In this age of technology, your millennial patients and prospects (one-third of our population) don’t just crave modern convenience; they expect it. Everyone is online, so your practice must meet your audience where they are. Enhancing your customer experience with technological amenities not only helps you keep up with the competition but set a new standard and leave them behind! Here are five ways you can modernize your practice for new and existing patients.
1. Online Patient Forms
These days, as a standard minimum, your patients expect a PDF form they can fill out electronically, print out, and bring with them to their dental appointment. Maybe you’ve even set up a HIPAA compliant email server so they can return their forms safely. At the very least, that’s a step up from using a clipboard.
To make it even easier for your staff, while providing the convenience your patients are really searching for, set up a direct link to your patient management system where new patients can create their account and enter their information right into your system. This prevents rekeying and is a faster and cleaner solution. It’s also easier on your staff while satisfying your patients’ need for convenience. Check with your patient management system like Dentrix, Open Dental, etc to understand how you can accomplish this.
2. Online Scheduling
Implementing online scheduling on your website can be a learning curve that may have a hiccup or two along the way. But this has become another expectation for your patient base. Think about all the industries that offer a version of online scheduling; hair salons, general physician offices, dermatologists, not to mention all of the curbside pick up technology we’ve seen.
This feature can seem challenging to adopt, but I encourage you to persevere through any apprehension. Start small by only offering online scheduling for hygiene and emergency appointments. Tap into your current Patient Communication System and see if it has an online schedule module. If not, there are several third-party solutions like Schedule Widget, Local Med, MyDentalTime to name a few.
3. Text/Google My Business Messaging
When you text someone, what do you expect? Most of you would expect a near-immediate response. Patients and prospects are more than comfortable texting, and if you provide them the platform to do so, they will use it. Did you know your Google My Business (GMB) page offers this option? You simply have to turn it on.
There are also third-party texting platforms you can install. But I recommend utilizing your GMB option as a test case and understand if that is sustainable for your practice. This means you will need a responsible staff member to respond to text inquiries promptly and professionally. GMB messaging can be turned on and off at any time.
4. Live Chat On Your Website
The live chat feature has been around for a long time, but has seen a resurgence in the past several months. I’m not talking about chatbots, but real people, 24/7. In my opinion, chat does not work if you ask your staff to manage it. We recommend 24/7 solutions that can chat with your prospects not only during the day, but after hours and on weekends, when your website receives a lot of traffic.
When you add components like online scheduling and online patient forms to your website, you create optimum conditions for the live chat facilitators to solidify a conversion. We can provide a solid solution for live chat on your website. But when you are researching, pay attention to the live chat provider’s:
- Adoption to the knowledge of your practice
- Willingness to adjust the chats to represent your brand’s voice appropriately
5. Facebook Messenger
At Whiteboard Marketing, each of our seven digital marketing specialists are actively replying to inquiries on Facebook Messenger every single workday. Whether it’s an existing patient or a new prospect, they simply spend time on Facebook and choose to use Facebook Messenger as a communication tool with our client-businesses. It is automatically a part of your Facebook Business page and you are able to turn on auto-responses. But if your goal is to give customers and prospects what they want, you should have someone responding to them in real-time.
Online Bill Pay
Although it can be an additional expense from your credit card processor, consider utilizing online bill pay as a cost of doing business. Think of how it could be integrated into your patient experience from the onset. Other advantages include promoting contactless payment and collections assistance along with being convenient, simple and quick.
Adopt any of these and you will be on your way to offering the convenience both your prospective and current patients crave. Help yourself grow your practice and retain what you’ve earned. Take these upgrades one at a time in order to bend a bit but not break. If you’d like some assistance with any of these modernizations, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the experts at Whiteboard Marketing.