With months of closure, some of your active patients inevitably fell through the cracks.
Appointments were missed, many patients haven’t yet rescheduled, and that means reminders can’t go out. And then there are new patients. Months of closure have to have a significant impact on future scheduling because that previously steady flow of new patients didn’t happen for a few months.
Now we’ve had some pretty good months of patient activity. Our clients reached 100% of pre-pandemic production levels through the summer; some had their highest production months ever. Early September looked sketchy, but the last weeks of September were back up again. That has to say something about being patient- and marketing-centric. Now, once again, our clients are hovering around 100% pre-COVID production levels, while the industry as a whole is reporting 75% achievement.
So the industry chat is now an expectation for big gaps in fall/winter schedules. Will that impact Patient NEWS clients who are proactively sending patient newsletters, updating their websites and online presence, engaging in paid media, and sending direct mail to their communities? I think those practices will end up with the upper hand in their markets.
But what about you who are reading this blog?
What does your October/November schedule look like?
Are you worried about the lack of new patients?
Does it make you nervous?
Don’t let it. Put a plan in place. You’ll immediately feel better. A little action now will ensure you get patient flow and production back on track and with a trajectory of growth into 2021. It’s that time of year that we have to start considering the last quarter and how it will impact Q1 of 2021.
It just takes a pad of paper and a priority list. What do you need to do for your practice to further engage active patients and attract a few more new patients in the short to midterm?
Here are 5 things top dentists do regularly:
- Refresh the practice brand & be ready to engage patients and prospects
- Review competitors & look at their offers
- Benchmark & monitor key performance metrics
- Implement enhanced value-add patient communications
- Set required new-patient goals.
The team at Patient NEWS cares. We are passionate about helping our clients improve practice performance and recover from COVID closures. We’d love to talk to you about your current situation and share what other successful offices are doing and how these ideas and solutions could help your practice.
Refreshing Your Brand
Consider these questions: What do patients find when they look us up online? Is our website as modern and up-to-date as our practice and services? Do you have a lot of new positive reviews that emphasize how safe your office is and how awesome your team are? What do people in your target audience know about your practice? Do patients know you accept referrals? Do patients know all the services you have available right now? What is your brand image? What would you like it to be? How do new patients find out about you and know your services are ideal for them?
Take a moment to refresh your brand so patients and prospects know you’re the best in your area.
Consider these questions: Why would a new patient choose your practice over the office on the corner? Or the 52 others that are one block away? What new-patient offers are luring your patients back from COVID isolation to dental visits with them instead of you? What are your competitive advantages and how can you best share these with patients and prospects so that your practice stands out above the rest?
Invest the time in knowing your competitors and what may stand out to patients from your practice.
Consider these questions: Are you worried you’re losing more patients that you’re gaining? Do you know if you had a net gain or loss of patients in the last 6 months? Do you know exactly how much a new patient contributes versus an average active patient? Do you know how to quantify your production gap and project what’s needed to determine next steps? Do you know how many treatments you presented last month and the percentage converted? Can you compare that to the past 12 months? Do you know how many patients haven’t seen you in the past 9 months? Do you know who they are?
Knowing and measuring the right KPIs will help you achieve results.
Value-added Patient Communication
Consider these questions: How can we improve our patient experience (PX) so that more patients reschedule, return, and refer? What services do we need patients to better understand so that they value what we’re investing? How can we educate our patients and reassure more patients that its safe to return. If industry-wide, 85% of patients who had a visit in 2019 are “ready” to return “with encouragement from the dentist,” what percentage of our patients have come back? Is there a gap?
Keeping existing patients engaged and connected to your practice is very important. Focus on your PX.
New Patient Goals
Consider these questions: If a new patient contributes twice as much to annual production as an active patient, how can we add more of them? If patients leave our practice due to natural causes like job change, home moves, death … at the nationwide rate of 15-20% each year, how can we maintain practice production? What happens if we don’t refresh our patient base and then the base begins to age after having been a new patient 5-10 years ago … and more start lapsing? Do we want to provide dental care to more quality patients in our neighborhood? What will happen to our schedule in 6 months if we don’t focus on new-patient flow right now? For new patients who we are seeing now, could we incentivize a second visit to turn them into practice advocates?
New patients contribute twice as much production as active patients, and for growth, the average practice needs to add around 600 new patients per year per doctor.
That’s it. It just takes a pad of paper and a priority list. Decide what you can do now to help your practice further engage active patients and attract a few more new patients in the short to midterm.
Again, the team at Patient NEWS is here to help. Our clients are posting record production and we can help you do it too.