Last updated on June 29th, 2022 at 12:59 pm
Fortune Business Insights recently projected the dental market will grow at a CAGR of 6.4% to reach $45.7 billion USD by 2028, which naturally means greater revenue potential for your dental practice. Yet it also means the highly competitive dental market is only projected to get more competitive.
This means, standing out from other dental offices is more important than ever. To help you succeed in your dental practice marketing, we searched the internet, researched social forums, and consulted peers to find 25 things dental patients really want from their dentist.
Get Patients to Love Your Practice
Patients desire and expect certain things from their dentists. Here are 25 ways to meet those expectations and get patients to love your practice:
1. Be honest and clear about accepted insurance
This is a top consideration for patients, meaning the easier your dental practice can make things for patients, the better. On your website, provide a list of the insurance companies you accept. Talk to patients on the phone about their insurance while making an appointment and help them get an accurate quote for dental treatment.
2. Offer financing options
Many dental patients want to invest in their oral health but aren’t in a financial position to pay much up front. If you work with a healthcare financing company, let patients know on your website and help patients understand the steps to get approved. Or save time and increase revenue with a secure, compliant payment solution built right into your website.
3. Provide flexible dental appointments
A flexible appointment schedule may not be ideal for your dental practice. Yet the lifestyle of some patients may not enable them to make an appointment during your current hours. By providing flexibility in your schedule (e.g., weekends), it can make the difference between a patient choosing your dental practice versus a competitor.
4. Offer same-day dental appointments
If you have a last-minute appointment cancellation and want to fill it, send a text message to specific groups of patients to let them know a spot is open. To save time, set up automated text messages as part of your dental practice communications system. Someone scheduled for an appointment a week or two away may find a last-minute opening more convenient, enabling you to fill any gaps in your schedule.
5. Provide online reviews
Just like dental practices rely on word-of-mouth advertising to attract new patients, most prospective patients rely on online reviews (meaning online word-of-mouth advertising from peers) before choosing a dental practice. So, make sure to include positive patient reviews on your website (collected either from your social media channels or directly from patients), and as part of your social media management strategy, encourage patients to leave reviews on your Google My Business page.
6. Respond to online reviews
If a loyal patient takes the time to post a positive review of your dental practice, be sure to thank them for their kind words. You don’t have to go overboard, but the value of reputation management for your dental practice goes a long way toward gaining new patients.
7. Send appointment reminders
Keep your no-show rate low and profitability high with effective patient appointment reminders. To save time and improve efficiency for your dental practice, find a communications service provider that offers you flexibility in both how you contact patients and how often, and automated appointment reminders to simplify the whole thing. If you don’t have such a system, learn how to automate your patient communications with ProSites.
8. Send newsletters with tips and recommendations
Provide patients with oral health tips to keep your dental practice top of mind all year long. Simple tips and tricks like how to minimize teeth stains and keep gums healthy build long-term patient relationships and retention.
9. Provide incentives for patient referrals
Giving loyal patients a small token of appreciation (e.g., a Starbucks gift card or a dental kit) incentivizes patients to refer friends, family members, and colleagues to your dental practice.
10. Offer a personalized patient experience
Patients like to know they’re more than just another set of teeth talking in the door. Something like a small gift bag that says “Welcome [patient first name]” and includes things like sample-size floss and toothpaste is a small piece of personalization that can mean a lot to patients and attract word-of-mouth advertising for your dental practice.
11. Delight patients with appreciation days
Consider holding a surprise patient appreciation day once a month where you give patients a special gift (e.g., a regular-size bottle of mouthwash) to further help bond them to your practice.
12. Have a friendly staff
This one may be a no-brainer, but mMany patients are afraid of going to the dentist. A friendly, personable, and gentle staff helps allay fears. Video marketing is a key tool to help put patients at greater ease before they arrive.
13. Send follow-up emails with dental treatment plans
Many patients won’t remember all of what was discussed during a dental appointment. A friendly follow-up email that recaps everything discussed helps ensure patients follow through with post-procedure care instructions.
14. Provide online forms
In an online world, patients want and indeed expect online forms they can fill out before an appointment. Online forms also save dental practices time and improve efficiency by streamlining patient onboarding, particularly with forms tailored to your practice.
15. Run on time
Everyone has a busy schedule, and no one likes to wait. If you’re running behind, call or text patients scheduled in the day and let them know you’re running X minutes behind schedule. Or consider a policy that if a patient is X minutes late, you’ll need to reschedule. Such approaches let all patients know you’re keeping them in mind.
16. Explain procedures to patients
The more you can describe what a patient is about to experience before a dental procedure, the more at ease they’ll feel with you.
17. Provide entertainment in your waiting room
Many patients will certainly have their smartphones for entertainment and/or distraction while waiting. Yet for others who don’t have such phones (gasp!) or prefer to simply use them as phones (double gasp!), a few magazines, TV, or selection of toys for parents with kids will be welcome.
18. Have a mobile-friendly website
Roughly 61% of mobile users will leave your dental practice website if it isn’t optimized for mobile. To avoid this and give both existing and prospective patients the best possible user experience, make sure your dental website mobile design makes it effortless for visitors to find the information they want and contact your dental practice in seconds.
19. Be confident
Patients obviously count on dentists to be oral health experts. When you speak with gentle but clear authority, you help reduce dental fears by informing patients they’re in the right hands.
20. Thoughtfully answer any dental questions
Leave room in your schedule to answer any patient questions without feeling rushed. Even a few minutes spent focused on patients and their concerns puts them at ease and conveys that you care about their oral health and overall dental experience.
21. Provide a powerful dental website
Many patients will visit your dental website to learn more about a procedure, and most want a website that quickly conveys professionalism. So, make sure your website provides both enough information and a design that instantly informs patients why you’re the dental practice for them. Here are examples from ProSites’ dental website design portfolio.
22. Provide excellent customer service
Whether a patient reaches out to your dental practice through social media, leaves a review, sends an email, or leaves a voicemail, make sure your practice monitors all contact points so that no prospective patients fall through the cracks.
23. Keep your contact information up to date
Patients engage with your dental practice through many channels: your website, emails, Google My Business, etc. When updating your contact information, make sure you update all your contact points.
24. Provide and maintain consistent branding
Creating a cohesive dental practice brand is essential to being chosen by a patient over a competitor because branding continuity creates trust and quickly communicates your professionalism to prospective patients. Here’s what we mean by branding.
25. Reinforce patient trust and loyalty
Patients return to dental practices when they feel their trusted dentist cares about them and their dental health and puts their needs first. The more you create great dental experiences—before, during, and after appointments—the more you will retain patients and ensure your dental chairs stay full.
ProSites Can Help Your Practice
In a highly competitive dental market, understanding and providing what patients want goes far to keep your practice competitive and profitable. Prosites offers services to help your practice retain loyal patients and attract new ones. Learn more about what ProSites can do for you.
How do people choose a dentist?
There are many factors that go into choosing a dentist. Some people may choose a dentist based on location, while others may choose a dentist based on referrals from friends or family. Some people may also choose a dentist based on their insurance coverage. Ultimately, it is important to choose a dentist that you are comfortable with and who you feel will provide you with the best possible care.
How can dentists improve patient relationships?
By providing quality care and establishing trust, dentists can improve patient relationships. It is important to be personable and communicative with patients, and to take the time to answer any questions they may have. Dentists should also be willing to listen to feedback from patients and make changes as needed. Patients will appreciate feeling like they are a part of their own care, and will be more likely to return for future appointments.
How can I make my dental practice stand out?
Along with our list above, there are many ways for dentists to make their dental practice stand out. One way is to offer unique services that other practices may not offer. Another way is to have a friendly and welcoming staff who can put patients at ease. It is also important to have up-to-date technology and equipment, and to maintain a clean and organized office. Patients will appreciate feeling like they are getting good value for their money, and will be more likely to recommend your practice to others.