When you love working directly with patients, it can be easy to let the patient growth pieces of your dental practice slip down your daily to-do list.
By taking a thoughtful strategic approach to how to recall, attract, and build relationships with your clients, you can feel confident that you’ll hit your growth targets. Here are 10 practical ways to keep your chair full and your dental practice running efficiently.
Strategies to Increase Patient Volume in Your Dental Practice
Make it Easy to Book an Appointment
Did you know 80% of your revenue comes directly from your existing patients? When you make it easy for your patients to book an appointment, you’re protecting against revenue lost due to a non-intuitive (or non-existent) online appointment booking system.
Ensure your online booking is easy to find on your website and that it works on desktop and mobile platforms. It should work equally well for both new and existing patients and, ideally, it saves your staff time, too.
Send a Friendly Welcome Email With Intake Form
Pair those new bookings with a friendly and informative welcome email that includes an intake form to save your patients time in-clinic.
Ideally, your welcome email reflects the culture and personality of your business. You’re building a strong relationship with your patient from that earliest point of contact.
Get Set Up on Google My Business
Do you know what happens when someone Googles your business? Do they see your competition? Do they find a slew of review websites that have outdated information about your business? Obviously, neither of those results is ideal.
A free Google My Business account can do a lot of heavy lifting for you when it comes to driving patients directly to key information about your business, including your phone number, location, hours, reviews, and website.
This is a free service from Google that allows you to appear prominently when people search for your business on Google or in Google Maps. It’s an easy spot to update your hours, for example, if they change due to fluctuating COVID-19 precautions, and it’s simple to set up and keep updated.
Use Custom Recall Reminders
Not all recall reminders are created equal. A customized, scheduled patient appointment reminder reaches your customer exactly as they’d like to be reached: via text message, email, or a phone call—all in their preferred language.
We’ve found that 82% of dentists’ revenue comes from their recall system. If your reminders aren’t working, or if you don’t have an automated system in place, you might be losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue annually.
Build a Meaningful Relationship With Patients
Once you’ve attracted a new patient, one of the most important things you can do to retain them and convince them to tell their friends about you is to build a meaningful relationship. What this relationship looks like will be unique to your practice, your staff, and your personality, but overall it should be warm, welcoming, and professional.
Build your relationship with both tangible and intangible actions. For example:
- Welcome your new patient by name and with a smile, and build rapport with them as you build their medical history
- Do your very best to be on time and don’t overlook the impact of being even a few minutes late
- Offer extra comforts during their appointment, like the option to watch streaming TV with noise-cancelling headphones (and disposable sanitary covers) during their procedure
- Consider sending gifts, especially following costly procedures that typically leave a patient feeling discomfort for a few days after. A thoughtfully timed pint of locally churned ice cream or a bright bouquet of flowers can go a long way toward a client mentioning you to everyone they see for the next two weeks.
Establish Yourself as an Expert Online & Face to Face
While your patient assumes you know what you’re doing when it comes to dentistry, establishing yourself as an expert in niche areas can increase their confidence in your work, plus attract new patients.
Consider writing blog posts for your website on dentistry trends, emerging science, and other topics, particularly those you think your ideal client might be searching for online.
For example, If you’re an expert in family dentistry, you might choose to write about things a mom or dad may be Googling, like:
- The right timing for orthodontics
- Hacks for teaching kids to brush and floss effectively
- The best healthy, kid-friendly snacks for supporting strong teeth
- The science on fluoride
Done right, these blog posts reach beyond your current patients to attract new people on the search for a great dentist.
That’s because Google highly values websites it believes show expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. If it determines you’ve got this, you’re more likely to rank highly in Google search results, which means more people can find you more easily.
Read & Respond to All Online Reviews
Your online reputation is essential to whether people who come across your practice decide to book an appointment. In fact, 90% of consumers say they’ll choose a product based on positive reviews alone.
But don’t just allow the reviews to live out there on the internet. Consumers say they consider businesses that respond to reviews to be 1.7x more trustworthy than those that don’t.
Ensure you’re aware of all online reviews about your business and respond to them in a timely manner. Google reviews are a great place to start, since they’re likely to show up prominently when someone searches for your business.
Reply to both positive and negative reviews so that people reading them know that you value their feedback. For negative reviews, a timely response is key. You can also follow these best practices:
- Acknowledge the reviewer’s experience and apologize for the situation, even if you don’t think you did anything wrong
- If possible, offer a solution, like new staff training or a new software you’re going to use to overcome the problem they encountered
- If it’s a situation that can’t be solved in this medium, take the conversation offline by offering a way to contact you directly, via phone or email
- Sign off with your name and your title, so readers know who they’re hearing from
Invest in Email Marketing
Effective marketing brings new clients into your chair, but diving into the world of marketing can be overwhelming. We get it—and we have a great blog post about budgeting for dental practice marketing.
One of the highest-impact marketing pieces right now is email marketing. Great email marketing can produce a return on investment of up to $44 for every dollar you spend.
If you’re not already using email marketing, now is the perfect time to talk to your marketing team about integrating it into your marketing strategy. As soon as possible, ensure you’re collecting email addresses (and permission) from all of your current patients.
Highlight Your Unique Features
Don’t take for granted that all your patients know about your investment in top technology, your expertise, or your specialty services.
Beyond your excellence in standard dentistry offerings, be sure to make clear on your website and in conversations with patients anything you do that sets you apart from your competition. They may need a specialty service in the future and you want to be their first thought.
Use Exceptional Recall Software
Ultimately, the most effective and quickest way to increase patient volume in your dental practice is to use the comprehensive recall solution that is RecallMax™.
RecallMax™ isn’t just appointment reminders and automated messaging (though we do that very well). It’s also an online booking system with integrated patient forms, timely cancellation recovery, patient surveys, welcome emails, call scripts, and more. It’s all designed to help you grow a more efficient and profitable dental practice.
Make it Happen in Your Practice
We’ve seen firsthand that practices that introduce RecallMax™ typically see a 15-20% increase in revenue in the first year alone.
If you’re ready to start capitalizing on the full potential of your practice, contact us for a free trial of RecallMax™ today.