4.17.15 Issue #684 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter
 

How to Educate Your Patients about Your Practice
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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Patient education is key to improving case acceptance, reducing broken appointments and even boosting patient retention numbers. But while it’s important to educate patients about the value of dentistry and their oral condition, it’s also important to educate them about your practice and the services you and your team can provide.

Patients aren’t mind readers. You can’t expect them to somehow know that you offer implants or Invisalign. You have to tell them. If you don’t, they might assume that a service they are interested in is beyond your practice’s scope and start looking for another dentist to take on their expensive cosmetic case, and then come back to your practice when it’s time for a hygiene visit. 

You might be thinking: Well Sally, if patients are interested in a particular service, I’m sure they’ll ask me. If only that were true. While some patients might bring up a procedure they’re interested in pursuing without any prompting from you, a team member or a sign they saw in your waiting area, many won’t. It’s up to you to find out every patients’ dental health goals, and educate them about the services you offer that can help meet those goals. When you do that, not only will patients know exactly what they can expect from your practice and the dental care you provide, they’ll be more likely to accept the treatment you recommend.

If you want to educate your patients about your practice, you will need to invest in marketing. Now I know many dentists think marketing is a waste of time and money, but trust me, it isn’t. You can use marketing tools to educate patients about the services you offer and pique their interest in those services – making them far more likely to ask about certain procedures during their appointment, or at least making them more open to considering these treatments when you bring them up chairside. And when I talk about marketing, I’m not talking about one-time campaigns. Those won’t give you the results you’re after. I’m talking about a continual, targeted effort that includes consistent branding and messaging.

As much as you might not want to hear this, you really have to make marketing a priority. It’s not going to work if it’s simply an afterthought or something you throw a little money at from time to time. You have to invest in this system, and so do your team members. Get them involved and make sure they understand that marketing must be part of every patient interaction, from the time patients call your office to make an appointment until that appointment is over and they’re walking out the front door. 

So how should you go about marketing your services? Here are a few ideas:

Place brochures and signs in your practice that offer information about the various services you provide.
Send monthly e-newsletters that include patient education and practice promotions.
Use your on-hold message to educate patients about implants, cosmetic dentistry or any other services you’d like to feature.
Send educational materials via snail mail.
Talk with patients chairside and provide top-notch customer service throughout their entire visit.
Develop a website that lists more than just your location and contact information.

Let me expand a little more on that last one. Your website is another great marketing tool you can use to educate patients about your practice, and it should be complete with short bios and photos of you and every member of your team. But don’t stop there. List the services you offer and information about those services. Include testimonials and before and after photos of successful cases you’ve completed.

Here’s the bottom line: Successful practices invest in marketing and patient education. Educating patients about the services you provide and the benefits of those services will help them to appreciate your practice and your team. And that, doctor, leads to increased case acceptance.

Investing in marketing also goes a long way in strengthening patient relationships, creating a connection between your patients and your practice and ultimately improving patient retention, all vital to your practice’s success and profitability. Remember, for it to work, marketing has to be a priority; it can’t just be an afterthought.

This may seem overwhelming, but it’s important. And I’m here to help. If you’d like more advice on how to do this in your practice, along with other tips to help your practice flourish throughout the rest of 2015 and beyond, download my special report: 5 Ways to Build Your Practice in 2015.

For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side

Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com
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