How Do I Find and Attract New Dental Patients?
Want to get more dental patients in the door without spending a lot on marketing? We’ve got you covered.
Acquiring new patients is tricky. According to data from Call Tracker ROI, the typical dental office only converts about one-third of new patient calls into an appointment. That means approximately 67% of new patient calls are lost potential! Furthermore, nearly 20% of all new patient calls go to voicemail because the front office is generally overwhelmed with juggling multiple phone lines and mountains of paperwork. Unfortunately, potential patients who call a dental practice and get the answering machine will go straight to the next highly rated dentist on their list. It’s metrics like these that can make both new and established practices rush to increase their marketing budgets ASAP—and understandably so.
But before you invest in paid ads and SEO, there are likely several quick-win actions you can take now to enhance your patients’ experience and turn them into advocates of your practice. In the words of Dr. Gina Dorfman, “Creating a remarkable patient experience that transforms your patients into your raving fans can help you attract the patients you want and double your new-patient growth without increasing your marketing budget.” In addition, your practice can enhance the patient experience by automating specific admin tasks and ensuring that their first contact with the office, whether through a person or online, is seamless and positive.
Read on for our five top tips to get new dental patients now.
We get it; some dental practices are still hesitant about going paperless. However, automating paperwork makes it easier for new patients to complete forms on their own time and not worry about forgetting them at home and showing up for an appointment feeling unprepared and stressed.
Products such as True Paperless by YAPI allow your office to make new patient forms accessible on your website or allow you to share them through email. Once patients the forms and send them back, the front office can quickly review and import the data into your practice management software. This seamless process will put new patients at ease and make them think of your practice in a favorable light.
Refresh Your Phone Etiquette
The initial phone conversation with a potential patient is an excellent opportunity to establish a relationship and educate them on your practice’s value. Even if new patients read about your practice on a review site, such as Google My Business, they will likely still want to hear from your office to get an impression before making that first appointment.
With new business on the line, therefore, it’s critical that whoever answers your phones exudes a warm, caring, and trustworthy personality and can communicate precisely why your dentists are the best at what they do. How well your team handles the initial call will undoubtedly influence the patient’s decision to schedule—and keep—an appointment. For example, stop putting callers on hold if you can avoid it; this gives the message that they are not the priority, and you run the risk of getting distracted and forgetting to continue the call.
Automate Review Requests
Another reason to have the best-trained people on the phones is that they will likely be the ones asking satisfied patients for reviews on sites such as Google My Business or HealthGrades. And the more reviews you get, the more likely you are to attract new patients.
To increase the number of reviews for your practice, we recommend using an automated review request platform in addition to requests over the phone. Products such as InstaReview by YAPI lessen the dependence on manual follow-up; instead, your office can send out review requests to patients through text, encouraging them to leave a review on your preferred platform.
Offer Online Scheduling
According to a 2019 Accenture survey, 68% of customers said they would choose a medical provider that offers online booking. It could be the case that those new patients interested in making an appointment with your practice see that you don’t offer online scheduling and move on. In addition, patients that can’t call your office during business hours will want the option of booking online when it’s most convenient for them. Online scheduling services such as Smart Scheduling by YAPI make it easy to embed a booking link on your homepage or in your social media profiles for after-hours appointment scheduling.
Create a Referral Program
Chances are you have more than a few happy existing patients. Capitalize on their satisfaction by creating an official referral campaign for friends and family of existing patients. In addition, you can send email reminders about referrals during slower periods, such as in the fall or spring, and offer incentives such as gift cards to local businesses or movie tickets. Not an email pro? Companies such as YAPI offer newsletter templates that can be used as part of a referral campaign.
Whether you’re a new dental practice or an established one, ensuring the patient experience is seamless from the initial point of contact to when they walk in the door will help you acquire—and keep—patients for years to come.