2020 is the year of the deferral. Did you know that in one survey 70% of patients reported deferring or cancelling their appointment?
Here are the Dental Do’s and Don’ts in the face of dental deferrals.
Keep in Touch
How are you connecting with your database? Have you kept in touch throughout the pandemic?
Contrary to popular belief, the majority of dental practices remained open during 2020.
If the answer to the above questions are no, your patients may not realise the availability for check-ups and elective surgeries.
Email newsletters, website pop-up’s, booking confirmation emails and SMS messages are great points of contact to deliver this information.
The image to the right is an example of how a simple pop-up on our thus website answered some common FAQs about regular treatments in this sentence,
“This means that we are now able perform all of our regular treatments! Extra precautions are still in place to ensure the clinic remains a safe environment for all our staff and patients.”
Optimise Your Online Booking Systems
Accenture reported that 98% of dentists using online bookings systems noticed an increase in bookings.
Patients are looking to minimise their point of contact and maximise service delivery.
Virtual support and online booking systems are integral to overcoming these issues.
The most important part of online bookings is that a patient is armed with all the relevant information. Are the available booking slots appropriate for the treatment they need? Do they receive information about where to park and what medical history to bring?
Keep Looking For Growth Opportunities
Competition, patient acquisition and growth are the top concerns for dentists according to HealthEngine. Luckily, all three of these issues can be alleviated with a funnel for new leads and new patients.
Did you know that 58% of Practices use Google Ads to acquire new patients?
Growth is not just about advertising, it’s about strategy. For example, effective Google Ad campaigns can target both low and high-ticket items like check-ups versus orthodontic work.
Ignore Online Reviews
Online reviews can be both a source of burden and benefit. Unfortunately, most dentists don’t receive good reviews proportionate to the number of happy patients. Likewise, bad reviews can make a couple of unhappy patients seem like the majority.
The best way to handle bad reviews is to answer them. AHPRA outlines clear guidelines about what can be said publicly, so we recommend sticking with this formula: avoid specific details + offer support + ask them to get in contact with the service desk, directly.
Forget To Think Like A Patient
Two major concerns could be playing on the minds of your patients looking to defer or cancel. One is an increased fear of getting sick and awareness of germs. The second is anxiety caused by financial and economic uncertainty.
What most patients do not realise is that in certain areas, pressure on the health system has actually been eased by measures put in place for COVID-19, according to the Australian Government.
McKinsey reports a global shift in consumer spending and uncertainty. Add to this uncertainty and unease about Consumers report that they plan to reduce holiday spending and cut down on non-essential spending. Nothing is more essential than healthcare. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to convey this to patients.
Additionally, practices that offer flexible payment options like AfterPay, Zip Pay or payment plans provide a convenient solution to this concern.
Growth is integral and yet, too often interrupted by challenges faced by practices caught in the cycle of delays and cancellations. Remember to keep in touch, optimise the online booking system and always look for growth opportunities. Most importantly, dental practitioners need to be dynamic in their approach to online reviews by answering them directly. Lastly, thinking like a patient is informative to all business strategy.
To continue to grow and overcome all of these challenges, digital marketing is essential.
If you would like to speak with Practice Results about digital marketing that puts patient care at the centre of the equation, get in touch today.