58% of consumers start their online day by reading their emails.
76% of dental patients say email is the best way for companies to communicate with them.
So the question is…are you using it? Or even better are you gathering patient e-mail addresses in order to use it?
Most Practice Management Systems like Dentrix have e-mail address as a field in the patient information field. Be sure you get it filled in. It has to be on your intake form, if you are still using the forms you had in 1999 you need to update.
All those existing patients who started with you last century and didn’t have an e-mail address need to provide it now. Make it part of your health history update. Ask for it and give the patient a good reason to provide it.
For example advise them that you will send e-appointment reminders rather than bother them with a phone call and most (76%) of patients will give it to you…but you have to ask. Another idea is to offer an incentive. For example: Dr. Digital has written a list of the five ways to save money on dental care. If you give us your e-mail we will send you a free copy.
Now that you have e-mail addresses how do you use them?
The best way is with e-services. Dentrix provides a good example of these services.
Appointment reminders are an obvious use for e-mail. However you can also use e-mail to direct patients to your web site to fill out forms.
NOTE: Online forms are not just for new patients, this is a great way to make sure all existing patients have up to date personal and medical information on file. And better yet it is on file in a digital format so you can eliminate those pesky paper charts.
E-mail is a great way to follow up with thank you notes, after treatment follow up including post op instructions, after treatment satisfaction surveys (which can lead to positive online user reviews), information on new treatments, and acknowledging life events like birthdays and graduation.
Doing all this may seem daunting. After all you are too busy now how will you or the staff do all this extra stuff. That’s where e-services come in. For the most part e-services are automatic. You set it up once and then forget it. The service will send out reminders (or whatever) for ever after.
Social Media? What about social media, isn’t that the 21st century way to communicate? Sadly no. Facebook is public and not appropriate for personal messages but even more significant is that Facebook filters your posts. Roughly only 6% of people who have chosen to “like” you on Facebook will see your posts.