There are countless opportunities for dentists to not only reach out to existing and prospective patients, but to connect with them on an ongoing basis. In fact, patient engagement is the name of the dental marketing game today. Advancements in technology have made it easier than ever for dentists to communicate with not only their existing patient bases, but also with new patients on a year-round basis.
Many tools exist to help dentists engage with patients, but it can often be overwhelming to decide where to begin. Here are five of the top technological tools designed specifically to help improve dental patient engagement.
- Patient Communication Systems: E-communication (short for electronic communication) involves the use of email and text messages for routine patient communication. With e-communication systems, patient outreach, including appointment reminders, holiday greetings, birthday cards, and e-newsletters, can all be automated, saving the staff time and the dentist money.
- Post-Appointment Surveys: Most e-communication packages will also automatically send post-appointment surveys to patients. The dentist doesn’t have to rely on a staff member to remember to send the survey, and since it’s sent via email, it makes it much easier on the patient to complete – and more likely the patient will do so.
- Online Patient Reviews: Taking the surveys a step further, patient responses provide a wealth of information, and any positive feedback can be used for patient testimonials. Some e-communication systems available today automatically publish positive patient testimonials. This means testimonials will be seen by actual patients in the community who are researching local dentists.
- Modern Website Design: One update that has quickly become a “must-have” in a dental practice website is the incorporation of Responsive Design functionality. Instead of having a separate mobile website, Responsive Design ensures that a website will look, load, and function appropriately on any device. Remember – patients and prospective patients are not always sitting in front of a desktop computer, so it is more important than ever to have a website that reconfigures itself automatically for all types of devices.
- Social Media: It’s not just a passing trend. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube are invaluable in terms of ongoing patient engagement. Tweeting a photo, or posting a video to the dental practice Facebook page helps dentists stay in contact with patients year-round, while giving a meaningful first impression to any potential patients looking for a new dentist online.
For more insight into the best technological tools for dentists, check out my recent article in Inside Dentistry.