Even before we had to adapt to the new way of doing business due to Covid-19, the patient experience had been evolving. As a matter of fact, the pandemic has only expedited the process of change, rocketing communication and the burden of legitimising your practice (through trust-building and education) towards the digital realm.
Most practices at a minimum have a website (although there are more than you might think who don’t or have one that hasn’t been updated in five years and it shows). That web page along with a telephone number and email address just aren’t enough anymore. You have to be communicating on multiple channels all at once and capturing leads through those channels in a smart way that funnels qualified patients right to your front desk. Don’t rely on outdated modes of communication, especially now that consumers have had months to get used to the ease and speed at which businesses can communicate with them virtually, and on their schedules.
Recent studies support this. About half of consumers believe that companies have to transform how they engage with them and almost 70% place their experience with a company on par with the services it provides, meaning a patient is not just going to choose your practice because you will give them braces to straighten their teeth. They also want to feel like you care about them and that you respect their lifestyle, which can vary from alternative to hectic.
Today, the patient experience rarely, if ever, begins in office (and again Covid-19 has made the in-person experience a rarer thing, only done when necessary). Packed waiting rooms with a mix of patients and new cases waiting to be seen during your practice’s limited hours of business are a thing of the past. Tools to perform virtual consultations, digital treatment monitoring, and communication through HIPAA-compliant text messages are being used by orthodontists nationwide right now, and not just to limit the number of people in the office at one time. These tools are being put in place permanently because patients see them as convenient. They have adapted to a new world. So should you.
The toolbox for marketing your practice and projecting its value to potential new clients has expanded. Orthodontists cannot just sit around waiting for the phone to ring. They must be actively engaged with their marketing program through social media, reputation management, and other types of outbound communication tools like SMS (texting) and email automations that will guide patients through a customer journey that results in an appointment booked through your online portal (yeah, you’re going to need one of these.)
Response time is also highly valued by consumers. A majority of consumers say they want a response from a social media inquiry within 24 hours. That means you have to be actively monitoring inbound communications on every platform. And don’t forget to add a number that is textable to your online business listings (including Google Business), on your social media accounts, and your website.
Worried about taking the human touch out of your sales process? Don’t. Even pre-Covis-19, 60% of buying decisions were made before a consumer spoke with an actual sales person. That percentage has probably only grown higher as we seek ways to avoid face-to-face contact and work on our own schedules, often not the same times your front desk is in the office.
People & Practice is the expert at not just gathering leads (any old marketing company can deliver wheelbarrows full of leads to you), but also making sure those leads are qualified, local, and ready for your services. That’s the difference maker. We spend time ensuring you’re reaching the right people in your local market who want to buy your services, capturing those leads and funneling them to you in a way that is organized and effective. We don’t just deliver a list of names, we deliver conversions.
If you want to know more about how to supercharge your marketing and increase patient starts for your practice, contact People & Practice today by clicking here to request a free marketing analysis or call 888.866.DOCS, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.