In the latest edition of Dental Town, Dr. Anissa Holmes outlined some new and exciting ways to attract new patients sharing marketing strategies under three headings: Unique culture, Social media done well, and Relationships. I encourage you to read her entire article as Dr. Holmes has some great ideas about how to wow patients.
Dr. Holmes also outlines her social media strategy and how she is driving new patients to her office including Facebook and Instagram, which Dr. Holmes referred to as “the most effective social media platforms for dentists”. In addition, her office is building relationships with established businesses that cater to similar target audiences and parlaying that into mutually beneficial partnerships.
Marketing is indeed vital, but you must make sure you are able to schedule those leads
At UIC Dental, we agree with Dr. Holmes that marketing is vital to attracting new patients, but also remind any practice that is marketing for new patients to make sure you are available to convert these leads into appointments on the schedule. Patients are going to call when it is convenient for them and this might not match when you are currently in the office and able to schedule that patient.
For example, if a patient calls on Friday and the office is closed, will the office have someone available to make sure this hard earned lead is not lost? What about if a patient is checking out and scheduling their next appointment, but a phone call is coming in at the same time due to increased volume from the marketing efforts?
Voicemail may seem like an acceptable solution, but I promise you that there are new patient leads calling that are not being scheduled because of the highly competitive nature of dentistry. Otherwise, why would you be marketing if patients were already decided on who they would be choosing for their dentistry needs?
No more lost leads
UIC Dental caters to offices with a forward eye for marketing. We offer a service to make sure your marketing efforts do not go wasted by answering the phone when you are not available and scheduling new patients instead of using voicemail. With a guaranteed 4 to 1 return on investment (ROI) in New Patient production, an office can be sure that its marketing will be maximized and all interest generated from those efforts are scheduled right when the patient is calling.
Connecting with Patients
In her article appearing on dentistryiq.com, Mary Lynn Wheaton, RDH, MA and Director of Consulting at Pride Institute outlines several phone skills that every dental office should have. Mary mentions connecting with patients as one of those valuable skills:
“You do need to be sure to “connect” with your callers as soon as you can. And by “connect” I mean not only a real live person talks to the caller, but also speaks directly to the caller’s concerns in a language (not dental jargon) the caller understands.”
At UIC Dental, we agree 100% with this assessment and connecting patients to your office via our additional availability is a cornerstone of our service. Our service offers an instant connection by answering the phone when you cannot and serving the patient on their terms, and not just when it is convenient for the office. Today’s generation is used to having service at their convenience and voicemail is extremely outdated.
UIC Dental Staff
UIC Dental hires and trains staff based on the core values of enthusiasm, care, accuracy, and efficiency to provide an unparalleled experience our clients and their patients alike. These customer focused phone skills, and along with the required dental abilities, provide a patient with exceptional experience during their call. We also stand by our service offering our offices 100% transparency with every call via our UIC Answers client website.
Every call is tagged, recorded, and searchable with our fully transparent process allowing UIC Dental to deliver supreme quality and detailed reporting. UIC Answers offers downloadable recordings of each and every call we answer for an office and our offices have the ability to rate and provide detailed feedback on calls directly to our Team Leaders. This ensures a great experience for patients and the ability connect with callers turning those them into patients in your schedule.
If connecting with patients (both new and current) is important to your practice, contact us to learn how our unique set of phone skills, dental expertise, availability, and cost-effectiveness can work for your practice.
When winter hits, it can create issues that are impossible to plan for. Schools will be closed and many local businesses, including dentist offices, can also be forced to close their doors for a day or delay opening. While school children enjoy their day off, UIC Dental gets to work.
In addition to the normal inbound operations for our practices, we offer outbound processes to reschedule, cancel, and confirm appointments for practices in need. A small sampling of how we assist our clients during weather events is below:
• UIC Dental can make additional outbound confirmation calls to supplement their normal process and assure patients that the offices will be open.
• UIC Dental can reschedule a practice’s entire daily production schedule.
• For practices that remain open, UIC Dental enables an office to work with less staff if needed due to call-ins and transportation issues without patient service suffering.
UIC’s capacity to proactively engage patients during these unexpected situations saves our practices significant time and inconvenience along with retaining production value that might otherwise have been lost. This all happens on demand, in real time as such occurrences are not planned events.
We have all heard it.
“Your call is very important to us, but we are either out of the office or assisting other patients. Please leave your name, phone number, and reason for calling and we will call you back at our earliest convenience.”
A message such as this tells a patient two things – they are not as important as whatever the office is doing otherwise and the office will get back to them only when it is convenient for the practice. No matter the intent, that is the message being communicated and is an unfortunate first impression if the caller is a new patient looking for a new dentist.
This is significant, as new patient calls make up between 8 to 10% of calls being answered by UIC Dental on behalf of dental practices we partner with. One out of every ten calls is a chance for the practice to shine – to start building a relationship with a new patient. Too often many practices instead choose to rely on voicemail and hope the patient answers when they call back – or has not already scheduled with a practice that DID answer.
Dental practices should be focused on how to demonstrate to patients how much they care about them and value their time. The solution to this is quite simple – prove it to them! This is done by actually answering the phone when a patient calls – when it is convenient to them as the patient.
By proving to the caller that their call is important, the office now has the ability to accelerate the patient’s buying process and get them into the schedule ASAP. The patient will be able to stop searching for information and evaluating alternatives as their decision can be made right then – all because the office was available.
There are several options to increase office availability. A practice can choose to integrate any the following internal solutions:
- Staggered lunch schedules
- Front office employee staffed to answer calls during closed days
- Calls forwarded to the office manager’s cell phone
Trade-offs exist with each of these options, as all require more of front office staff and potentially additional salary and staffing for the expanded hours. Additionally, internal options do not address the issue of multiple calls at once or calls when a patient is in the office checking out and staff is not available to answer the phone.
UIC Dental offers an alternative solution – a third party scheduling service that answers calls as your practice and schedules patients according to your direct guidelines and protocols. With hours that cover the time before most practices open, after they close, weekends, and throughout the work week, UIC Dental’s availability solutions are an extremely cost effective way to address the problem.
More effective than a traditional answering service, the UIC Dental solution is designed to directly assist patients with most issues they are calling about. Otherwise, practice staff can get caught in a game of phone-tag spending extra time and possibly losing out when potential new patients have already scheduled elsewhere according to need.
The bottom line is availability matters for dental offices! It matters in providing exceptional customer service to your patients and also to your office’s bottom line. I challenge you to think of a competitor in your area and call them during lunch, or on a Friday afternoon, or at 5:30 pm, or on a weekend to see if they answer. If they answer and you are not, you are losing new patients to your competitor and adding availability will help your office compete. If they do not answer, your practice now has to the potential to provide this vital service and have a significant advantage over the competition.
Looking for ways to increase your office’s availability and new patient production? Click here to contact us and learn how UIC Dental can help supplement your current phone answering process and grow new patient production. The value of the service is guaranteed as UIC Dental promises the service will create at least FOUR (4) times the cost in new patient production value.