Do you want to streamline office management? Improve customer service? Manage patient data? Practice management software can do all of that — and then some. From digitized billing to customer relationship management systems, computer software can simplify the payment process and enhance data collection. Here are three ways your dental practice can benefit from practice management software.
Digitize Your Schedule
Practice management software makes appointment management easier than ever before; staff can organize schedules more effectively, monitor patient waiting times and access information quickly without having to rely on a paper schedule. Depending on the software, your staff can automate reminders for patients — reducing the time it takes to confirm appointments over the phone — schedule text message reminders and notify patients of an upcoming appointment. Dentists have experienced a larger patient load in the last year, perhaps as a result of the Affordable Care Act and higher employment rates. Practice management software provides your staff with more flexibility and will enable them to manage patient waiting times quickly, regardless of your patient load.
Improve the Customer Experience
Up to 15 percent of Americans avoid seeing the dentist because of dental anxiety according to research. One way to alleviate fear is to communicate with your patients more comprehensively, informing them of the treatment they can expect when they visit your practice. Computer software can be used to send information via text or email, providing patients with peace of mind before a complicated procedure. You can use reports to monitor each stage of a patient’s treatment whether it’s a checkup or something more serious. Staff can access this digital record and provide patients with more information when necessary.
Introduce Digital Billing
Incorporating a digitized billing system into your practice can provide you with a plethora of benefits. Practice management software makes it easier to access insurance information and file claims, bill patients and service providers and send out invoices. You can identify non-payments and overpayments quickly with digital tools and even introduce an online billing system for patients, reducing the time it takes for your staff to manually collect payments when a patient visits your practice.
Practice management software provides you with a significant return on your investment and improves customer service for patients. Use reporting tools to monitor patients, collect payments and streamline appointment management. Manage the day-to-day operations of your practice digitally with software that simplifies administrative procedures and provides easier access to patient information. H
Emotions dramatically impact purchasing decisions. When you engage with your patients on an emotional level, you evoke loyalty and trust that not only encourages additional purchases but also establishes a patient-provider relationship that lasts a lifetime. Here’s how to build an emotional connection with your patients.
Sell Your Patients on You
Many businesses only have the job of selling a group of products, but your job is more difficult. As a specialized medical provider, you aren’t merely selling a product–you’re also forming a relationship. You want customers to see you as a person they can trust and engage with rather than a run-of-the-mill professional. Every interaction with your patients is a critical chance to establish yourself as the right medical professional for them. Take every opportunity to demonstrate what makes you unique as their provider.
Whether your patients are informing you of a medical problem or sharing tidbits about their lives, take the time to listen. No one likes being rushed out of the dentist’s office, and listening shows your patients that you care about more than just their money. Consumers prefer providers who show they care.
Apologize When Necessary
Always apologize if you’ve kept your patients waiting or failed to deliver your best service. By doing so, you establish that you hold yourself accountable, value your patients’ time and care about their comfort and satisfaction.
Your education, skill level and knowledge are the reasons you’re a dentist or office manager, but you need more than that to keep patients and encourage them to buy from your practice. Demonstrate that you’re a real person by smiling when you greet them and calling them by name. Remember details about their lives, share small details about your life and tell a joke from time to time. Show empathy for your patients and go out of your way to be kind.
Celebrate With Them
Make an effort to acknowledge the special occasions in your patients’ lives. Send cards for birthdays, anniversaries, new additions to the family, graduations and similar events. Though a small gesture, it weaves your practice into your patients’ lives, encouraging customer loyalty. Use Facebook and social media to engage and interact with your patients more than ever! If someone leaves you a comment, comment back. If they post a photo in your office, like it. Encourage them to check-in online so friends and family can know they’re in your office and that you’re appreciative of them. Taking a few extra moments out of your day can add up to a whole lot of patient loyalty.
Customize Your Promo
Customize your marketing based on the demographic you want to serve. Consider customers’ unique needs and wants, and create ads that tap into common emotions for the demographic, demonstrating how buying from you can improve their lives.
Emotional engagement is the golden ticket when it comes to getting patients to buy from your practice and keep them coming back for more. Apply the above tips to evoke loyalty, trust and an emotional connection that translates into more sales and happier customers.
Don’t over-think it
Potential patients can determine your dental practice’s prowess without stepping foot in your physical office — simply by accessing your website. Having an effective website means providing useful, pertinent information in a format that’s simple to interpret, and giving visitors ample opportunity to connect with you if they have questions. To create an effective website for your practice, you should clearly state your purpose, allow people to reach out, make the website fast and responsive (so that it’s easy to access from any mobile device), and minimize disruptions such as animations, pop-up messages, and music. I bring attention to the word responsive as nearly everyone has a smartphone or tablet anymore and they’re USING them to surf the web. Responsive design means your site “responds” to the device and screen size your site is being viewed on. If it can’t be accessed on mobile devices, customers will go elsewhere. Long story short, not having a responsive site is likely hurting your practice.
Content is KING
At this point, there’s a lot of content — and competition — floating around the Internet, so your goal is to tell potential patients what you do and why you do it better. Patients shouldn’t have to guess why your dental practice is different from the rest, so don’t give them a reason to leave your website early. Engaging, high quality content is key here. Content can be across a variety of mediums including text, blogs, video, podcasts or audio, etc. Just make sure it’s free, it’s engaging, it’s helpful, and it’s original. Having an inbound marketer or content generation professional is key here as it will not only help your site stand out, you can also optimize that content for search engine optimization. If you need help with content or finding direction for your website, give our office a call and I’d be happy to discuss your “website wants” with you!
Become “The Authority”
Position yourself as an authority. I can’t stress this enough. Your patients and potential patients are online searching for a dentist near them, who takes their insurance, and who gives them that “warm fuzzy” feeling they want in a medical professional. Going to a dentist is a cause for anxiety. Put patients at ease. Let them know who you are. Who your staff is. Show them around your practice. Provide answers and information for them, too! Why have your patients search WebMD or Google “what is a root canal?”, when YOU can provide those answers to them? You have a wealth of knowledge, as does your staff. SHARE it! The best way to connect, engage, and retain patients is the relationship you build with them. Trust, help, quality service, quality care, pain relief, etc. are all things people want from their medical professionals. Discuss fun topics, talk about yourself, talk about your staff, talk about dentistry and dental products and address the procedures and products that can be found in your practice. Answering questions and being there when your patients need you is something you can accomplish on your site. Do it! You’ll be surprised by the feedback you receive.
If potential patients are still trying to settle on a practice, providing them with accurate contact information, throughout the website, gives them a reference to go back to if they have additional questions. Make sure your contact information is front-and-center, as well as up-to-date. Nothing kills a pleasant Web experience more than a site that takes far too long to load. With more people using mobile search, you can’t afford to have a slow website. Make sure any images or videos you include are Web-ready by having file sizes that are easier for your host server to process, and that your homepage isn’t cluttered with unnecessary elements. Focus on selling the core advantages of your practice instead, and leave the gimmicks to the amateurs.