Most people have many options when choosing their dentist. What will set you apart from your competitor? Give them a “WOW” experience!
Have you ever visited a business and thought “wow, they really went the extra mile and care about me as a person.” You want to create that for every patient that walks through your door.
A patient’s image of your practice is influenced by every little interaction they have with you. Many of the small things practice owners take for granted can add up to a big impact on current and potential patients. This is why it’s important to look at every aspect of what you do and try to make sure, in the end, you’re providing your patients with a “wow” experience.
Providing 5-star experiences for your patients in every aspect can help you:
- Build patient loyalty
- Improve your online reputation
- Earn more patient referrals
- Help your practice grow
Why Your Practice Needs to Focus on the Patient Experience
A couple of years ago, during a webinar, I discussed the importance of being aware of the pathway your patients follow on the way to their first appointment with you, and how the different things they encounter along the way make them feel.
Some of the touch-points we discussed were:
- How you are found online
- How your phone is answered
- What your parking lot, building, and entryway look like
- What your waiting area looks, feels, and smells like
- How the patient is greeted, etc.
In a poll, we asked: Do you feel you can improve in any of these areas? About 70% said they could while 30% felt they had it all covered. This is clearly an area where more dentists feel they could use some improvement.
A good way to look at is to consider your own experiences as a consumer. In the past, you’ve most likely found times where you appreciated personalized service and meaningful interactions with a brand before you made your first purchase of a particular product or service. You may have first been attracted to the brand because you picked up a shiny brochure or saw a catchy social media post.
Most consumers admit that their overall interaction with the brand had a huge influence on their final purchase decision AND their likelihood to recommend the brand to others.
Tailoring the customer/patient experience to promote this kind of positive reaction is known as experiential marketing.
What is Experiential Marketing?
Simply stated, experiential marketing is a strategy that engages patients with a memorable, positive experience with your practice. This is sometimes also called “live marketing” or “event marketing experience.” The goal is to create an unforgettable impression on the patient, which is so awesome they will want to share with their friends and family online and in person!
Take the Suggestions of an Expert
Bath & Body Works, the largest bath shop chain in the United States, attributes its’ success and longevity to the comfortable and friendly shopping experience they’ve created in all of their retail stores. As recognizable as their logo, the candle scents and warm customer-service have become as identifiable as their corporate logo. They have created a winning brand formula in a market where other retailers are struggling.
What Do Your Patients Experience When They Visit?
- Do they receive a warm and friendly greeting when entering the building?
- Is your waiting room relaxing, comfortable, and attractive?
- What do you offer patients to keep them comfortable and reduce anxiety during their visits? Blanket? Water or Coffee? Music and headphones? TV?
- Do you send emails or text messages to your patients as helpful reminders of their appointments?
- Are your phones being answered with a smile by friendly and helpful office staff?
- Do you personally follow up with patients after they undergo a major procedure?
- Do you offer convenient savings plans or flexible payment options?
The Patient Experience Doesn’t End When They Leave. Make Sure They Feel Appreciated!
It costs more time and money to acquire new patients than it does to keep the ones you have, and customers feeling they were treated poorly is the #1 reason businesses lose customers. Make sure you’re not taking yours for granted!
(Customer Experience Impact Report by Harris Interactive)
One of the best ways to keep your current patients loyal is by showing your appreciation. This does not need to be extravagant patient appreciation parties either. Although a patient appreciation event is a great way to create goodwill and foster loyalty, there a number of simple things your practice can begin doing that show your patients you care and get them feeling the love
You don’t need to check in with a patient for a simple cleaning, but if a patient had a dental procedure completed it goes a long way to call in and see how they are doing. Some of you already do this. We see a lot of reviews from patients that mention when the dentist calls them following a procedure. They love this! You can be sure this simple gesture will go a long way. Think about how many people they will tell about this.
Wishing patients happy birthday
Another simple thing your practice can do is send your patients a birthday card. This will be remembered and stand out. Everyone sends an email, but only a rare few send a real card.
Patient of the Month
A great way to show appreciation is through a “patient of the week or month” contest. Randomly select a patient each week or month and shower them with a gift. Then you’ll have something fun to post on social media and in your e-zine as well!
New patient welcome gift
Your new patient will never be more impressed with your office than at their first. “Wow” them even more by presenting them with a nice memorable gift with your logo on it such as a travel mug, coffee mug, umbrella, or tote bag.
Remember to Communicate
In another poll we did, we asked dentists if they communicated monthly with their patients through:
- Social media
- Printed newsletters.
About 40% said they were connecting on social media, 20% said they send a monthly e-newsletter and a mere 5% used a printed newsletter.
The response to the communications poll is the one that you should sit up and take notice of. If you are looking to get more patients and/or retain your existing patients, having consistent communication over a variety of avenues is an area where you can get it done.
Make sure you are communicating regularly in order to maintain top-of-mind awareness; keeping your practice and your brand as the first thing that comes to mind when your patient, their family members, and friends have dental needs.
Providing a “wow” experience for your patients can be challenging and may even seem overwhelming for a busy dentist. You don’t have to go it alone! At Creativedge Marketing, we have decades of experience with helping dentists grow their practices. If you have questions about what areas your practice should focus on in order to get the best results, click here to schedule a growth discovery call.