While dentists perform professional, specialized services, their practices are still small businesses with many of the same issues and challenges. You can be the best dentist in the word on a technical level, but people won’t just come walking in the door. Marketing is key to the success of any business, and marketing your dental practice is no exception. In order for a dental practice to grow, you need to attract new patients as well as retain existing ones.
While an online search by consumers may be the beginning steps in searching for a dentist, on average, 70% to 80% prefer to make a call in order to schedule an appointment or ask for more information. Unfortunately, during busy periods, dentist offices have no choice but to place callers on hold, and when this happens, you cannot afford to lose a connection with patients. If the caller is forced to wait in dead-silence, they will hang up, and by the time your staff is able to return to help them, you find they’ve long been disconnected.
What’s the solution? On hold messaging! Studies have proven that message on hold keeps callers on-hold for upwards of three minutes longer than when being forced to wait in dead-silence or even canned music. This not only helps to keep callers engaged long enough to speak with a staff member while they have to wait on hold, but also allows for a two-pronged marketing approach to both prospective patience as well as existing ones.
For prospective new patients calling your office, they want to know they’re in good hands. A well developed hold message that resonates with callers, allows you to differentiate yourself from competing practices that offer the same services by giving patients a sense that you’re an expert in your field, inspiring confidence in your abilities, and creates a compelling case as to why people should choose you as their dentist.
For existing patients, no one is spurred into action by hearing about having cavities filled or getting a cleaning. They’re inspired by remembering they want a beautiful smile, white teeth, and a healthy mouth. This presents a real opportunity to utilize on hold marketing to up-sell more dentistry to those who are already buying dentistry from you. The idea is to take those who are happy with your product and to sell them more of it or to sell it to them more often. They (and you) will benefit tremendously
What should you say? Educate your patients on non-needs based services such as advances in cosmetic dentistry services to help achieve the beautiful smile they’ve long desired. Your on-hold marketing message can promote teeth whitening, implants, veneers, Invisalign, etc. Do you offer a complimentary, no-obligation cosmetic exam or smile makeover? If so, tell them.
Existing patients are also your best resource for referrals, and your on hold message is a great way to encourage patient referrals. Maybe you offer a referral bonus program or other incentives? Existing patients don’t often view your practice as a growing business in search of more patients. So it’s your job to keep your name at the top of their mind and encourage them to tell others about your services.
Your dental practice must offer a competitive product at competitive pricing, along with convenient, quality services—all backed by a solid marketing plan. In any dental office wait time happens. But unfulfilled patient wait time can seriously undercut your bottom line.