Many practice marketing campaigns focus on attracting an influx of patients into the business, and the success of a campaign may be judged on the number of new patients who have registered at the practice. However, this method of measuring the success of any campaign is only a small element of the true return a practice should be looking for following any promotional activity.
Long term success has to be judged on several conversions; converting the patient to register at the practice to begin with, converting them to see the dental hygienist, converting them to accept the treatment plan, converting them to join the practice as a loyal and long-term member.
The long game
So how can you ensure your practice team are focused on the long game?
- First things first – make sure you have the right systems in place to measure new and ongoing patient activity
- Monitor the ratio of new enquiries to actual consultations, as a large difference can indicate a training need on the front desk
- Ensure you can measure how many new patients are accepting treatment
- Continue to measure the recall percentage as retention is just as important as attraction
- Take a fresh look at the facilities you are presenting to new visitors to your practice. Sometimes a fresh set of eyes can identify areas that require improvement – after all first impressions are lasting impressions
- Spend time with the team to review the experience you are providing to patients. Break the experience down into its component parts:
- First point of connection eg email, telephone, walk in
- First appointment
- What happens in the treatment room
- Communication of treatment plan, options, costs
- Thanking patients when treatment is complete and seeking feedback to monitor your service levels
- Welcoming patients back
- How can you build value adding actions and behaviours into their experience?
- Invest in developing the ‘soft skills’ of the whole team. eighty five per cent of human communication is achieved through non-verbal behaviour, so spend some time learning how to demonstrate positive communication through body language and learn to interpret your patients’ non-verbal signals
- Encourage word of mouth recommendations through a programme of recognition and rewards for your best advocates.
Above all the experience you and your team provide your patients should be one that demonstrates the value you place on their decision to become a member of your practice.
If you focus on your internal marketing mechanisms as a priority before you invest in external marketing you will ensure a maximum return, not only attracting new guests who you will focus on converting to members, but also driving word of mouth referrals, which in turn delivers organic growth to your business.