The Women with Gorgeous Smiles

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You are at a party with friends and you see a woman with a gorgeous smile. One of your friends approaches her, points at you and says: “He’s a rich dentist. Marry him.” This is advertising. For a dental practice, this can take the form of a single Google AdWords ad, Facebook ad or print ad.

You see a woman with a gorgeous smile at a party. You go up to her and say, “I am a rich dentist. Marry me!” This is direct marketing. For a dental practice, this can take the form of a robust Google AdWords or Facebook ad campaign or a direct mail campaign.

You are at a party and you see a woman with a gorgeous smile. You get up, straighten your tie, walk up to her and pour her a drink. After months of courting you ask, “Marry me?” This is public relations. For a dental practice, this can take the form of regularly circulating, among local or national publications, press releases featuring newsworthy events about the practice.
You are at a party and see a woman with a gorgeous smile. She walks up to you and says, “You are a rich dentist! Will you marry me?” This is brand recognition, and it comes only after long-term awareness marketing. For a dental practice, this can take these forms: open houses, philanthropy, community involvement, search engine optimization (SEO), television/radio/billboard advertising, social media and reputation management. It can also take the form of logo and identity. Identity is anything bearing the practice logo, like stationary, signage and toothbrushes.

You see a woman with a gorgeous smile who you have previously courted. You go up to her and say: “I am still a rich dentist. Marry me!” She slaps you across the face. This is customer feedback. In a dental practice, this typically comes in the form of much more positive feedback, of course. It can be delivered via referral cards, patient surveys, appointment reminder replies, online reviews and patient follow-up calls.

You see a woman with a gorgeous smile who you have previously courted, and she is standing with another woman with a gorgeous smile. You go up to her and say: “I am still a rich dentist. Will you introduce me to your friend?” She makes the introduction, and after some time you ask her friend, “Marry me?” This is internal marketing. In a dental practice, this typically comes in the form of staff training for delivering excellent patient service and asking for referrals. It can also come in the form of thank you cards, referral gifts and staying in touch with patients in a meaningful way via social media and/or patient newsletter campaigns.

You see a woman with a gorgeous smile at a party. You approach her and say, “I am a rich dentist. Marry me!” She introduces you to her husband. This is the demand and supply gap. For a dental practice, this means that there are more dentists in the area than the public demands, and this is true in many markets like Denver, Orlando and San Diego. If you are in a market that is highly competitive, then you need an integrated marketing approach to maintain success. In fact, an integrated marketing approach is critical for any practice that wants to create a lasting, excellent impression on its community.

You’re at a party with friends and you see many women with gorgeous smiles at a party. You and your friends first develop a strategy. The group of you then works the room to be sure that you speak with every one of the women. In the most suave and natural way possible, you ask each one, “Marry me?” This is integrated marketing. For a dental practice, this can take the form of strategizing to develop and deploy the right combination of the aforementioned marketing tactics for long-term success.

What are you doing today to attract the women with gorgeous smiles?

5 Milestones on the Patient Intake Journey (And How They Can Be Improved)

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  1. Patient notices practice’s marketing. Contrary to popular belief, the intake process begins long before the new patient contacts the practice. For weeks, months or even years prior, the patient may know about the practice but never take action to visit the practice. During that time, the patient may see your marketing efforts dozens or even hundreds of times. Strengthen the practice’s online ads, direct mail and other direct marketing initiatives in two ways:
    • Put the best foot forward. Lead with the attributes that the happiest patients love most about the practice, not clinical or technological speak. Examples include “bright and progressive,” “fun, straightforward,” and “laughter and lightness.” Remember – patients are most loyal to the feeling the practice gives them.
    • Hone the services offered. Nix the laundry list of services in favor of featuring one best per ad group or campaign. For example, one might focus on crowns in a day while a second can feature full-smile makeovers. This makes each service memorable at the time that the patient’s need arises.
  2. Patient lands on practice website. Whether the patient learned about the practice online or offline, it is likely that he or she will search online before making an appointment. Improve the practice’s website in two ways:
    • Let the patient land. Be sure that each of the practice’s marketing tactics point to a landing page, not the home page. A landing page speaks directly to the service mentioned in the marketing tactic, keeping the patient engaged and moving toward calling the practice for a specific appointment type.
    • Provide options. Keep in mind that not all patients want to call the practice. Make it easy for all patients to take the next step by offering a way to email the practice, make an appointment online and/or follow the practice on social media. Have all options available on every page of the website, not just the contact page.
  3. Patient makes an appointment. This is the first interaction that the patient will have with your team. Here are two ways to make the most of that first call:
    • Be thorough. The front office knows to determine the reason for the call, ask when the patient last had dental care and gather basic information including any relevant insurance details. Be sure, too, to record how the patient heard about the practice, including the full name of the person who referred them. This will reveal what marketing initiatives are working best and where improvement is needed.
    • Express gratitude. Thank the new patient for selecting your practice by mailing a thank-you card or glossy welcome packet directly after the call. If the patient was referred, send the patient who made the referral a thank-you card. These small acts of gratitude go a long way in maintaining the practice’s well of happy patients.
  4. Patient arrives for appointment. It’s the big moment! Make the patient feel special in two ways:
    • Build the relationship. Whenever possible, the dentist should greet the patient in the reception area, even just for a quick, “Hello.” Patients are most loyal to dentists with whom they feel they have a relationship, so even the shortest interaction is important.
    • Be impeccably on time. Be sure that the patient is taken back within three minutes of arriving. A dentist’s respect for the patient’s time will keep the patient loyal to the practice for years to come.
  5. Patient completes new patient intake forms. This is perhaps the most mundane part of any healthcare visit. Improve the experience for your patients in two ways:
    • Be proactive. Provide the forms on your website, or email them to new patients after the appointment call so that they can fill them out beforehand and step right into their appointment.
    • Brand yourself. Be sure that all forms bear your brand, including logo and practice colors. Consider incorporating a simple design that reflects the practice culture and matches the website and décor. The more continuity in the brand, the more memorable the practice.

Best Practices for Do-It-Yourself Marketing

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Many dental practices prefer to handle marketing internally rather than outsource it to an agency or other external partner. Here are 7 key practices for getting it right when you decide to do it yourself:

  1. Appoint one person to spearhead the effort. Select one team member to be in charge of marketing. Before you decide if that person should be you, the dentist, take into account that marketing for the average dental practice requires 20-40 hours of work per week, depending upon the practice’s needs. It’s probably best to delegate the job to another team member. Be sure that that person is knowledgeable and passionate about marketing. Write into their job description each aspect of marketing for which they are responsible. Communicate key measures for success and check in on a monthly basis to ensure that expectations are being met.
  2. Train that person in marketing. It is rarely the case that a person trained in dentistry is also a master at marketing. Community colleges offer marketing courses and there are plenty of marketing conferences available across the nation. Make the most of these resources to get your marketing person trained up and ready for the task at hand. Alternatively, consider hiring someone that has a marketing degree or background.
  3. Start with a strategy. The goal of any solid dental practice marketing plan is to replicate great patients in droves. Survey or interview the best patients to find out how they found the practice and what sources they use to compare healthcare providers (for example, online ads, direct mail, or referral from a friend). From that information, document a marketing plan that includes only the tactics that your best patients and their peers will notice.
  4. Stay objective. Marketing is directly correlated to other business operations, like staff turnover rate, patient traffic numbers and, of course, the bottom line. It’s never a comfortable feeling to lose an employee, see patient traffic dwindle or have the bottom line dip. Don’t panic if you don’t see results right away or when results ebb and flow. Marketing grows and evolves with the practice and is never perfect or finished. That said…
  5. Stay the course. Once you agree on a marketing strategy and deploy your selected marketing tactics, hold steady for at least six months. This is how long it takes to gather the data needed to determine whether each tactic and the plan on the whole are successful. Change gears only every six months, never sooner unless there is a major change in the practice like the addition of an associate that would require you to immediately amp up marketing efforts.
  6. Systemize accountability. Be sure to include a phone number with call tracking in each marketing tactic and to install Google Analytics on your website. This way, you can accurately attribute patient lead sources. Ask your team marketing lead to pull reports that detail results and meet with you once monthly to review. This should only take about 30 minutes per month, and is a great way for you to see that the marketing is indeed in motion and is headed in the right general direction.
  7. Know when to ask for help. Trust your gut and reach out to a professional marketing firm if you ever feel that the marketing efforts are consistently falling short of what the practice needs. Most reputable agencies are happy to collaborate with your team to fine tune the plan, tactics and results.

13 Social Media Dos and Don’ts for the Dental Practice

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  1. Do follow the rules. Just as you would behave differently at a child’s birthday party than you would at a business networking lunch, Facebook requires different etiquette than LinkedIn. If Facebook is like an open house for the practice, then LinkedIn is the gathering of collaborating physicians.
  2. Don’t forget HIPAA regulations. Here are the key things to remember: First, don’t talk about patients, even in general terms, unless you have a signed general consent form and waiver stating that you can use their case and photos in your practice marketing materials. Have your attorney draw one up for the practice, and keep them on hand at checkout to have select patients complete. Second, do talk about conditions, treatment and research. These are always safe topics in terms of HIPAA compliance.
  3. Do give your page the attention it deserves. Post at least two or three times a week to stay visible. Anytime you get a comment on a post, comment back as soon as time permits to keep the conversation going. Especially on LinkedIn, be sure to maintain a current profile. Potential patients and referrers will likely check you out online before calling, so you want them to see a complete and relevant profile.
  4. Don’t over do it. Post two or three times a week so that you are visible in patients’ and referrers’ newsfeeds, but not so much that you become a nuisance.
  5. Do give others the chance to talk. You wouldn’t monopolize a conversation offline, so be sure to follow the same social etiquette online. Visit other practice pages regularly to get a flavor for the conversations happening there then strike up conversations of your own on your page.
  6. Don’t be self-centered. Showcase patients who have signed a waiver. (See #2.) Feature cartoons and memes that reflect your practice culture. Highlight staff celebrations, like birthdays and work anniversaries. Less about you, more about them.
  7. Do keep it light. Apply the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time, share general, fun and lighthearted posts that loosely reflect your practice’s values, and 20% of the time hard facts about the practice. Posts that are most often liked, commented on and shared are photos of the doctor and staff, babies or dogs (or better yet, babies with dogs), happy birthday posts (or better yet, congratulatory wedding or new baby posts) and funny images or cartoons. Think: What can I share that will make people smile and laugh?
  8. Don’t post the wrong things. Complex polls and open-ended questions require too much thinking, and long posts require too much reading. This is a social setting. Keep posts simple, straightforward and pithy.
  9. Do share plenty of images. Everyone loves seeing bright, easily readable images on social media. Having dental/health related images like these on your page will make your practice appear active, positive and current. Minimize text-only posts.
  10. Don’t be hesitant to open up the conversation. Make it possible for others to post on your page. (You can easily adjust this in your privacy settings.) Inviting others to post opens the door to your open house and invites others to be part of it. Have a personal profile on Facebook in addition to your business page to widen the circle of people with whom you engage. For even more exposure on LinkedIn, specifically, get involved in groups and discussion boards.
  11. Don’t get mixed up. Keep personal posts on personal profiles and professional posts on professional pages.
  12. Do handle any negative posts swiftly and thoroughly. Inevitably, you will get a negative social media post or comment. When it happens, behave just like you would with a disgruntled patient acting out in your waiting room. Respond publicly to the original post. A simple, “Thank you for your feedback, we will do everything we can to rectify the situation” will do. Contact the patient personally. Be calm and understanding, listening intently until the patient has exhausted all emotion about the issue. If a resolution is reached, consider asking the patient to remove the post.
  13. Do rise above it. Above all else, take the high road in social media. Behave with the ultimate decorum and it will reflect favorably on you and your practice.

 

3 Steps to Measuring Marketing Results

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1. Measure Results from New Patient Marketing. Use the chart below to make a list of every marketing tactic in which you are currently investing to drive new patient traffic.

Start by writing down the average annual value of a new patient. This will not change from tactic to tactic, but you will need it for each tactic’s return on investment calculation.

Next, for each tactic, write down how much you are investing annually.

Then write down how many new patients you have seen from that tactic over the last year. (If the tactic has been running for less than a year, take a monthly average and multiply by 12 to annualize it.)

To calculate the return on investment on each tactic, first multiply the average annual value of a new patient (A) by the number of new patients seen from this tactic this year (B). Then, subtract the annual investment (C). Finally, divide that figure by the annual investment (C) and multiply it by 100 to get the percentage of return.

[(A*B)-C]/Cx100 = ROI

Finally, write that figure in the third space for each tactic.

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 9.08.47 AM

In the example, the dentist invested $30,000 to attract $288,000 in production. The return on investment was positive 860%. It is clear that this marketing tactic is working.

With this chart complete, you can clearly see what is driving a return on investment and what is not, and what marketing is working and what is not. If, in analyzing this tool, you see any direct marketing efforts – those meant to drive new patient traffic and production dollars – that are not producing a return on investment, you might consider recalibrating or nixing them.

In some cases, you invest in marketing that will never convert to a measurable return. A logo or sign create awareness but do not translate into production dollars. That’s not to say they are not worthwhile investments.

2. Measure Results from Internal Marketing. In her article, Where Have All the Patients Gone?, registered dental hygienist, Debbie Seidel-Bittke, points out that the average dentist sees 30 patients per month but only logs 2,500 active patients. She writes, “If all of these patients continued to return to the office on a regular basis there should be an active patient base of at least 3,500 patients… [but] dentists are losing more patients out the back door than are coming in the front door.”[1]

In our example above, where the average annual value of a new patient is $400, that variance in patients can mean the difference between $1 million and $1.4 million in production.

Let’s make sure that’s not happening to you. Gather reports detailing all existing patients 6 months ago, 12 months ago, 18 months ago and 24 months ago. Of the 12-months-ago batch, what percentage returned for their recall appointment as shown in the 6-months-ago batch? Keep going back, asking the same question for the next two time periods.

A Henry Schein white paper, The Most Important Number – The Active Patient Count, suggests this benchmark: “If a practice undergoes a normal attrition rate, they will experience approximately a 17% erosion of their active patient base each year as patients relocate, die, etc.”[2]

If your percentages are creeping upwards of 20% and beyond, it’s time to implement a robust internal marketing program. This can include staff training to deliver excellent service, referral marketing programs, recall systems such as DemandForce or Lighthouse 360 and other initiatives to keep patients happy, returning and raving about the practice.

3. Explore Alternatives. Just because production and patient numbers are up doesn’t mean marketing can’t be improved. Always be looking for the best way to serve patients, the most effective way to attract your ideal patients and the easiest way to make it happen while you focus on dentistry.

[1] Where Have All the Patients Gone?

[2] The Most Important Number – The Active Patient Count

 

Top 10 Common Mistakes in Setting a Marketing Foundation 

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Far too many dental practices tackle marketing without first putting a plan or foundation in place. Online marketing solutions like Google AdWords and Facebook ads are available at one’s fingertips, making it tempting to wing it. “Get your ad on Google today,” the search giant encourages advertisers.

If only marketing were that simple.

The fact is that marketing is the resonant voice of the practice. That said, it’s unwise to go to market with an ill-researched, untested message and method.

Here are the top 10 mistakes to avoid:

  1. Experimenting without a hypothesis. Start by setting a goal. Expect well-executed marketing to produce measurable results such as an uptick in patients seen per month or in annual production. A quantifiable goal serves as a benchmark for clearly defining success.
  2. Doing what’s popular. Rather than throwing money at online marketing because it’s trendy, invest only in the marketing tactics that make most sense for the practice. This may mean investing in brand/awareness marketing, traditional marketing (print, television, radio, etc.) and/or internal/referral marketing. Survey loyal patients to uncover the media that attracted them, then focus on those tactics.
  3. Too many scientists in the lab. Stick to two to three key decision-makers who will be with you throughout the marketing process. Avoid crowdsourcing, which is gathering opinions from the masses, as this is more harmful than helpful in a strategic environment. Share marketing designs only after you have finalized them with the core team, but not while they are still under development.
  4. Going it alone. By contrast, a lack of collaboration can be equally detrimental. Let language from positive reviews and survey data from the happiest patients tell the practice story rather than trying to write it in a vacuum. This process will prevent you from getting too clinical in marketing communications.
  5. Lack of documentation. The foundation will erode – and fast – unless it’s articulated in writing. To start, write down the goal and budget. Once you identify the marketing tactics on which to concentrate, add those to the list. Document the names and contact information of all parties involved in the marketing, internal and external. Documentation will ensure focus.
  6. Re-experimenting too soon. Once you discover the marketing mix that seems best for the practice, test those tactics for a good six months before changing or adding tactics. It takes that long to tell if the experiment is working. Patience, patience, patience.
  7. Letting your own opinion rule. What patients think about the practice trumps what you think. Rely on their input to objectively build the look and feel of the marketing. As you proceed through the design and development of marketing tactics, suspend the urge to design with your favorites. Instead, use colors and images that resonate with favorite patients.
  8. Feature focusing. Turn your attention to benefits. Highlight what patients love most about you, not only technology or clinical expertise. In design and development, avoid using obvious objects like teeth and dental instruments. Experiment instead with objects that every person can relate to, your patients most importantly.
  9. Spending not investing. Be careful not to spend too much on marketing. If, after six months, any tactic is not producing a return on investment, nix it. Returns are not always in the form of dollars. Added exposure and awareness in front of the people who matter most can be a very healthy investment.
  10. Overthinking things. Now that you have a science behind marketing, there may be the tendency to overthink things. Set deadlines. Consider the idea that 90% done is done. Have a team member keep you accountable for finishing projects within a certain timeframe. And have fun!

Adapted from KABOOM! The Method Used by Top Dentists for Explosive Marketing Results.

 

 

 

Part Two: Put Your Marketing Where Your Mouth Is

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A couple weeks ago I wrote a plea to Disney: Put your marketing where your mouth is.

And Disney did!

After all, they promised they would. At the Disney Institute, I learned about their signature Continuous Improvement Process, which, in part, includes: Listen & Learn, Measure, Act.[1]

I now see the Continuous Improvement Process as a critical part of internal marketing, or the ongoing process of keeping patients happy and loyal. Here’s how it worked in this instance, and what dentists can learn from it.

Listen & Learn

As you read a couple weeks ago, I experienced a brand breakdown when the guest service at Walt Disney World was repeatedly bad. Regardless of my experience, Disney emailed me a survey after my visit.

I gladly completed it, wanting to get a few things off my chest. It’s likely that happy customers gladly completed it too, delighted with their experience.

The bottom line: people love being heard. The lesson here is to survey patients regularly and often. They want you to know what they think. Plus, a simple customer satisfaction survey is a great tool for gauging how the practice is doing and where improvement is needed.

Measure

Disney took into account my feedback. It is clear that they measured things in at least three ways:

  1. The timeframe within which the customer would be contacted
  2. The value that the customer lost
  3. The value that the company was willing to replace

It’s brilliant in its simplicity.

A dental practice can use this formula to help stay objective about handling unsatisfied patients. This also helps to prevent over- or undercompensating the unsatisfied patient. Finally, it keeps the dental staff vigilant in following up with the patient in a timely manner. And time is of the essence in these cases.

Act

Within two days of submitting my feedback, a Disney representative contacted me. First, he listened.

This is a crucial first step and is often forgotten. The disgruntled patient simply wants to be heard. Now is not the time for explanation or, certainly, excuses. The best phrase the dental staff can learn for moments like this is, “I understand. Is there anything else?”

Next, he apologized. A simple, “I’m sorry for your experience,” goes a long way.

Finally, he offered me compensation for my loss: two days at a Disneyland resort of my choice.

In my survey, I indicated that I felt like I lost two days of vacation time due to a bad experience, and Disney gave me adequate compensation for that loss. Two days for two days.

The choice was like a little cherry on top of an already wonderful compensation. I get my choice of three different Disneyland resorts. This puts me, the customer, back in control of my buying experience. I feel happy again!

How can your dental practice put the cherry back on top of an unhappy patient’s cake?

[1] Source: Disney Institute, Disney’s Approach to Business Excellence

Put Your Marketing Where Your Mouth Is

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The Disney Institute, which my team and several dentists that I know have attended, encourages us to “focus on brand identity, delivering superior value, and building relationships to create loyalty with your customers and employees.” In all that they do, Disney executes a Chain of Excellence: Leadership excellence gives way to employee excellence, which leads to an extremely high level of guest satisfaction, and that turns into repeat business. [1]

This Chain of Excellence allows them to deliver upon their brand promises, one of which is that each of their parks is “The Happiest Place on Earth.” Only when customer service is at its best can that promise come true. It is Disney’s goal to treat each guest like a VIP. And they do.

Until they don’t.

On a recent trip to Walt Disney World, this is what my family experienced:

When we arrived, the bellhop seemed sad and tired. The front desk person who checked us in was so exhausted and distracted that he could hardly speak. We were never once addressed by name – hardly the Disney way. One employee regaled us about how she had been annoyed by how another employee had handled a situation entirely unrelated to us.

A food services employee dejectedly replied, “Over there,” with a halfhearted gesture when I asked where to pick up my order. Another told us our MagicBands just “won’t work.” No apology, no explanation, no alternative.

There was a custodian who simply muttered, “Oh,” when I pointed out that the water fountains didn’t work. There was the guest services employee who flatly told me, “It doesn’t work like that” when I had a question about the meal plan. There were the half-dozen or so employees who told us “we’re closed,” “that’s not on your meal plan” or simply “no.”

(While it would be unrealistic to expect a “yes” to every request, Disney’s Cast Members, as all employees are called, are trained in basic improvisational acting. They are taught to start with, “Yes, and…” For example, “Yes, we are closed, and you can get lunch right down the way here, let me show you…” It harkens back to their commitment to excellent service.)

And, on the last day, as we were leaving, there was this conversation that I had with one of the employees:

HER: How was your stay?

ME: Not very good.

HER: I’m sorry to hear that. They tell us to say it’s a magical place… but it kind of loses its magic after you work here. This is just a job for me.

That was our kiss goodbye, as Disney likes to call it.

This is a classic example of brand breakdown, and we see it all the time in businesses and in dental practices. We make big promises in the marketing messaging then we deliver an entirely different experience. The result: unsatisfied customers, and discontinuation of repeat business.

Put your marketing where your mouth is. Survey your best patients to understand why they are loyal to you, put that message to market, and then train your staff to deliver upon that promise every day in every way.

 

[1] Source: Disney Institute, Disney’s Approach to Business Excellence

Why the Dentist’s Opinion is Only 1% of the Brand Story

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The most common way for a dental practice to formulate its brand is from the mind of the dentist, and it is most typically (and mistakenly) limited to a finite set of items, perhaps the name, logo and sign.

In actuality, brand is the collective perception of the total practice and it comes from 99 more slices of pie, which may include:

  • That the practice has 17 positive online reviews and 4 negative
  • That the phone is answered in two rings when the patient calls to make the appointment
  • That there is a pothole on the road leading up to the practice, and the fact that the patient happened to miss it this time
  • That the practice’s sign is easy to read from the street
  • How freshly painted the lines are in the practice parking lot
  • The fact that the patient happened to score the best spot in the lot
  • The old piece of gum that’s been stuck on the sidewalk right out front of the practice for the last 68 days
  • The fellow tenant who always has a smile on her face and happens to say, “Good morning!” to your patient as she enters
  • The movers’ quilts in the elevators that the landlord keeps saying he will remove but hasn’t yet
  • That the front door squeaks when the patient enters
  • That the front desk team is dressed in matching shirts with freshly styled hair and nicely groomed fingernails
  • That business cards, brochures and other takeaways are displayed neatly on the front desk
  • That there is filtered water, tea and coffee available in the waiting area
  • That Alice at the front desk chooses to engage the patient in light, easygoing conversation
  • That the patient waits 7.25 minutes before being taken back
  • That the dentist himself arrives in the waiting area to take the patient back
  • That the patient feels comfortable – physically, emotionally and psychologically – at this, the critical moment before care begins
  • That the hygienist remembers the patient’s daughter’s name, age and grade, and asks meaningful questions about her
  • That it is fully explained why X-rays are needed and what can be expected while the patient is guided to the X-ray room
  • That the tiles are slightly coming up from the floor in the hallway
  • That the bitewings are extremely carefully placed given the fact that the patient has mandibular tori
  • That the X-rays are efficiently and effectively taken
  • That the patient is able to immediately and clearly see the X-ray results
  • That the X-ray results are thoroughly explained to the patient
  • That the patient is asked if he/she is comfortable before the cleaning
  • That the cleaning is efficient and effective
  • The fact that the protective eyewear is a pair of fancy sunglasses, just for fun
  • That the exam is efficient and effective
  • That the patient hears her name and a comforting statement directly prior to the injection being administered
  • The manner in which the injection is administered such that there is no pain
  • The manner in which the cavity is filled such that there is mild discomfort but nothing that makes the patient complain
  • That the assistant thanks the patient at the end of the cleaning, exam and treatment
  • That the patient is given a new toothbrush and floss plus an extra little surprise to take home in the goodie bag
  • That the dentist himself leads the patient back to the waiting area
  • That the dentist thanks the patient at that time
  • That there are two patients in line at checkout and the patient has to wait 10.75 minutes
  • That the practice payment policy is not quite clear to the patient, even though she has been coming here for years and is not going to ask about it
  • That Alice at the front desk makes it easy to schedule the next appointment
  • That the artwork and fountain create an ambiance as the patient prepares to leave
  • The passing orthodontist who says, “Bless you!” when the patient sneezes
  • That the dentist personally calls the patient to check on her after the visit
  • That the patient laughs and, at least once, seems to have a darn good time during the visit

Extraordinary brand is all in the details. What are your details saying about your practice?

How Tomorrow’s Patient Will Find Your Practice

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Sure, you know to ditch the phone book listing in favor of online advertising, but are you really on the cutting edge of marketing?

Your patients are.

Here are three emerging trends not to miss:

Now on Tap. This Google app is a “a sleek, impressive, and ambitious demonstration of machine learning that sits always at attention, ready to sift through the pile of data your smartphone is constantly producing in order to make your life easier.” (Source: http://bzfd.it/1BMQ0L6) In other words, it may help close the gap between your future patient’s mobile search for your practice and getting that patient in the chair at your office.

Mobile-Friendly Website. You likely saw the news that Google now strongly favors in its search rankings those websites that are optimized for use on mobile devices. But did you know that 70% of searches carried out on mobile devices lead to action in under 1 hour whereas only 30% of those carried out on a desktop computer lead to action in 1 month? (Source: http://bit.ly/1DczmnD) Time to get mobile!

Quit Stressing about the Scroll. In the old days, dentists fretted that website visitors shouldn’t have to scroll down the page to read content. Not so any longer! In fact, “More engagement happens right at and below the fold than above.” (Source: http://www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?1946) The fold is the point at the bottom of the website before any scrolling takes place. As long as content is relevant and laid out with excellent user experience design in mind, you’re good to go.

Keep up with the times to keep up with the patients that help your practice and passion grow and thrive.