetic treatments.
Communicating between visits enables you to stay top- of-mind. The last thing you want is for patients to only remember your existence every six months.
Deliver holiday greetings via social media or send birthday cards in the mail. Show patients that, even when they’re not thinking of you, you’re thinking of them. Email monthly newsletters with topical dental information. Tell patients about new treatment offerings. Show photos of your new CEREC or SIRONA machines, explaining how they make visits easier and more efficient than ever before! Have an appointment open up? Send an announcement.
A patient might not be due for their cleaning, but maybe the opening is perfect for that whitening they’ve wanted. Unless a patient explicitly tells you so, do not feel like you’re over-communicating. Your goal is for patients to have the best oral health imaginable, and every point of contact you make is with that goal in mind.
Don’t have time to follow up between appointments? Let RW do it for you. Read more about how you can automate your patient engagement.
Truly stay in touch with RevenueWell
If coordinating all of this communication feels a little overwhelming, we get it. If you were to build it all manually, it might drive you mad. Thankfully, the RevenueWell Marketing Platform allows you to automate your communication and stay in touch without running yourself ragged.
Check out a few of the tools that help streamline patient communication so you can focus on patient care:
- Automated appointment reminders. Follows up appointment reminders, and automatically contacts all unscheduled hygiene patients around their recall dates.
- Two-way texting. Text back and forth with your patients with RevenueWell Messenger.
- Custom post-ops. Send automatic post-op communications minutes after the patient walks out.
- Social media. Choose from a library of social media posts or share patient feedback right to Facebook.
- Custom campaigns and newsletters. 100+ predesigned campaigns that help with communication between visits.
Start consistently communicating with your patients today using RevenueWell. Learn more online, or reach out to your Patterson rep today to get started.