Dental practices don’t often think of new websites or phone systems when it comes to easy, meaningful ways to improve their business. But with all the features, improvements, and especially the savings that come with upgrading technology… they probably should.
1. Start Speaking Their Language
One of the biggest challenges for modern dental offices is actually getting in touch with patients. You can call them, but studies show 68% of patients between 18-35 won’t answer calls from unknown numbers. You can email them, but your message will likely end up in a spam folder or buried under a mountain of promotions. That’s where upgrading to a unified communications system comes in! SMS allows you to send promotions, check up reminders, and appointment confirmations as a text from your main business number.
Faster for your front desk team to send out. More convenient for patients to receive and reply. Less expensive than your current phone system. In the immortal words of Michael Scott, that’s a “win-win-win.”
2. Always be Available
On average, 20% of your new appointment traffic comes in during the weekend or while you’re at lunch. And if you’re not taking those calls, you’d better believe there’s another practice that is. With a cloud-hosted phone system, you can set up your main number to forward new patient calls to your cell phone whenever you’re not in the office. If that’s too much availability for you, have new office voicemails sent as email notifications, giving you the option to either call them back immediately or wait until later.
Whatever your specific communications needs are, FluentStream has the perfect features for your practice.
3. Invest in a Professional Website
51% of people find their new dentist through an internet search. That’s great news if you’ve already crafted a killer website, but if you haven’t, it means you’re missing out on over half of your opportunities.
We recommend contracting a professional designer to make sure your site is simple to navigate, hits all the right keywords, and makes it easy as pie to set up an appointment. It’s also equally important to fine tune your SEO (search engine optimization). SEO quality determines how often you show up on internet searches, and how close you are to the top of those searches. According to Google, “50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34% who searched on computer/tablet did the same.” To put it simply, you want to target local keywords such as [Your Town] dentist or [Your Zip Code] dentist so that anyone looking for an appointment sees you first. Having the prettiest website in the world doesn’t really help you if it’s not showing up anywhere.
Now that your website has a fresh coat of paint, and more powerful optimization under the hood, let’s look at the easiest way to get it in front of prospective patients.
4. Build Up Your Online Review Scores
Let’s be honest, no one chooses a business with no reviews over one with dozens of 5 star ratings. It’s important to start strong, so we recommend nicely asking a few friends and trusted patients to write about their experiences. And while it’s against Google’s terms of service to pay for positive reviews, we definitely recommend asking patients on their way out and reminding them via SMS or email afterwards. You’d be surprised how many responses a gentle nudge can generate.
When a bad review does come in--relax, it happens to the best of us sooner or later--don’t just let it fester. Reply quickly and make sure the reviewer feels heard. Sometimes all it takes to make things right is an explanation from your perspective. Even if you lose that patient, others will see that you tried and learned from the experience.
5. Save Money Every Month
Cloud-hosted systems like FluentStream save the average practice 40-70% on their monthly phone bill. We know that’s a bold claim, so let’s break down exactly where all those savings are coming from. Since your calls are using internet bandwidth instead of physical infrastructure like phone lines and switchboards, VoIP costs less per call than a traditional analog setup. That’s consistent savings rather than money thrown away on PBX boxes that cost more and more to maintain as they age.
The other main factor is that cloud-based systems turn scaling your business or moving offices into a piece of cake rather than a logistical nightmare. No ripping out the walls to lay new cables. No need to bring in an expensive IT person every time you want to add an extension or make a routing change.