When it comes to communicating with patients a simple but effective rule to follow is "Communicate clearly and communicate often." This may have been second nature in the past–however, we have now all been thrust into uncharted territory. When the coronavirus crisis began, most practices established a positive public relations message about why they were shutting down—but, it’s imperative that they stay in touch. Here are some suggestions for keeping up with your patients during this time:

  1. Communicate with your patients weekly. Update them on the status of the practice, how emergencies will be handled, and how to get in touch with you if they have any questions. This seems easy enough, however regulations and policies on how emergencies should be handled vary by state and may even be changed by the time you are reading this. That is why we stress consistent communication.

  2. Prepare for the future. Things may seem uncertain, but we will eventually move through this and orthodontic practices will reopen. Send out an extremely positive message about the re-opening and be sure to offer convenient appointments. Patients will be contacting your practice to make appointments and you want to answer every call with a live person and go out of your way to get those patients scheduled. This decreases the number of patients that you’ll have to chase down.

  3. Accentuate safety in your practice. There will be people who are still afraid to go near a healthcare facility or practice. To help ease their fears you must emphasize all the precautions you are taking. Tell patients about infection control measures and assure them your entire staff is healthy and ready to provide outstanding care for every patient.

  4. Take advantage of social media. Social media has very quickly become the primary way for people and businesses to connect during this time. Your practice should also use social media to engage with patients, maintain relationships, and establish some form of normalcy. But remember, this is no time to be overly funny, silly or Pollyanna. It is a time to participate, make your presence known, and reach patients and others with whom you regularly communicate.

  5. Confirm patients for appointments by cell phone. From a time–management standpoint, it’s more effective to use text messaging. However, during this time it’s better to have live phone conversations or leave scripted voicemails that welcome patients back to the practice, discuss the safety precautions, and answer any questions. Anything that you can do to make a real connection with patients is best.

Referral marketing must be relevant, and many practices have programs that are old and tired. However, with a minimal amount of effort you can reinvigorate and revitalize your referral marketing program and increase referrals.

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Levin Group

Levin Group

Levin Group is the leading ortho practice management and marketing consulting firm in dentistry. Their mission is to improve the lives of dentists.