To paraphrase Chaucer, if “time waits for no man,” then it also stands to reason that time waits for no dental practice, either. Thanks to tech-savvy consumers and consumer rating sites like Yelp, Healthgrades and Angie’s List, patients now have a plethora of information about your practice, all just a click away.
Make sure what patients are saying online about your practice is positive, and it all starts with patient satisfaction. Since keeping consumers happy is often a game of “what have you done for me lately?”, make sure you’re continuously doing things that show patients that they’re your top priority.
Dr. Marvin W. Berlin discusses this “new consumer culture in dentistry” in great detail in the August issue of Dental Economics. Dr. Berlin dives deep into the “consumerism shift,” discussing its causes and many effects. There are many ways to successfully navigate the intersection of dentistry and today’s online world, but the following tips are at the top of the list.
- Be willing to do what others won’t. This may be obvious, but it is essential for your practice to try things that make you stand out from your competition online. Whether that means having a flawless, user-friendly website, shooting videos or generating chatter via social media contests, you always want to be sure that your practice is one step ahead of the rest by doing things that other practices in your area aren’t.
- Provide patient education. “Shopper culture,” as Dr. Berlin puts it, has given rise to more comparison shopping: consumers are always looking for the most cost-effective, time-saving option. Now that everyone has instant access to a world of information online, it’s important for your website, social media and online profiles to be a patient’s best resource for dental information. Not only should your content be informative and accurate, but it should detail the services you provide and why they’re important to short- and long-term health. Also, by utilizing online tools such as streaming video and slideshows, you can show patients exactly how you can benefit them, and not just tell them.
- Stay active online. Other than dispensing valuable information in a crisp, good-looking package, your website and social media pages should act as hubs for your dental community to interact. Spice up your online presence by sharing interesting articles, facts or even dental-related jokes. Simple posts like these don’t take much time and can help generate conversation and make your patients take an active interest in your practice.
- Provide modern accommodations. For many, a trip to the dentist’s office is considered a chore. Anything you can do to make your patients feel better about the whole experience the second they walk in the door is greatly appreciated. Providing free access to WiFi and charging stations for smartphones and tablets can go a long way toward making your patients feel at home and cared for.
With so many opportunities available to leverage technology to help grow your dental practice and keep your patients happy, there’s no excuse not to use them. Being unique, user-friendly and accessible online takes a bit of work, but it will all be worth it just to see the smiles on your patients’ faces – emoji or otherwise.