Marketing The Experience

MARKETING THE EXPERIENCE
BY WENDY NIX

Marketing is crucial and necessary to achieve exponential growth in any practice, at any stage. A typical question I hear is “how much should I budget towards marketing and what will give me the best return on my investment?” The answer may surprise you…

There is of course, Internal and External Marketing. Asking for referrals from your patients, getting your name and branding/identity out into your immediate community, having a Care to Share program, all are great ways to market effectively while keeping your costs down. The best form of marketing that often gets overlooked, has minimal costs and produces the greatest results is the patient EXPERIENCE…

All too often, I see practices that are so busy, they forget to “BE”… be nice, be friendly, be attentive. You need to ensure that the patient has a great experience at every single visit, from the initial greeting to the checkout process, every step is imperative to the practice. Every staff member plays an integral part of that process, and if your team has not taken the time to develop and fine-tune your patient experience, then you’re not effectively marketing. In fact, you could be setting yourself up to receive a bad review.

Here are some key points on how to give your patients the “WOW” experience at every visit:
• Ask: how do you know what your patients need or want without asking them questions? “What’s most important to you in the dental care that you receive” “why did you leave your last dentist” and “if you had a magic wand, what would you improve about your smile?’ All of these leading questions open the door for conversations that will help you to understand your patient, how to better serve them and what you can do to ensure they return to you for all of their dental needs.
• Listen: Now that you’ve asked, you need to honor your patients requests. This will take a high level of follow-through and dedication on your teams part. Make notes in your patients chart when they share what’s most important to them, how you can serve them better, and all of the things they’ve shared with you. The worst thing you can do is drop the ball, forget what they said and ask them again. You built a rapport and trust with your patient, now make sure you take the proper steps to ensure you always remain in relationship with them and exceed their expectations.
• Environment: Do you offer a warm, friendly, hospitable environment for your patients? Are you sure? When was the last time, Doctor, you listened to your team…how do they answer the phone? Greet your patient? Converse with them chairside? What is the state of your facility and operatories? Old and outdated or streamlined and sterile? All of this immediately reflects your “hospitality environment” or lack thereof. Take the time to have your team reflect on what message your practice portrays to your patients, and mastermind together on how you can immediately improve in any and all of these areas.

There is no right or wrong answer in how much time and effort to put into marketing your practice. Ultimately, what will get you the best long-term results is to market yourself and your team. Empower your team to go above and beyond and give your patients an exceptional experience at every visit. This not only makes for happy, lifetime patients who will be your greatest referral source, it also makes for a happier staff and a happier environment. All in all, your best investment is in your people, so don’t forget to take care of them too. Acknowledge your teams efforts, motivate them and let them know they are doing a great job…see the transformation it will make. I know first-hand what this can do for a team. Our philosophy at Fortune Management is to grow the practice, you grow the team. And the team directly impacts your patient’s experience. It goes hand in hand.

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