We've just come off a busy tradeshow season – Boston, Chicago, Dentaltown, AACD, ODA, CDA... And there's one reoccurring theme and concern that, as business owners, every dentist should be aware.

Dental teams – from front desk, to assistants, to hygienists – are not aware of, or engaged in, practice marketing. This is a business killer and an issue to address immediately if it relates to your practice.

We’re often surprised that our own client teams will often only have some awareness of using our company with a vague familiarity and then zero knowledge of the other practice dental marketing initiatives or marketing goals. The thing is, if we don't help our teams understand our business goals and marketing initiatives, how can they improve our business results? They may not even understand that the business wants to grow and what needs to occur internally to make that happen.

We all want to work better. If there is a low awareness level of marketing and its related goals, your practice can’t be operating at peak efficiency. Your team simply won’t be aware of what they can do in order to improve practice results.

  • Increase marketing results
  • Improve patient communication
  • Increase patient satisfaction

At Patient News, we use something that we refer to as our marketing “toolkit,” issued in advance of every marketing campaign from direct mail to web to events. This indicates the target, the referral source, and the information that needs to be logged into our systems to track results. It includes a sample of the content or piece, and we review these in hard copy to ensure that everyone understands why we’re taking a certain approach, how to handle calls and questions, and the goals of the program.

The problem that occurs when marketing initiatives are undertaken in a silo is that the frontline team won’t know what they are supposed to do when people respond. This awareness building and educational process is the marketing team’s responsibility – only they know what, where, and when a campaign is going out … but it is the business owner’s responsibility to support the marketing team and ensure that everyone on the bus learns and buys into practice goals and objectives. It is simply not okay for a hygienist, an assistant, or anyone who has patient contact not to be very aware and trained on what’s happening with marketing and why. And if you have team members that don’t think they need to know more, you might not have the right people on the bus.

Most definitely it is absolutely prohibited to have anyone handling inbound calls who is not prepared and knowledgeable. This will automatically result in reduced marketing effectiveness. In fact, poor or unknowledgeable customer service results in 78% of consumers spending their money elsewhere.

An important component of every weekly huddle should be review of marketing campaigns, special offers in market, and overall goals for the practice. You should highlight the number of new patients that were booked and have a goal for the coming week.

Last week a client (the dentist) complained to their PNP Account Manager that their new neighborhood marketing campaign wasn't drawing the results that the dentist wanted. We immediately went to their Marketing Performance Dashboard and discovered that the practice had generated more than the minimum expectation for inbound calls for a new campaign, however 30% of the phone calls had gone to voicemail, and the calls that were answered live were being converted at a very poor rate of just 25%! And guess what? These statistics will be reflective of every inbound call to that practice and not just those tracked by a single source. This front desk team needs education, support, and training.

The visibility of results through our amazing Marketing Performance Dashboard is helping dentists identify problems that they may not have known previously existed.

Dentist owners must take responsibility for educating their teams, not just clinically, but including business goals too.

Here are three top tips to improve marketing effectiveness with your team:

  1. Have regular team huddles – Communicate the direction your practice is heading and engage everyone to help get you there. Review top practice attributes – repetition will help everyone incorporate them into their conversations with patients all day long. Review your marketing materials and help the team understand how to present practice attributes. This will ensure everyone can answer questions from patients and prospects increasing new patient flow, case acceptance, and more.
  2. Listen to your recorded inbound calls – Hear what your prospective patients are asking for. You’ll find out in a hurry if there is a disconnect with the way your team is communicating with callers. Provide call handling training for everyone that may answer the phone at your practice. Log into your Patient News Dashboard for access to our fantastic Phone Power training series. Right now this series is available as a FREE BONUS to everyone at your practice as part of your neighborhood program.
  3. Be aware of the attitudes in your practice – Not everyone will be excellent at projecting a cheerful engaging tone when answering your phones, so get them off the line and put your most enthusiastic team on calls. Reassign responsibilities for patient checkout or other behind-the-lines processes to ensure you have the right people in the most effective roles. Set priorities to have your top telephone performers answer every call live and have everyone else on the team benefit from supporting them.

Start now by going back to our 7 Habits for success. Talk to your Account Manager about your Dashboard results and get your entire team hooked on Phone Power. The Dashboard and our analysis reporting offer unbelievable business intelligence that you can share with your team to increase your marketing – and business – results.

And don’t forget your strong retention strategy. 69% of patients who leave do so because of poor follow-up. Is your quarterly patient newsletter on track? Get back to it! And make sure your entire team knows about it.