What People Are Saying About People & Practice

If you know anything about our marketing mantra, it’s that positive online reviews can help boost your practice’s trust factor and visibility online. Managing your online reputation is as important as ever – perhaps even more post-quarantine as patients research the protocols and safety features that practices are putting in place.

It might come as no surprise that we’re all about the online reviews too.

See below for a few of the things our orthodontic clients have posted about us recently.

“I cannot say enough about the great service provided by People & Practice,” wrote Boris Arbitman from Arbitman Ortho in his five-star review. “As a relatively new practice, just getting established and off the ground, they have played an instrumental role in our success.”

Dr. Arbitman called People & Practice’s SmartReview workflow an “easy and effective” way to gather patient feedback and reviews. 

“They have been amazing,” he wrote. “We are frequently complimented about our campaigns and this has certainly played a key role in building our practice and introducing new patients into the office.”

Read the full review here.

Bruno Orthodontics also gave us a five-star review.

They listed our positive attributes including: Professionalism, Quality, Responsiveness, and Value.

“I researched several orthodontic marketing companies before selecting them,” they wrote. “My initial experience has been very positive… I feel that we have seen some practice growth already as a result of their help….I recommend them. Great company and great people.”

Read the full review here.

Don’t just take our word for it. See for yourself. If you Google People & Practice you read more than 25 positive reviews about us.

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 hello@pplpractice.com.

Image: Photo by Pressmaster from Pexels

Ortho Communication Has Rocketed to Digital During Covid-19, Are You Keeping Up?

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 hello@pplpractice.com.

The Three Biggest Mistakes Orthodontists Make With Negotiating Employment Contracts

In our podcast, The Survival Guide for Orthodontists, we speak with a wide variety of experts in the orthodontics field, frequently addressing extremely topical subjects affecting the industry right now.

In our latest episode, we spoke with Stephen Kaufman, head of the Wright, Constable & Skeen LLP healthcare law group. Steve has been a lawyer for over 35 years advising orthodontists about various legal topics including employment/partnership contracts, disciplinary proceedings, buying, selling or starting a practice, and insurance and government investigations and litigation. He is also the host of his very own podcast, Dental Call, an entertaining and informative interview podcast with thought leaders in the business of dentistry.

During the episode we spoke about plenty of legal topics affecting orthodontics. You should give it a listen by clicking here.

Orthodontics is not only being disrupted by new technology. A subject we talk about a lot on our podcast and our blog. There are also major changes in the business dynamics of orthodontics. Recent graduates used to join established private practice as an associate right out of school. For decades that was the model. But things have changed. Now, graduates are evaluating employment contracts with large DSOs and smaller practices are being gobbled up by those same large corporate entities. With all these changes come all these legal questions and challenges.

In the podcast, we discussed how orthodontists should negotiate employment contracts. Below we outline  the three biggest mistakes that orthodontists make, according to Steve:

1. Orthodontists believe a contract is standard and they don’t negotiate it.

“I have done this 5,000 times and I want everybody to understand that it’s a myth,” said Steve.

There is, he stressed, no such thing as a standard contract.

“Not negotiating can really hurt you,” he added.

There are many reasons to negotiate. One is to get more for yourself out of the agreement. More money, benefits, etc. You negotiate to get yourself more stuff.

But, Steve said that the most important reason to negotiate is because during the process you are going to learn something about your new employer. When you ask for something, the character of your employer gets revealed and that separates good guys from bad guys. 

“I don’t know a single orthodontist who thinks they’re standard,” said Steve. “So I don’t know why anyone would sign the supposedly standard contract.

2. They don’t get promises in writing.

Steve said that when it comes down to it, a contract almost never matches the deal the employee was offered. They usually end up more favorable to the employer. The mistake orthodontists make is trusting too much in things that were said but not put down in writing.

“I trust you completely otherwise we wouldn’t be talking,” Steve explained of the negotiating process. “This piece of paper, this contract, it sets out a deal. If things change in the future. Everything you agree to is in the contract.”

All other discussions, emails, or phone calls are gone if they are not in the contract. Even if you trust the person you are negotiating with, that person may leave. Or the memeory of what was discussed might fail you.

“An oral agreement isn’t worth the paper it’s’ written on,” Steve joked. “If it’s important to you make sure it’s in the contract.”

3. Going it alone.

“Get some help,” Steve said. “Don’t do it on your own.”

Orthodontists try to negotiate and understand contracts on their own and that is a mistake..

“Orthodontists are smart,” Steve said. “But they are experts in dentistry not law and contracts.”

Words don’t often mean what you think they do. They look like they mean one thing but they mean something completely different in a contract.

He also said that when you look at a contract, you don’t know what you don’t know.

“You don’t know what should or shouldn’t be in there,” he said.

One common aspect left out of contracts is moving expenses. You can often get a potential employer to pay for them if you ask but you might not know to ask for it.

“Whenever you negotiate for yourself you are biased and it’s hard to be objective,” Steve said. “A person who represents himself has a fool for a client.”

A lot of people are afraid to lose the job if they seem too pushy or greedy during the motiating process. But Steve said negotiating is an important part of the process so don’t leave it out and don’t make the mistakes he often sees above. 

“The worst that happens is that they say no,” he said but even then it might not be final. “Sometimes the employer is just seeing if they can get away with no.”

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 hello@pplpractice.com.

How Many Blockbuster Video Rental Stores Are Left in the World?

Remember Blockbuster Video stores? How many do you think are left in the world? You might be surprised at the answer and the story of Blockbuster Video vs. Netflix has a lot to tell us about the state of the orthodontic industry today.

We talk about the disruption of the orthodontic industry a lot and how new technology married with smart, targeted digital marketing can be a game-changer for patient conversion. That reminds us of another industry that has been disrupted – the video rental business.

Remember going to Blockbuster Video on a Friday night to rent a movie? Going to the store was an event in itself, with the anticipation of snagging a new release or finding an old favorite flick in stock. But, you had to hurry because they only had a limited supply of movies to rent.

Then some upstart called Netflix came along and ate their lunch. Netflix replaced the shared experience of browsing aisles and aisles of movie cases with their online queue. You could do the same thing virtually. Netflix also did away with a huge pain point for most Blockbuster Video customers – late fees. Netflix didn’t have any. Instead they offered a subscription model where you could keep a movie as long as you wanted for a low monthly fee. Oh, and Netflix rarely ran out of a movie you wanted to rent.

But with their mail-order service, Netflix couldn’t offer the one thing Blockbuster still did – the instant gratification of renting a movie and watching it that day. Until Netflix solved that problem too with its online streaming service. The rest as they say is history. Netflix even bankrolls its own productions these days. Why didn’t Blockbuster think of that?

It’s hard to imagine going back to the Blockbuster Video way of doing things.

Netflix solved problems with technology in a way other companies couldn’t imagine at the time. Certainly Blockbuster, a dinosaur of a company, didn’t think of changing how it did business until it was too late. (Some people say it’s just desserts since Blockbuster had forced all those little mom and pop video rental places out of business.)

The orthodontic industry has just experienced a revolution due to necessity. At People & Practice helped our clients adapt to a no-touch, virtual dental consultations while forced to be shut down. With tools like Dental Monitoring to continue to track treatment remotely and SmileSnap to continue to consult with new patients online that helps start new cases even when they are not in the office.

Virtual orthodontics is something we have been talking about for a long time and unfortunately recent events  just accelerated the disruption of our industry.

Most of our clients have stuck with these advanced systems even after enforced quarantines are being lifted because of the convenience they offer to their patients (and of course the continued usefulness in encouraging social distancing.) Orthodontists see how adapting their practice to the needs and wants of the customer and using marketing to communicate this helps to increase patient conversion rates.

We talk about this a lot in our podcast, The Survival Guide For Orthodontists.

In Episode 16 we spoke with Greg Pellegrom, CEO of SmileSnap, the software for virtual dental consultations that integrates with your current workflow. (Click here to listen.)

In Episode 7 we spoke with Mark van Weelde, Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing at Dental Monitoring, about the role it can play in helping orthodontists compete with direct-to-consumer companies and how technology allows us to fill a gap in the marketplace providing the patient the convenience and speed they are looking for. (Click here to listen.)

Every month we talk about integrating advanced consultation and treatment technologies into your existing workflow and communicating the ease and convenience your practice offers patients with smart marketing strategies to reach potential new clients and put them into chairs.

Subscribe to The Survival Guide For Orthodontists on our website or find it on your favorite podcast listening app.

Now, to answer the question we posed in the beginning of this article: How many Blockbuster Video stores are there in the world?

There is actually one located in Bend, Oregon. It’s an anomaly for sure and its status as the last remnant of a bygone era surely has something to do with its survival. Let’s make sure you are more list Netflix and not the one last Blockbuster Video.

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 hello@pplpractice.com.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Webinar: Why 97% of Website Visitors Don’t Convert – And What You Can Do About It!

Did you know that most of your website visitors will not convert? Maybe. But do you know all the things you can do about it to increase conversion? Probably not.

Dr. Leon Klempner and Amy Epstein, MBA, partners and co-founders of People & Practice recently gave a webinar sponsored by SmileSnap about website conversion – or the general lack of it – and what you can do to improve the chances a web visitor becomes a lead.

Watch the full webinar by clicking here.

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 hello@pplpractice.com.

Reviews Even More Important Than Ever As Orthodontic Practices Reopen Post-Quarantine

As orthodontic practices transition to a new way of operating post-quarantine, People & Practice has been helping clients re-open successfully. At the same time, we’ve also been learning from their experiences.

One thing we know for sure is that managing your online reputation is as important as ever – perhaps even more so.

Comprehensive protocols are being put in place to protect patients and keep teams safe. It’s a new experience for everyone. By asking for feedback, your office engages with families, letting them know that their opinions matter during this sensitive time. At the same time, you learn how they feel about the new protocols.

This feedback loop is essential to our clients to optimize their protocols and reassure patients.

There may even be helpful recommendations that you can implement to streamline the process. Inevitably there will be hiccups along the way. We all know that. Collecting feedback privately ensures negativity doesn’t find its way to a public forum. 

At the same time, we really want everyone to read about the great experiences your office is providing, even with an added layer of PPE and social distancing! Authentic public reviews are at the heart of that.

That’s what People & Practice helps to build for our clients.

We already have a SmartReview workflow in place at most of our clients’ offices and we have rolled out new touchless features to replace the iPad systems we had previously relied on in-office.

A comprehensive marketing campaign of automated emails and text messages gently remind patients to give feedback after they visit the office. We also design posters to display in the office with a QR code (remember those? They’re easier than ever these days) that will send the patient directly to a feedback input form on their smartphone.

Based on the type of feedback (positive or negative) we direct the patient to one of two options:

If it’s a negative experience, the doctor is alerted immediately. Perhaps a parent felt that the office wasn’t implementing enough safety protocols or expressed frustration at the new office visit experience. In that case, we make sure that the patient’s concerns are addressed.

If it’s a positive review, then we ask the patient to post their review on Google and Facebook so others can see it and feel comfortable coming back to the office for orthodontic treatment or to start their journey to a new, healthier smile.

If you think you’re invulnerable to negativity, think again. Even our best rated clients who have never seen less than a 5-star feedback in their years with us are receiving negativity. Patients’ nerves are frayed; this is a trying time. With the added layer of protection our SmartReview system provides, our clients have felt much more comfortable with their doors open. Wouldn’t you?

Six Things to Do to Make Your Ortho Practice Experience Special Post-Covid

Some of our clients have said that they feel they can’t do any of the things they used to do that make the patient experience special at their practices. So we put together this short list of some ideas to help:

Custom Masks – Get some fun cloth masks made up or purchase some cool styles that are available now and give them away during first time office visits as a welcome back gift.

Hard of Hearing Friendly” Masks  – These allow for people to see your smile through the mask. Could be a nice way to feel like you’re connecting more with your patients.  

Big Welcome – When you reopen, for some patients, it will be one of the first places they get to go to since quarantine began. Make it a big deal. Have everyone shout the patient’s name when they come in the door (“Welcome back, Johnny!”). Since you will probably be seeing a limited number of patients at one time, this should be easy to do for the first few weeks.

Patient Appreciation Event: Drive In Movie – You’d need a large field and to rent a screen / projector system. Might need to do a few nights in order to incorporate the number of people you usually have at your events.

Birthday Surprise – Find a local shop to deliver cookies or something else fun for every birthday in your database.

Patient Appreciation Party – Host a Zoom party. Hire a virtual DJ (this is a thing now) and ask the patients to join. Give prizes to patients in attendance and offer them advice on orthodontic treatment. You can use this as a great way to inform patients on your new office rules post-Covid as well.

Ten Tips to Reopening Your Orthodontic Practice Post Covid-19

Certain parts of the country are preparing to reopen after weeks of enforced shutdowns due to the Coronavoius pandemic. As we open there are many things to consider, first and foremost is the health of our patients and staff. Here we present a quick round up of 10 things to consider when reopening to protect yourself, your staff and your patients.

  1. Staff communication about safety – Write up a plan for safety and then communicate with staff to set the mood and expectations about the new safety procedures.
  2. Address staff concerns – Have an open forum for Q&A and to address any concerns from your staff about safety and your expectations.
  3. Patient communication about safety – Tell them about your use of PPEs and address fears and concerns they might have. Have an email developed for patients focused on safety, which links to a document that explains your COVID-19 safety measures. Also think about in-office signage.
  4. Put a Covid Q&A on your website – And then promote it through email and social media. Also make sure your safety procedures are outlined on the website.
  5. Staggering Appointments – Make sure you do not overload your office and staff. People will understand that it will take some time to get them back into the office because you are taking the proper precautions.
  6. Patient check-in changes and restricted office entry – If your waiting room is closed (it should be) then explain how the check in process will work moving forward. Who can be in the office and when? Spouses, friends, caregivers, and parents should wait outside. They can bring patients to the front door and hand-off to tech for the actual appointment. No chairside loitering.
  7. Reduce surface areas and touching – Use a plexiglass separator for the front desk and remove all takeaway material like displays, models, brochures and flyers.
  8. Resupplying – Any supplies should be mailed whenever possible or a safe handoff made during appointments or outside of the office.
  9. Sanitization procedures in place – Have explicit procedures for sanitization and make sure staff are responsible for it. Make one member of your staff the sanitization lead. Communicate your plan to patients.
  10. Virtual appointments – Continue the use of virtual appointments whenever feasible to limit patient traffic.

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 hello@pplpractice.com.

READ: Long Island Orthodontists Continue to “See” Patients Virtually

People & Practice and three of our clients were recently featured in a great article on teledentistry for orthodontists on LongIsland.com. In the article our orthodontic clients spoke about their feelings when Covid-19 lock downs began and how People & Practice helped them prepare for a practice with patients in quarantine.

The doctor will see you now, virtually. Here is how Long Island orthodontists have adjusted to life with patients in quarantine.

So many Long Island businesses have had to adapt to the shelter-in-place orders and shut-down of non-essential businesses. While most medical practices could remain open, non-emergency dental treatment was deemed too risky to continue.

This put local orthodontists in a predicament. While no one would die if they missed their next appointment, orthodontics is an ongoing treatment process that requires adjustments, monitoring, and occasionally, a situation needs to be addressed immediately (think of those wires coming loose and poking the inside of your mouth.)

Luckily, orthodontists had options and they’ve been able to use them to “see” patients using what is called telehealth technologies, or in their cases, teledentistry.

Click here to read the full article.

Planning For the Best: Virtual Orthodontic Strategies To Survive COVID-19 Shutdown

By Leon Klempner, DDS and Amy Epstein, MBA

The shock of this crisis is subsiding and we have all learned that social distancing is going to be a way of life for a while. Businesses have begun to adapt by going totally online or converting to a model that doesn’t include putting people together into a small space. Restaurants, liquor stores, and even boutiques are doing curbside pickup and delivery. Companies have adapted video technology like Zoom and teachers are holding class and grading assignments on Google. Everyone except the most essential workers are working remotely now.

This is what we are calling the “new normal” and it’s not the time for orthodontists to project the message that they are closed for the duration. In fact, just the opposite is true. Your patients need to hear from you now, more than ever. They need to be reassured that we can make this work for them and that we are still here for them.

Our industry relies on in-patient treatment to be effective – there is no getting around that. But orthodontists can help mitigate the impact it has on patients as we practice safe social distancing and even temporarily close our offices. Have you thought ahead to a time when we begin opening up the economy again? How many patients can you see at one time? Are you prepared to see 3,000-5,000 patient adjustment visits from day one when you reopen?

You can avoid disaster by rolling your adjustment appointments right now. We have been recommending our clients confirm, not cancel scheduled appointments. Part of a good strategy to help you continue to serve your current patients and even attract new ones includes telehealth technologies.

There are plenty of technologies out there that can enable us to do virtual appointments via photos/video and engage new patients and answer many of their questions. Here’s how it works:

For existing patients, instead of coming into the office, use a free or inexpensive photo/video conference application like SmileMate and Photo monitoring Lite by Dental Monitoring or even have your web developer include a photo uploader onto your site. Patients can use their smartphone or laptop to upload their progress photos. Review their photos before their scheduled appointments and then keep the appointment via video instead.  Most people have been using these video chat platforms now for a few weeks and are very comfortable with them. Doxy.me and Zoom are popular choices and since HIPAA laws have been temporarily suspended you can even use FaceTime to consult with patients remotely.

Don’t think you have to hit pause all of your initial consultations either. If a new patient contacts you wondering when they might be able to come in for an appointment, offer a free video consult. SmileMate by Dental Monitoring, Rhinogram, SmileSnap and Digital Smylz are all perfectly suited for scheduling a consultation virtually. Although you can not do a physical exam or take radiographs, you can give general information and answer questions about insurance eligibility, financial arrangements and estimate treatment time.  As soon as it is safe to do so, you will be ready to begin treatment with a new patient immediately.

Many of our clients have already implemented these platforms and strategies into their workflow and are seeing success. They create blog posts, welcome videos and advertise that they are “open” for business, at least virtually.

We also have a “Virtual Appointment Resource Guide For Orthodontists” that we are giving to orthodontists as a PDF for free. You can find it here.

Keeping appointments via video conference is an opportunity to reassure your patients that everything is okay and you are readily available for any emergencies or help them track progress so they don’t lose ground while sheltering in.  Most importantly, you connect with the patient, reestablish your relationship, and demonstrate your value.

Leon Klempner, DDS and Amy Epstein, MBA are co-founders of People & Practice, a digital marketing consultancy exclusively for orthodontists. They also host The Survival Guide for Orthodontists (www.pplpractice.com/podcast), a podcast dedicated to making you the authority in orthodontics to prospective new patients in your community. People & Practice builds trust in your practice online to help you get new patients in a digital era by convincing them (before even meeting you) that you’re the practice to choose. For more information or a free marketing analysis, go to  https://pplpractice.com/virtual-orthodontic-practice, call 888-866-DOCS or email leon@pplpractice.com.

Image: Image by Tumisu from Pixabay