Some Thoughts on Communicating with Patients

With so many wonderful changes taking place during your transition, it’s natural you’ll want to share the good news with patients. It’s a given that changes to a practice need to be disclosed to your patient base, but you have to be really careful with how you announce a transition. The happy patients are already satisfied with their experience, and change may not be welcome.

A boilerplate change-in-ownership letter will make happy patients suspicious and give inactive patients even less of a reason to come back. The marketing approach you use needs careful strategy behind it.

Two Sets of Materials

The first step is segmenting your patient base, to identify which ones are active and which are inactive. You’re going to need a different set of materials for the regulars versus the casuals.

For the inactive or casual patients, highlight all the “betters” and offer them an incentive to come back. Their inactive status may be due to a personality conflict (just not a good match), not prioritizing oral maintenance, or it may be due to financial or insurance issues.

Whatever the reason, there should be something in that letter that will make them think seriously about coming back. Before you draft the materials, consider all the reasons they may not be coming in regularly, and give them a reason to reconsider. If you’ve changed the insurers you work with, let them know. If you have new doctors, let them know. If you’ve modernized the patient experience, tell them what’s better now.

Stress the Benefits of Interdisciplinary Approach

If you’ve brought in a new doctor—for example, an implant person or a pediatric—you want patients to know that your practice is stronger with more diverse specialists. Chances are, many are already happy with the doctor they are seeing—but you want them to know there are other experts on hand should they ever need them.

You don’t have to give a bio for each dentist (save that for your website) but you need to mention a detail that will appeal to patients. With enthusiastic regulars, you may even get referrals out of this. (Oh, you lost a tooth? My dentist has an implant specialist now…they’re great, you’re going to love this place.)

Incentivize the Transition

With inactive patients especially, you need to give them a reason to come back. Throw them a bone that’s significant enough to make them stop and notice. Don’t break the bank, but discounts and promotions need to be beyond-the-usual to show you are serious.

With happy patients, announce a credit for referrals. When people have a regular dentist, they love to tell people how much they “love” their dentist, especially on social media. Easily sharable improvements give patients an excuse to recommend you with their friends and family.

Explain the Tech You’ve Added

You have to add technology when you transition. It’s a powerful symbol and a great way to improve your processes and the quality of care. Patients may not care how much better your office communicates with the Simplifeye mobile platform, for example, but they will like the idea of shorter wait times and faster routine appointments.

If you name clinical or fabrication tech you’ve added, tell them exactly how those tools will make their dental experience more comfortable. Patients like to hear they won’t need messy dental impressions or noisy drills any more.

Looking for More Guidance?

Are you scaling up? Big changes are a big opportunity to bring in new patients and inactive patients—but you have to be smart about how you communicate with your base.

If you need advice on patient communication, give us a call. We’ll help you plan this part of your transition.  Stay connected and call today at (470) 344-5990 for a conversation about your business.

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