Mariel Stevens, Former Assistant to the Managing Director, B. Psychology, Management and Marketing
(As featured in Bite Magazine, December 2016)
At Momentum Management, we’re constantly being asked by practices how they can improve upon their marketing. They want to know how to attract and retain more patients, how to build their brand and how to best spend their marketing dollars. They’re often surprised when we tell them that the most effective marketing comes from within… (within the practice that is!), and that it needn’t cost much!
Across the country, Australians have well and truly adopted a café culture. The market is flooded and there is no shortage of trendy-hipster-haunts to drink a cold-drip coffee alongside a smashed avocado breakfast. With so many options to choose from, how do cafés compete with one another? How do consumers choose? Of course, it boils down to the customer’s experience. When they have an amazing experience, they’ll go back. They may even become a regular. Even better, they may recommend the café to friends on social media, spreading the word like a virus. Of course, when they have a poor experience, the opposite is true.
Dental practices face similar challenges to the flooded café market. How does and why would a patient select your practice, when there is so much choice out there? Make no mistake- they’re actively asking their friends which practice they go to and why they see them. They’re having conversations with others- and they’re not so much simply believing what you tell them to believe through your advertising efforts. As soon as they come to your practice, they’re formulating a review in their minds, sharing their experience with friends via social media and making a decision on whether they’d return.
Whereas External Marketing focuses on initiatives you push outwards to prospective patients (advertising, your website, social media marketing etc…), Internal Marketing is all about developing smooth systems, protocols, and fluent verbal skills to provide exceptional service for your patients. It’s service that’s talked about by them with their friends for all the right reasons. It’s having such a positive experience that they feel they’ve been welcomed into your family. Until you have your Internal Marketing down pat, (and ultimately, your stellar patient experience) there is no point focusing time and money on the External Marketing.
As an example, imagine having invested thousands of dollars into a flashy new website, matching Facebook and Instagram pages and advertising in the local newspaper. You’re getting calls, which you find encouraging, but when it comes to speaking with the prospective patients and converting them over the phone, your Front Office Coordinator fumbles over their words or sends mixed messages. Immediately, a negative first impression is formed, and the effort you’ve put into your external marketing campaign is negated.
Of course, it’s not all up to the Front Office Coordinator to provide that amazing experience. Your whole team needs to be on board. So, the first step in looking at your internal marketing is to determine whether your team currently have the skills and whether you may need to invest in training. Training them on the processes and procedures that will provide a smooth and enjoyable experience for the patient, training them on how to educate the patients to build their perception of value gained from the appointment, training on how to build that patient rapport and on how and what to say. Once you’ve built your team, you will build your business.
If you’d like help with team training for 2017 to assist with Internal Marketing, please contact Momentum Management on 1300 519 000 or visit www.momentummanagement.com.au. Momentum offer tailored training solutions, Practice Management Programs and Short Courses to help you and your team grow.