Branding Your Dental Practice For 2015
One cannot discuss marketing without the word “branding” coming up, because without a practice identity you are just another dental practice on the street with all the others. Studies show that many people simply forget the name of the dentist they saw one, two or more years ago. Even more difficult to remember is the group practice name without the dentist’s name on the signage, especially when there are several with similar names in the area such as North Coast Dental Group and Coastal Dental Group and Seacoast Dentistry. Having no memory of the name of the dentist or the exact location causes most people to pick another dentist or ask for a referral from a friend and start over again.
So what makes your dental practice memorable to patients? Branding, once established, is how your practice is perceived based on every single interaction you have with your patients. This interaction can be planned or it can be unofficial or even accidental. Planned marketing can be direct mail pieces, websites, business cards, logos and print advertisements. Unofficial can be communicated through phone calls, email messages, social media and blog posts. All of these things create a perception by which you will hopefully be remembered in a positive way. Of course, your practice can also be branded negatively if there is consistency in poor customer service or clinical care.
If you want your brand to be high tech within tranquility, you would not only have the latest technology, but you would use it where applicable to the patient. This would be routine, not hit and miss. Many negative memories of dentistry have to do with smell and sounds. You might develop a signature scent that reminds people of a rain forest instead of a tooth ache. A water fountain feature with beautiful background music instead of the drill and rock music on the radio would help to create a tranquility brand.
If you have structured your practice so patients are seen upon arrival, you are prepared, services are delivered with the best care and the patient is out on time, then you are branding your practice to be efficient and professional. The key is to keep this practice consistent and then build upon the promises kept. Adding to this may be to place a post-op call to patients who have had more difficult procedures to see if they are doing all right and answer any questions they may have.
In 2015 there will be more changes to dental insurance, bringing more coverage to more people with policies that are not what we are used to. It is necessary to be as knowledgeable as possible in this arena. Your Business Coordinator will be required to know more about dental and medical insurance coverage, and with this comes the need for a higher level of customer service. The person who answers the phone makes the first impression. It must be a great first impression in order to secure your brand as the best in patient/customer service. Many practices have been improved by having a team that is professionally trained to not only answer the phone, but skillfully guide the patient into an appointment quickly, kindly and professionally.
Marketing a dental practice has its challenges, and it is necessary to decide how you want to be perceived in the community. If your practice has not grown, is stagnating or is in decline, you could be suffering from several management issues that can lead to negative branding. Don’t be the forgotten dental practice in 2015. Take the first step towards learning how to bring new life back into your practice. Contact McKenzie Management today for help with Practice Management, Marketing Plans and Business Training.Forward this article to a friend
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