Dentistry has become a very competitive field. How do patients decide which practice is right for them when they have multiple options? Dentists who want to be successful need to stand out among their competitors.
The following areas are the most important factors that will differentiate your practice from those nearby.
Is your brand memorable? At the basic level, branding is about your practice logo and name.
Some company logos are so memorable that they seem to transcend time and culture. Dentists should aim to design a logo that stands out. While using a tooth in your logo design might seem like a good idea, it’s not distinct.
Look at Garner Orthodontics, which utilizes a guitar in the logo. It’s part of their image, and their practice has many valuable guitars hanging from their walls. Unusual? Sure. But it’s also unforgettable.
While many doctors simply go the route of using their name, if it’s too common (i.e. “Dr. Smith”) it won’t stand out and generates little SEO value. The best practice names are both noticeably different from others in the area and use vital keywords. “Ten Mile Smiles,” on Ten Mile Road, is both memorable and captures a unique keyword for their market.
While many patients who want to keep their dentist are willing to drive past other practices out of loyalty, new patients tend to find the best dentist that is closest to them and available when they need them.
Dentistry is an industry that has become hyperlocal. In fact, to emphasize this trend, Google updated its algorithms to make proximity the most important factor for local search results. This means that a user on a mobile device might see different rankings when they search at home than they do when they search at work. Location, location, location!
Even a great location can be a tough sell if a practice doesn’t have convenient hours. A family dentist situated near residential neighborhoods might not be as competitive if they don’t have availability outside of typical school hours. Know the needs of your market and adapt!
3. The Patient Experience
The patient experience starts before they’ve ever met you and (hopefully) never ends. These days, a patient’s first contact will likely come from a Google search and a click through to your website. Poor site design, missing information, or a lack of reviews might mean that’s as far as they will go with you.
Hopefully, the information they get from your site will inspire them to contact your practice for an appointment and not someone else’s!
A positive experience and great customer service are the most important factors that will help you stand out long-term. Here are some key areas to focus on:
- Patient calls. If you care, you call!
- Comfort. Make patients comfortable by offering them anything they need to relax, such as a blanket, headphones, or the TV.
- Active listening. Empathy goes a long way. Understand the patient’s concerns and address them.
- Be friendly. Sunrise Dental Solutions even has a one-day program to train your team to talk to patients the right way.
- Pay attention to patient milestones.
4. Flexible Payment Options
Expense is one of the greatest reasons that patients won’t accept a treatment plan, or simply avoid the dentist altogether. Giving patients options helps them overcome one of the most common barriers to care.
While all practices should accept major credit cards, we recommend that each practice also accept at least two third-party financing options. Big cases can be a little easier to handle if the patient has flexibility with their payment. Third-party options are good for the practice because you get paid up front.
Additionally, give patients the option to pay installments for large amounts. The patient might have to delay treatment for a short while, but that’s a much better option for most than avoiding treatment altogether.
5. Provide Advanced Treatment Options
Dentistry is a rapidly advancing field, and patients are going to look for their best option. A dental practice that provides conscious sedation, laser frenectomies, and specialty services will not only attract more patients, but will be able to charge a premium for their services.
Those doctors who choose to not invest in training, equipment, and technology will not only be overshadowed by their competition, but will have to lower prices to compete.
Make Your Dental Practice Stand Out
Dentists need to provide the best of care and great customer service if they want to be the dominant dental force in their market. If you want to learn what you can do to stand out, start with this complimentary dental practice analysis from Sunrise Dental Solutions.
~Linda O’GradyTags: branding, competition, dental marketing
This post was written by Linda