When your dental practice has the website conversation, refer to this article to guide you through the decision-making process. Let’s start with facts, your practice is a community fixture, it plays an active role in maintaining the health of your community’s citizens on a daily basis. At the same time, your practice is a business that needs to bring in revenue in order to maintain financially viable – in fact, we’d like the business to turn a decent profit. That said, the bottom line is that we need to continuously acquire new patients and retain current patients. Your practice’s website plays a key role in the patient’s decision-making process, and it can become a central source for acquiring new patients and retaining current patients.
What do patients look for when selecting a new dentist? What about current patients, how do they decide to stick with their dentist?
The answers to both questions are pretty much the same and you can bet your bottom dollar that patients will make a decision based on two types of factors: Logical Factors and Emotional Factors.
- Credibility:The practice’s website must proudly display the biographies of all dentists, complete with education, special certifications, fellowships, and hobbies. This enforces the patient’s trust in their dentist’s ability to treat them with the highest quality of care.
- Testimonials: Surely the practice has had happy patients that would put their name on the line to publicly praise the practice – these testimonials can be written or captured as live videos and posted onto the website. This is true credibility and it is enhanced further by linking your website to social networks and review sites like Facebook, Google Plus, and Yelp.
- Referrals: When happy patients spread word of mouth about your practice, their friends are going to look for you online – make sure they find an appealing and convincing website.
- Affordability: Patients want to know that they’ll be able to pay for your services – a Financial page is key to allay concerns and also to reduce the amount of time front desk staff spends explaining your various payment and insurance options. This is a good place to provide information about third-party services like Care Credit.
- Insurance-friendly:?If your practice accepts insurance then promote the methods you support quick and easy claim processing, place logos of the insurance plans you participate with, and provide an outline of your insurance policies
- Convenience:?Patients are looking for an accessible, flexible, and?communicative?office – provide phone numbers in a prominent position and include quick contact forms throughout the website where they would be most useful, you’d be surprised how many prospective patients utilize contact forms to get in touch with dental practices.
- Location: Today’s web technology makes it simple to include an interactive map that displays your office’s location on a local map while facilitating the website visitor to quickly get directions to your practice. This Location page is also where you tell visitors where they will park, and how they can get there using public transportation.
- Flexible Appointments:?Your Request an Appointment page outlines how flexible your practice is in accepting new patients and scheduling current patients. You can insert a form that allows the patient to enter a couple priority appointment dates and times and provides a space for them to tell your staff what kind of problem they’re having. This immediate accessibility adds a ton of value to the patient’s decision-making process and it’s simple to implement. Your practice receives an e-mail as soon as the form is submitted.
- Mobile Access: When folks are on-the-go they check their e-mails, look for restaurants, and yes, look for new dentists. When you’re lucky enough to be found on someone’s mobile device you want your website to be user-friendly, you want it to work. A lot of older websites break and are downright impossible to navigate on mobile devices like phones and tablets. Your practice’s main website should at the minimum be Mobile-friendly, which means that when re-sized your website is still usable. Some practices take this to the next level by having a Mobile Site, one that display an entirely different set of options, designed to provide the most sought after information quickly to the mobile visitor.
- Likeability:That’s right, there’s only one emotional factor, and it’s a word I made up to-boot! However, a survey of your patients would prove that this is a key reason for sticking to your practice like glue, despite scheduling and billing issues, despite competing specials and coupons, and despite an unpredictable economy.
- Friendly Office: New patients want to know they’re going to be received by a cordial and kind front desk, they want their wait time to be reduced to a minimum, and they don’t want to be treated like the next patient in line. This of course starts with a comprehensive patient satisfaction philosophy at the practice – but the story can be told online, on your practice’s website. This means that your Staff or About Us page has photos of smiling staff, calm patients, and perhaps a tour of the facility. Remember, a lot of people are scared or irritated by having to see a dentist – this is the time to comfort them. This might also be a good place to post links to your Facebook page, where your community can keep in touch and follow the practice’s latest happenings.
- Compassion:?Nothing says that this practice is compassionate and caring more than a testimonial from a happy patient, your website is the only place that you can place these testimonials on the web – take advantage of the opportunity. Your website can also feature a “Care Statement” where you officially state that the practice is committed to the highest quality of compassionate care, aiming to make patients comfortable and keep their dental health in tip top shape.