Communication during the new patient journey encompasses every touchpoint you have with patients that represents your brand. Today, our Account Manager team outlines the major forms of patient communication within the digital marketing ecosystem–and why they matter to your ultimate success as a practice. When these tactics are used in combination, you can both meet and create demand for your practice among prospective patients.
Reaching Your Patients Where They Are Online
Today’s patient wants immediate convenience and expects you to prioritize this for them. In fact, 51% of patients want their practice to be available 24/7. Freedom, immediacy and convenience are most valued when it comes to communicating with your practice.
You need to modernize your patient communication strategy if you want to reach customers who both expect and demand multiple forms of communication to suit their needs.
The Modernized Patient Journey
What exactly does it mean to modernize your communication strategy? This simply means that you’re developing marketing methods and strategies that reach your patients where, when and how they want to be reached.
As a patient searches for a new dentist in the digital age, their journey commonly looks like this:
- Awareness, or when they first hear about the practice
- Consideration, or when they take the time to learn more about your practice
- Conversion, or when they decide to schedule an appointment
- Retention, or when they schedule a return visit
- Advocacy, or when they tell other people in their lives about your practice
Communicating With Your Patients on Your Website
Your dental practice website gives patients a virtual look into your office before they first come in for an appointment. Optimize it for patient conversion with these communication features.
Live Chat and Your Patients
Live chat gives you the ability to communicate with patients at any time–even on weekends and after hours. Since 44% of online consumers think one of the most important features a website can offer is the ability to communicate with a live person at any time, this service is highly effective for answering general questions from prospective patients and converting them.
Reviews and Their Impact on Potential Patients
Dental practice reviews from current patients are an excellent tool for converting prospective patients. Honest feedback can demonstrate your expertise, caring and skill as a practice. Use a live streaming feed of reviews on your website homepage so visitors can see all of the positive things current patients are saying about their recent experiences with your practice.
Online Scheduling and Patient Convenience
Show your patients you understand and empathize with their busy schedules by allowing them to request an appointment online at any time of the day. If a patient is searching for a new dentist after hours, this gives them an immediate opportunity to choose your practice for treatment.
Contact Forms and Patient Appointment Requests
If a patient isn’t quite ready to choose your practice yet but has questions about your services, they can use an online contact form to request more information and provide their contact information. These valuable leads can also come to your practice at any time of day via your website so you can follow up the next day.
Communicating With Your Patients on Social Media
At Whiteboard Marketing, we’re strong proponents of using social media marketing to showcase your dental practice brand voice and communicate with your patients. We recommend clients focus their efforts on Facebook, as that is where the majority of patients live online.
Using Facebook to Interact with Patients
Use your Facebook page to post organic, natural photos of you and your staff both in and outside the office. Whenever a patient comments on a post, respond back in a timely manner. This adds personality to your practice and shows patients you care about their questions, comments and feedback.
Using the Facebook Messenger Feature
If you choose to manage a Facebook page, be sure to closely monitor your Facebook Messenger inbox, too. Over 1.3 billion people use Facebook Messenger each month, and communicating with businesses via Messenger is becoming increasingly popular among consumers.
Communicating With Your Patients on The Phone
Even with the evolution of technology and how that influences your patient communication strategies, phone calls will always be one of the most essential aspects of the patient experience.
The Benefits of Phone Communications
Patients will consistently want and need to speak to your team on the phone. Outside of coming in for treatment, phone calls are the most personal interaction a patient has with your team.
Calls also give you the opportunity to provide in-depth answers to patients’ questions, communicate your expertise and emphasize that patients can trust you as a healthcare provider for their families.
Here’s how to ensure your practice provides efficient, effective and empathetic service over the phone.
Train Your Front Desk Team
Familiarize your team with the specific messages you expect them to relay to patients about your appointment availability, insurance acceptance, cancellation policy and any other key points.
Listen to Recorded Phone Calls with Your Team
Not only is listening to recorded phone calls important for dental practice Search Engine Optimization, it also helps with training and reinforcing your protocols and standards.
Remember to Call About Appointments
If a patient has a non-confirmed appointment or cancellation, calling them is your best option for confirming or rescheduling.
Check in After Intensive Procedures or Surgeries
When you take the time to call a patient after a procedure, it demonstrates that you care about them–which both builds brand loyalty and generates word-of-mouth recommendations.
Text Messaging and Patient Communication Systems
Does your patient communication system allow you to send text messages to patients? 64% of people say they prefer to communicate via text with a business instead of over the phone. Texting is helpful for everything from confirming a patient appointment to requesting a patient leave a review to targeting a group of interested patients about a special you’re running on services.
Need Help Building Your Modern Patient Communication Strategy?
At Whiteboard Marketing, our team of marketing experts works individually with clients to build a patient communication system that works best for their practice and patient goals. We guarantee a personalized touch and provide each client with an Account Manager to handle any strategy needs or requests. Schedule a consultation call with our team to learn more.
Written by Anna L. Davies, Digital Marketing Specialist at Whiteboard Marketing, with assistance from Brittanee Anania and Brady Stagg, Senior Account Managers.