Lucy McCarthy blogs:
I moved down to Cornwall from Bristol over two years ago and there are many people I miss of course; my friends, my family and then some you may not expect; such as my hairdresser, my local Nando’s (I’m still coming to terms with the fact Cornwall doesn’t have one) and my Dentist.
I’d come to like my Dentist and even looked forward to my appointments, even if I am too old for a sticker at the end (note: people are never too old for a sticker). I’m working Monday to Friday, I just can’t bear to spare a day’s holiday to drive up to Bristol for a check up. So now I’m on a mission to find a local dentist.
Here are my tips for attracting a new patient:
- Have a website. If you don’t, how will I know you exist? If you aren’t online, I won’t be visiting you.
Be on the 1st page on Google. I’m part of the generation who grew up with some amazing inventions. I remember a time when we had the yellow pages and Encyclopedia’s to answer all our questions. I also remember having an ICT lesson at school, when we were introduced to “Search Engines” (whatever happened to Ask Jeeves?). As a result, I like my information there in front of me, no more flicking through the yellow pages and calling every single one in the list. If you’re in the top spot on Google I’m going to call you.
- Encourage a referral culture amongst your patients. I’ve made some lovely new Cornish friends and I trust their opinion. I wonder, if their dentist had a referral incentive in place, whether I would be writing this blog at all. Referrals will account for most of your new patients already, imagine if people had another reason to refer a friend. If you have a system in place, does every single patient know about it? Are you sure?
- Make it simple for me to join. This can be as straightforward as displaying a telephone number on your website or telling me how to become a new patient. Can I just fill in a form? Do I come in and meet your practice manager for a cuppa? Who will I need to speak to? How much will my first appointment cost? It’s tricky enough without unanswered questions going through my head.
- Make sure all staff know what to do with new patient enquiries. It sounds obvious, but the 1st phone call is the 1st time I’ll speak to anyone at the practice. It will let me know how easy it will be to book an appointment in the future, the kind of people that I will speak to when I have a toothache and give me a general feel for the practice. Being left on hold, abrupt staff and being met with an answerphone do not instil confidence that I’m making the right decision. Make sure you invest in staff training and have the confidence in every staff member to be friendly, helpful and professional.
- Have a tropical fish tank. All good dentists have them right? I jest of course, but don’t be afraid of looking at what your competitors are doing to make sure you are not only ‘keeping up with the Joneses” but that you are always one step ahead.
As it happens, we can help you with all of these things, call us to get new patients queuing up outside – You never know, your next new patient might be this Bristolian!
Call us on 01872 300232 or email us at email@example.com.