8.20.10 Issue #441 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Belle DuCharme CDPMA
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Marketing is Everyday in the Dental Practice
By Belle DuCharme, CDPMA

Doctors often say that marketing is expensive and the return is marginal at best.  Assuming they are speaking of random direct mail or yellow page advertising, this statement is often true. What is frequently overlooked is that every day you are in the practice, you are marketing yourself and your services to potential consumers. Your greatest opportunity to market your practice is to the patients who are there today for services and those that are calling in to schedule an appointment.

 The educated dental business manager knows that getting the practice scheduled to goal is more than finding an open time slot in the appointment module. It involves planning the schedule to meet the needs of the patients and the team. When a new patient calls to make an appointment they are in a buying mode and even though they appoint, they won’t necessarily keep that appointment. How they are treated by the person who answered the phone, including how their questions were answered and if they got the appointment time that they wanted, are critical to insuring a valid appointment.

As the chief promoter of your practice, you have a lot of wonderful things to say to the patient about their decision to call your office. However, you are in a hurry to get off the phone to take another call or check out a patient at the desk. When you do have time to talk to the patient about the practice and what it offers, the rapport that is established ensures that the patient will keep their appointment.

There are many things that patients want to know about the doctor and the practice, and often they will do their research on your website before or after making the appointment. During the phone call to appoint the patient, it is critical that you refer them to your website for personal information about the doctor’s education, training and special areas of expertise, services you offer and something that sets you apart from other practices in the area. Just like you keep current on your computer software updates, it is most important that you keep your website current. If the patient does not have access to a computer then an office brochure, newsletter or welcome letter can be sent to the patient along with health history and privacy information.

The following are some questions that patients want answered before they keep the appointment in your practice:

  • The dentist’s training and clinical experience in the work that the patient is interested in having performed
  • How long the practice has been at that location and is it up-to-date in technology
  • If the doctor is a member of professional dental societies and where he or she is licensed to practice dentistry
  • If the dentist has personal testimonials and case records of patients of record demonstrating expertise in performance of their general field or specialty
  • Emergency care and after-hours access to your practice
  • Patient comforts such as oral sedation or nitrous oxide, movie glasses, music headphones, blankets, quiet hand pieces, laser dentistry, etc.
  • Recent continuing education or certification
  • Warm, friendly and caring staff
  • Map to the office and parking availabilityClear communication regarding treatment, fees, financing and help maximizing dental insurance benefits

When we are busy, we lose sight of how the practice is being viewed by the patient because we are caught up doing dentistry. When things start to slow down, we wonder what happened and we look to marketing to solve the problem. On-going marketing, both internal and external, is necessary to keep the practice thriving and growing. At your busiest time you should be saying: “What can we do as a team to market our practice to our community?” The simplest thing is to ask for referrals when completing a patient’s care. A sincere “Thank you for being a wonderful patient and we welcome your referrals of friends and family to our office” should be said on a regular basis. Decide at the morning huddle who will be asked and who will do the asking that day, and make notes in the patient charts.

Make marketing a daily priority in your practice and see the results. Want more training in this area? Sign up today for McKenzie Management’s Front Office Training Course and get the tools for your practice success.

If you would like more information on McKenzie Management’sTraining Programs  to improve the performance of your team, email training@mckenziemgmt.com

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