What Your Office Can do to Coax Back Existing and Attract New Patients in This New World
COVID-19 has turned all our lives upside down. Some people are working from home still, some are working in the office for emergencies, and some offices are open and inviting patients back in.
As a patient myself, I feel the hesitation of visiting my dentist without knowing for sure that they have certain things covered. It’s a scary world, despite our slow decline in COVID-19 cases, and that means everyone wants to know that they’re safe, no matter where they go.
A survey commissioned by OneLocal found that 80% of respondents said, “they would not enter a small business unless they complied with safety regulations.” New patients, especially, will be apprehensive when choosing the right dental office for them.
Here are just some things your office can do to coax back existing and attracting new patients in this new world.
1. Practice transparency
Transparency in your office is a must for not just new but existing patients. OneLocal’s survey found that 89% of respondents “believe it is necessary for all businesses to share their safety measures.” At this moment in time, safety is key, especially when the world right now isn’t that safe. We are all still struggling to find some semblance of normal
But when businesses get it right, when they provide their workers with PPE, and enforce social distancing rules, and most importantly, keep their customers informed about their safety measures, it provides those customers a place to go where they know for sure they will be safe.
As a dental office getting back up and running, it is imperative for you to be as transparent as possible with your patients about what you’re doing to stop the spread of COVID-19 and the rules you enforce to ensure your patients, existing and new, are safe when they come to you.
2. Reduce physical touchpoints
The first step to making your office a lot safer for your patients is reducing physical touchpoints. Remove magazines, toys, and models from your waiting room. Make it possible for new patients to enter their information online versus coming in to write it down by putting the forms on your website that can be filled out and submitted online.
Reduce the amount of paper in your office
Paper is one of the most common touchpoints in a dental office. These include paper charts, paper forms, post-it notes, business cards, and postcards or letters.
All patients, including myself, are going to feel apprehensive towards an office not willing to completely remove, or significantly reduce the amount of paper use in their office. Just today, I dropped my car off for a regular oil change, and, as I looked around, I recognized all the changes made for my safety and theirs. One of those things was the reduced use of paper. My appointment came to my email and they let me know that I will be receiving my receipt in my email as well.
The time has come to eliminate paper charts and reminder or recall postcards. No more appointment business cards or paper forms to fill out. No more paper receipts or bills. If you haven’t thought seriously about switching over to a digital format, this is the time. Reducing paper as one of the biggest physical touchpoints in your office isn’t just to keep your patients safe, but also to keep you and your staff safe.
3. Educate Staff
Putting guidelines in place for the benefit of your patients means educating your staff on what those guidelines are. Go over hand hygiene, physical distancing, the proper way to use and dispose of PPE, and the proper cleaning technique used to sanitize tools and equipment.
For more information click the following link: https://covidsafe.services/services/dentist
When it comes to patients, let them know exactly what you’re doing to reduce the spread and how they can help. Some offices have bulletins posted on their walls; some have signs.
It is also doubly important to enforce the guidelines you’ve put in place. A store I go to on a regular basis has a policy of wearing masks inside; the policy lets me know they are doing all they can to keep me and other customers safe. Unfortunately, when it comes to enforcing the policy, they fall flat, and that makes me and my family feel a lot less safe.
Keep patients informed on the guidelines and when it comes to policies you put in place for the safety of you, your staff, and others, be vigilant when enforcing those policies.
4. Educate patients
There is so much you can do to protect yourself and others during this pandemic, including keeping a sanitizing station handy, Spacing your chairs six feet apart in the waiting room, giving patients the opportunity to be assessed via video conference, putting a shield up at the front desk to ensure the safety of your staff, and ensuring that you’re using a Point of Sale system that allows for tap.
But more than that, education is the key to reducing the spread and finally neutralizing this virus from our lives. The more information your patients have, the safer they will be and feel. Inform them of what your office is doing to keep them safe. Write a blog post or email to further inform patients about what they can do to reduce the spread when they come to your office.
And make sure that if you’re going to discuss COVID-19, you stick to the facts and do your research.
In our company’s effort to also stop the spread and make sure that you’re able to reopen safely, we provide products and services that will reduce touchpoints in your office, including a digital charting system, a POS system, and a recall and reminder system that will allow you to connect with your patients online while helping you cut down on the amount of paper you use.
If you aren’t yet a MaxiDent user, click the following link to check out our website and the products and services we offer: https://maxidentsoftware.com/products/
If you are a MaxiDent user and would like to know more about how you can reduce touchpoints in your office, contact your Account Manager.
For more information and resources about reopening safely, check out the links below and remember that we are all enduring this new normal together to keep ourselves and each other safe.