In today’s world, people select a dentist differently than in the past. They go online to find “dentists near me”. And they want high quality, convenience and value — just as they would with any necessary product or service. They are not “just” patients, they are customers/consumers.
In fact, one report showed that 69.4 percent of patients would switch doctors to better satisfy their consumer-driven ideals. They also want transparency in pricing, to provide a more honest environment for choosing their providers.
The report identified qualities consumers look for in their healthcare providers:
- good listener
- prompt responses to questions
- easily book appointments
- late and/or flexible hours
- a short wait time
While most dentists don’t like the term “customer,” they must realise that patients have choices and want an excellent experience at your practice. These patients are indeed your customers.
Adapting to the “customer/consumer” mindset
Private-practice dentists can switch gears relatively easily, in accepting patients as consumers. Just keep in mind:
- Each patient is a person who wants respect, kindness, and honesty.
- Patients need your expertise and the highest-quality care.
- They want the best possible outcomes.
Every patient is a consumer who is requesting a service that you are uniquely qualified to provide. The patient expects excellent customer service, convenience and clear pricing — similar to any company they engage.
Insights to keep in mind
The Amazon effect: Consumer purchasing behavior to the digital environment, and the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this shift. Patients go online to “shop” for all their services, including dentistry. They check Google reviews and the practice’s website before making their decision to book-in an appointment. Your website must be appealing and easy to navigate, and your online reputation must be stellar, for consumer-patients to trust you.
Patients have options: Every neighborhood has dentists, and the competition is growing. How can you stand out amongst your competitors? It’s critical that you do, just as the big box retailers must figure out their competitive advantage. Evening or weekend hours, easy online scheduling, or special discounts can help your practice gain traction.
Ask your patients for feedback, then make changes when possible. For example, ask how they want to hear from you — text, email or phone. That simple detail can greatly enhance your relationship with each patient.
Convenience is essential: Short wait times, patient portals, online booking, and parking/transit rebates can significantly improve a patient’s experience. Automated appointment reminders are also very popular.
Pricing must be transparent: Every consumer wants to know prices before they buy. That applies to a dentist’s professional fees, which should be posted on your website. Keep the pricing and billing as simple and straightforward as possible. Your patient-consumers will appreciate it if the numbers are very understandable.
Consumer-focused care builds trust
When you genuinely focus on your patients’ needs, your efforts will reap both their trust and loyalty. Building these relationships will help ensure positive growth in patient acquisition and retention — for a long, healthy practice.
Overwhelmed? We Can Help!
Creating blogs, ads and web content that engage prospective (and current) patients — it all takes a lot of time. Your results must look professional to gain the trust of your patients.
Along with choosing the best image or video, you must use pertinent keywords, the best content sources, and present the information professionally. You must also follow all social media rules in posting your content.
If your practice would benefit from consumer-focused website and social media content, we can help.
Somnowell Marketing has a team in place to develop content that will attract and convert prospective patients. Our professional team of writers, designers and social media experts has worked with dental practices like yours that need content. We know all social media best practices, and can ensure your content appears where your potential patients will see them.
Your practice deserves website and social media content that truly reflects the outstanding patient care you provide — and establish your dentistry as an authoritative source of information. The content will help you promote your expert services, especially those that best affect your bottom line. Dental implants, cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics, and other complex services can be marketed via social media.
By creating different types of content, you can attract an audience from different platforms and demographics. An interesting mix of content on social is essential to making sure your marketing continues to be effective – and your social media continues to attract followers.