Practice marketing: 5 ways team members can get involved
For your practice to reach true success and profitability, you need to develop a large base of loyal patients who accept treatment and refer. Increasing the number of patients you attract to the practice each month and focusing on creating an exceptional experience during their visit will help you grow that patient base and start meeting your goals.
Wondering how can you make that happen? One way is to make marketing a priority in your practice. And that doesn’t mean one-time campaigns that do nothing to foster loyalty. I’m talking about developing a long-term marketing plan that not only gets the type of patients you want into the practice for that first visit, but that makes these patients want to call your practice their dental home.
While dentists should lead marketing efforts, it isn’t something they should do on their own. For best results, they really need to get their team involved. Read on for my tips.
- Help team members become more comfortable with marketing. Most team members probably don’t know much about marketing or how they can use it to help the practice thrive. That’s why it’s important to make them comfortable with the idea. I suggest you examine every position in the practice and the role team members play in the overall marketing plan. Involve your team in the process and work together to come up with ideas that can help spur practice growth. Team members will see how important marketing is to practice success and will want to do their part.
- Incorporate specific marketing duties into every job description. Make marketing an official part of their job, and then evaluate how team members are doing during performance reviews. If you notice some are struggling with this aspect of their role, consider it a sign it’s time to invest in training. Offering training will help boost their confidence, making team members more comfortable with marketing and leading to better results.
- Encourage clinical team members to build a rapport with patients. The dental assistant’s job involves more than just passing instruments to the dentist during a procedure, and the hygienist’s role isn’t just to clean teeth. Both team members should be a champion of case acceptance and regularly emphasize the excellent care the practice provides. As part of their responsibility to market the practice, these team members should spend time educating patients chairside, answering any questions they have and addressing their perceived barriers to care.
Beyond that, it’s important for team members to spend time building relationships with patients. They should get to know them, and ask them about their families and their jobs. Team members should talk with patients about their oral health goals and use their answers to market any services the practice provides that can help them meet those goals. When team members (and the dentist) take the time to develop relationships, patients feel a deeper connection to the practice. That makes them more likely to not only stay loyal, but also to accept treatment and refer.
- Focus on providing exceptional customer service. Patients have certain expectations when they walk into a practice, and if your office falls short, they won’t hesitate to schedule their next appointment at the practice down the street. To make sure they feel at ease from the beginning, front office team members should be trained to create an outstanding experience that patients will want to talk about after they leave.
How? They can start by greeting every patient with a smile and doing their best to make them feel comfortable. Offering them a drink as they wait or helping them fill out paperwork are other small gestures patients remember and appreciate.
- Provide educational materials. Exceptional customer service is an effective (and free) marketing tool, but there are other ways to get your patient’s attention as they wait for their appointment. Creating a comfortable atmosphere complete with soothing colors and cozy couches certainly helps, as does displaying successful before and after cases on your walls and putting out educational materials patients can leaf through in the office or later when they get home. Train team members to hand out or at least point out brochures and pamphlets to patients when they first sign in.
These materials can help spark interest in certain procedures you offer and may even serve as conversation starters once patients are in the chair. Patients may be prompted to ask you about the services they’ve read about, but if they don’t and you see they’ve taken a brochure, use that as a way to market the service during the appointment.
Team members should look at every patient interaction as an opportunity to market the practice. This is how you win patient loyalty and ensure they know about the services you offer that can help them improve their smile and their overall oral health. Getting team members involved in marketing will do wonders for your practice growth, leading to an increase in patient retention numbers, practice productivity and your bottom line.
Sally McKenzie is CEO of McKenzie Management, www.mckenziemgmt.com, a full-service, nation-wide dental practice management company. Contact her directly at 877-777-6151 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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