Patient engagement may be critical to the success of a dental practice, but busy dentists don't often have the time to devote to in-depth engagement strategies.
Here are 5 ways to automate engagement so you can enjoy the benefits without losing time you could spend with patients.
1. Email Marketing Automation
Personalized and unique content garners the highest click-through rates in email marketing, but manually crafting behavior-targeted emails to multiple audiences is often unrealistic for dental practice owners.
Automated email marketing helps resolve this issue by enabling businesses to create and send timely, customized emails without manually creating every message. Instead, you can create one message, send it at a particular time, and use it repeatedly.
Automated email marketing tools also allow you to segment your audiences using a wide variety of factors, such as age, location, interests, and even online behavior. Emails are sent according to triggers that you define, such as filling out a new patient contact form on your website or downloading an eBook.
You can often create whole “campaigns” of emails, known as “drip campaigns,” that repeatedly engage your patients to remind them of important dates like upcoming appointments. Automated drip campaigns can also be used to engage prospective patients, educate them on your practice, and encourage them to set an appointment.
2. Social Media Management Tools
If your dental practice doesn't have a good social media marketing campaign, now is a great time to start. Having a strong presence on popular social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram may help to promote brand loyalty and encourages patients to engage with you online.
A social media marketing tool can allow you to automate social posts, monitor activity across various channels, and quickly respond to user questions and concerns. You can do this from a single dashboard without having to log in to each individual channel and manually post your content. You can also expand your reach and the quality of your social content by incorporating user-generated content — like photos and videos posted by your patients — into your social media marketing automation, keeping in mind any patient privacy issues.
3. Automated Texts and Calls
Reminding patients of their upcoming dental appointments with your office is a tedious but necessary task. Dental practices that don't reach out to patients with scheduled appointments often see more cancellations than practices who do.
However, having a dedicated staff member call each patient isn't often feasible for busy practices. Additionally, many people simply prefer to communicate via text and are less likely to answer calls or check their voicemail and call back.
Automated patient appointment reminder software can help you automate confirmation calls and texts without taking valuable time away from your dental team. In many cases, this feature is included in your dental practice management software, but some dentists prefer to use a dedicated program for appointment reminders.
You can also encourage recipients to confirm or reschedule their appointments by allowing them to respond to your text with a simple "Y" or "N," which reduces your number of no-shows and their impact on your bottom line. You should review any restrictions on these forms of communication with your legal counsel.
4. Customer Service Chatbots
When users can connect with your practice instantly online, you’ll benefit from increased engagement with visitors to your website. An automated chatbot is an extremely easy and efficient way to allow users to engage with your practice in real-time. You've likely already seen them on other websites as something like a pop-up in the lower right-hand corner that asks if you have any questions.
While it's no secret that chatbots are automated robots, you can still use them to gather important information from patients and prospective patients, like their contact information and their preferred appointment dates.
You can encourage engagement with your chatbot by using a custom photo of yourself, your practice’s logo, or other unique imagery as well. Then, when someone clicks the chatbot, you can start gathering their information automatically.
5. Patient Satisfaction Surveys
Patient satisfaction surveys may be a critical component for evaluating the performance of your dental practice. It's likely important to understand how your patients are perceiving your practice and how they feel about the care they received in your office.
While your dental assistants, associates, hygienists, and other team members may feel you're offering the best possible experience, your patients might not agree. Surveys are an anonymous way for patients to point out long wait times, unprofessional staff, and other issues that should be addressed as quickly as possible.
You can automate your surveys by including them with patient sign-out materials, adding them to automated emails, or links via SMS. Consider offering an incentive for completing the survey.
Get More Patient Engagement with Resources from Treloar & Heisel
Patient engagement may be the lifeblood of your dental practice. At Treloar & Heisel, we're committed to seeking to provide you with important products and services for your practice. We offer a wide variety of products and services specifically tailored to the dental professional, including insurance coverage, bonds, workers' comp, and other financial services. Contact us today to learn more.
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Treloar & Heisel, Inc. and its divisions do not offer information technology, practice management, or legal advice. Please consult a professional concerning these topics.