Educational (home care instructions, advice on dental issues, etc.)
Scheduling (special hours, staying on schedule, etc.)
It makes sense to involve the whole team in identifying possible differentiators and then selecting those which are likely to be most appealing.
Getting the Word Out
Once your practice has determined what sets it apart from others, come up with a marketing plan that will effectively communicate your differentiators. The strategies you choose will depend, in part, on your differentiators. For example, to promote your practice’s engagement in the community, attend local health fairs and other events, submit dental health articles to local papers and websites, etc.
Many differentiators relate to customer service. Patients who experience them first-hand can then be encouraged to refer family members, friends, neighbors, fellow workers and others to your practice. This kind of word-of-mouth advertising could prove to be the most effective element in your marketing plan.
But if you’re not maximizing your assets, that’s a liability.
And in today’s competitive market, you can’t afford to turn strength into weakness. But that’s what many practices are unintentionally doing.
The #1 mismanaged asset in a dental practice is the patient base. Time and time again, when we analyze practices, we find that they have…
Hundreds of inactive patients due to lack of follow-up
Scores of overdue patients who haven’t been scheduled
Dozens of patients with unfinished treatment
Countless one-and-done patients who were never contacted after their initial appointment
Not Enough Patients… or Not Reaching Out Enough?
Practices typically spend thousands of dollars trying to attract new patients, yet most offices devote little time to rescheduling overdue and inactive patients. Just as your financial coordinator should regularly contact patients who owe the practice money, the scheduling coordinator should designate at least one hour a week to bringing unscheduled and inactive patients back into the practice. If you have a backlog of “idle” patients, then you’ll need to devote significant resources to play catch-up.
Many of these patients will come back… if you contact them and use influential scripting to remind them that regular appointments are critical for maintaining optimal oral health and identifying minor issues before they become major problems.
New patients matter, but so do the patients already “on the books.” Put procedures in place to reschedule patients who cancel and to reactivate patients who haven’t been in the office in 12–18 months. By bringing these patients back, you’ll have a fuller hygiene schedule and an infusion of new revenue.