Reducing Patient Fear Factor As Dental Practices Re-Open
Documented solutions, FAQs and infographics to rebuild patient confidence
With dental practices open again and clearing the backlog of emergency cases, a return to providing a full range of treatments is hopefully not too far away. Whilst most dentists have been busy generating the SOPs needed for internal team training and also to satisfy the legislators, many have also been looking at client facing information and protocols needed to give patients the confidence they need to return.
This ranges from e-newsletters giving an overview of new safety facilities and procedures, to comprehensive website downloads, infographics and FAQs showing patients exactly what is expected when they finally return for treatment.
All of this information, when made user-friendly and presented professionally, will certainly help patients who have concerns about returning to their dentist to either continue or start treatment. If you haven’t already looked at the patient-facing side of your “new normal” communications, there’s still time and it really is an essential part of the “post-Covid” patient on-boarding process. Make no mistake that there will be a lot of concern, particularly amongst older patients, so anything you can do to help allay these fears will be very worthwhile!
Here are some examples of what you can and indeed should be doing:
Communication is king, particularly in a crisis and when people are left uninformed, then fear tends to build. E-newsletters e.g. MailChimp, are a great way to communicate effectively and very quickly and should be in the tool-box of any dentist who understands the importance of keeping in-touch. As an example, we have been documenting the progress of several clients who have been installing new safety systems and facilities and then communicating this with regular patient e-newsletters sent on their behalf. Only this morning we completed such a newsletter with details and photographs of the “virus killer” air conditioning units a client has installed throughout his facilities, ready to send out to over 6000 patients.
Never has the FAQ (frequently asked questions) system been more useful. Patients are generating so many questions regarding their safety when attending for treatment that it can get quite overbearing to answer everything consistently. This is where a comprehensive FAQ system published on your website really comes into play and potentially saves you and your team a lot of time. FAQ should cover all aspects of the patient journey, from how to get in touch and make an appointment, to what to expect on arrival and the new systems and procedures a patient will encounter.
Whilst the FAQs will be bespoke to your own practice and procedures, if you would like to see some examples, please get in touch.
Whilst comprehensive written procedures are important for several reasons, not just providing information but also to demonstrate safety and compliance; information presented in graphical form is known to be much more engaging and easier to digest. Not all patients want to pore over long documents to find out what they need to know, and prefer to scan content in the form of infographics. The design team at Dental Media has helped a number of clients to develop bespoke infographics to clearly illustrate the new patient journey for the post Covid-19 era.
If you would like to see some examples and to discuss how to use this type of information most effectively, please let us know.
What about new patients? How best to reach them?
Having put in huge amounts of work to generate really effective information, why stop with communicating it solely to existing patients? It also makes sense to use some of it to broadcast to a wider audience of patients to encourage them to join your practice rather than a practice which hasn’t been so thoughtful and thorough.
This is where social media and paid advertising comes into its own, providing a huge reach quickly and quite cost-effectively. We’ve helped a lot of our clients showcase their new facilities and safety procedures using a range of tools, including Facebook and Google ads and the success rates have been excellent. It’s clear that people who are seeking out a new practice for their family or perhaps a “high-end” treatment such as a dental implant or Invisalign teeth straightening, are not just interested in the price and level of experience of the dentist, but also about the safety protocols and facilities in use. This really is a new dimension to consider post-Covid and can be used as a clear differentiator of service levels.
As we said at the start of this blog, “communication is king” and particularly so during as crisis such as the one we have now. You’ve worked hard to implement new safety protocols and install new safety equipment, so it’s essential to make sure that your patients, existing and new, know all about it. This will really help to restore their confidence as well as showing your practice in the best possible light compared to others.
Tools such as e-newsletters, FAQ pages, infographics and social media ads can all be used to drive this communication process. It’s not too late to get going for your own practice and if you’d like some help to prepare professionally, then please get in touch on 01332 672548.Google+