Why it’s time to consider CRM for your dental practice and how to choose.
One of the big frustrations we have as dental marketers is the apparent lack of comprehensive systems for capturing and nurturing leads at the practice level.
So where we are generating new enquiries for dentists, whether through organic SEO, paid advertising or other channels, we know that some of those useful patient leads are not being captured or acted up effectively.
We’ve discussed previously how it’s reasonably straightforward to record how many new patient enquiries come via website contacts, from social media and even from telephone enquiries where the right technology is employed, but thereafter, the patch to actual treatment becomes somewhat murky and outside of our remit. That said, discussions with various clients suggests that all is not always well at the practice side when it comes to capturing and nurturing these all important new-patient leads.
The need for CRM – Customer Relationship Management
Whilst a lot of dentists rely on anything from scribbled notes to a suite of spreadsheets to try to capture enquiries, fortunately there is another far more coordinated approach. Enter the CRM system. CRM allows you to record all of your leads irrespective of which channel they came from and then follow them up appropriately. The system will then keep a real-time track of all of your enquiries and exactly where they are in their evolution – and hopefully right through to the completion of treatment!
How does CRM work – is it straightforward?
The latest CRM systems are quite highly evolved, having been in use in the corporate world for 20 years or more. There are a few specific dental ones which have been stripped back to the essentials and designed so that you can actually see the wood for the trees and not get confused by lots of unnecessary bells and whistles. These types of systems tend to have “plug-ins”, for example where a contact form is submitted on your website, the CRM system automatically gets updated. Where a telephone call comes into reception, a degree of manual entry will still be required but at least the enquiry is formally captured and ready for follow-up.
Many types of CRM also facilitate enquiry follow-up and this ranges from simple to very complex. In the simpler systems, you can interface with email applications which allows you to send basic follow-up messages. The more complex systems allow you to segment enquiries by type and potential and then use specific, targeted material to follow up and nurture the path to treatment. For example, for an implant enquiry, this may be an example of the work you’ve completed, an e-book on the types of treatments available, an offer or something more. The idea is to keep the potential new patient interested with gentle reminders of your services and how they will benefit by getting on board.
The CRM system allows you to coordinate all of this process and is much more effective than a haphazard spreadsheet which your reception team may (or may not!) fill out.
What type of CRM system should you choose?
There are numerous types of system on the market and some very cost-effective ones. It’s not entirely necessary but my advice would be to test-drive one of the ones which has been configured specifically for the dental market. Here at Dental Media we have a preferential rate with one of the main independent suppliers and we’ll be pleased to guide you through, however you may wish to have a look independently.
Are there any pitfalls?
One fairly significant pitfall came to light very recently when we realised that one of the largest clear aligner companies has partnered with a dental marketing agency to provide their CRM system as part of an braces marketing package. In this you also get a “micro website” and some other add-ons of questionable value. Whilst this might seem like a good idea at the time, what those companies appear to be trying to do is tie you in to their services to the point where it becomes difficult to shift away. They also appear to be doing it to try to keep other treatment providers out but that’s not really for discussion here.
Our guidance would be to think very carefully before jumping in to an agreement with a particular treatment provider as you could get stuck at a later point down the path. The “goodies” that are thrown in with these deals might also look good on face value but, like the “micro site” mentioned above, they really aren’t going to help you much at all and in fact could be detrimental. So perhaps the best route is to work with one of the independent providers and then you don’t have to worry about the overall motives of the interested parties!
Rather than try to capture new patient leads using haphazard spreadsheets or similar, why not systemise it? Dental customer relationship management systems are now available which facilitate this and allow coordinated follow up – so now there is no reason for new enquiries to get lost in the ether!
Our guidance would be to go with one of the independent suppliers rather than get hooked in to a deal backed by a particular treatment provider or their marketing agency. By staying independent you don’t have to worry about getting hooked in, or inadvertently excluding yourself from other treatment providers simply because you chose the wrong CRM system.
Here at Dental Media we can offer guidance and preferential rates for one the the most popular independent CRM systems specifically for dentists. If you’d like a no-obligation chat to find out more, please call us on 01332 672548 and we’ll be pleased to advise.Google+