Or is it in the details? Are you happy with your marketing plan for the upcoming year? Or are you continuing with last year’s status quo … maybe there’s a little something in the back of your mind that is telling you to make a change, make a move, that maybe you’re losing too many existing patients or not generating enough of the right new patients. You offer a good service, your clinical skills can’t be beat, and you run a great practice but … is your competition gaining a little ground or are you wondering what you could do to guarantee better results this year?

There’s a pretty easy answer … identify your value proposition, make sure everyone on your team buys into it, and repeat it over and over to yourself, to your team, your clients, and prospects! It’s always important to review the client lifecycle. Review each client touch point to make sure that there are no gaps, and that each one represents your business positively and continues to reinforce your unique competitive advantages.

We recognize how very important each client touch is. We’ve moved back from our test of an automated telephone system to a dedicated live receptionist – it’s so much more positive and clients value and appreciate this investment. Now when you call between 8:30am and 6:00pm EST between Monday and Friday, your call will be answered live and immediately transferred to your account team. Calls will be returned within one business day and we’re working on making a commitment to return them within one business hour! We have a great team of individuals with a wealth of experience in dental marketing, but over the past year we have had maternity leaves, departmental transfers, and career promotions that have impacted our clients and their assigned Account Manager.

Each client at Patient News has an entire team of individuals working on their accounts: Account Executives / Marketing Strategists, Account Managers, Account Support including administration, design, distribution, database analysis, and accounting … so staff movement is inevitable. We’re committed to increasing the depth of the team our clients have working for them, in fact, many already have noticed: 90% of clients plan to renew their Patient News marketing campaigns and 99% would refer Patient News to their colleagues! That is AWESOME and fantastic news to hear. This has motivated our team and we will continue to work hard on every touch point from initial inquiry through each and every campaign.

Your practice image starts with your outreach marketing materials. Is the look, feel, and message the quality you want representing your practice on each marketing campaign or initiative? Are your messages well-written, concise, reader-friendly, and engaging? Once your marketing campaigns do their job, what’s the next touch point in line? Approach your practice like you’re a patient coming through for the first time. There’s the first phone call. Maybe you drive by. What’s the building visual? The front door and reception area? How is the phone answered? Are you uplifted by your team’s greeting when you call or walk into the building? Do all of these areas convey the quality and professionalism they should, building confidence in the selection of your practice as “my” healthcare provider?

We’ve written quite a bit about the power of your frontline team – and we cannot emphasize enough that when we say power – we mean POWER. They are your practice to the new patient on that first phone call. Their tone. Their enthusiasm. Their knowledge. Their ability to respond to questions and offer great and efficient customer service. Just like all CE, customer service training is never finished. We must all continue to refine our skills on how to present our business. Does everyone on your team know why a new patient should select your practice or will you get 10 different answers if you ask each person individually? Do you have the most engaging and positive personality answering your phone? Do all team members know about each of your marketing initiatives and how to respond to questions patients may ask about your special offers? At Patient News we circulate a copy of each marketing initiative to every person on staff whether they interact with clients or not. Knowing about your company and being proud of it comes via effective and open communication about all you’re doing.

Does your front office team understand the basics of the clinical aspects that offset conditions prospective patients may have? Are they able to stress how not proceeding with treatment will affect the patients’ lives and health? Do they understand that you have a myriad of ways for patients to pay that will be comfortable for each unique situation? Are they able to talk about the benefits of each of your services or handle an awkward insurance question?

At Patient News we do not support a bait and switch – professional training with appropriate scripts will ensure that all staff are equipped to skillfully handle all patient interactions with your practice – boosting practice results for both new patients and patient retention. These are all learned skillsets. Being able to converse and feel comfortable with people comes down to being prepared and educated about your products and services. This will build confidence in your team, and it will build confidence of your prospective patients.

The results of your marketing campaigns ultimately lie in the hands of your team. Yes, you must retain the services of a professional marketing firm that has experience and can provide guidance for your team members who don’t have this type of training or resources, and then absolutely hold your marketing company accountable to ensure the quality and message of each initiative is reflective of your practice philosophies and that they keep your campaigns on schedule and on budget. Make sure that they are available to help you analyze and continually improve your marketing results. But also talk to your team. Get them involved in creating a more positive and successful practice. What ideas do they have to improve your business environment, from the physical to the culture? Are they motivated to help your practice generate more business and more income or does that simply mean more work for them? Do they want more training to help them become more effective at handling patient inquiries? You have a wealth of information at your fingertips and I’ll bet if you ask, your team will respond.

At Patient News our Betterment Project, where we asked the team to participate and share ideas, has launched many initiatives and improvements and we’ve seen a significant improvement in our culture, and our topline success, as a result. Your Account Management team is here to help. Talk to them about your marketing goals and results, about the tone and message you want in each campaign, and to review ways they can help your practice further succeed. Call Patient News for free advice between 8:30am and 6:00pm EST Monday to Friday and your call will be answered live, otherwise calls will be returned within one business day. Here’s to a successful 2012!