How Important is a Dental Office’s online presence?
Very important. Vital. Crucial. Pick your favorite synonym.
We know the saying: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Well, a dental practice’s website is its cover. And like it or not, it will get judged.
A practice’s website is often the first thing a potential patient sees. They google “dentists in my zip code” and start judging. Since new patient acquisition is important, that first impression is important too.
At Dental Buyer Advocates, we take into consideration several digital components when assessing a practice and you should too in your search.
Is the website inviting and helpful?
In my real estate post, I discussed how many non-dental businesses have thrived because of digitalization. While dental providers don’t have the option to provide treatment from the comfort of their homes, they can (and should) be taking advantage of the advancements of the digital area.
I want to be perfectly clear: Any office that is not using digitalization as a tool will be a victim of it being used as a weapon.
Dentistry has been lagging behind other fields for years. Partly due to obstinate insiders resistant to change and operating under the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality.
These are the practices that will get left in the dust. These are also practices that will require much more effort for you, as a buyer, to get to where you want it to be.
There are 3 features that can be included on an office’s website that tell a patient, “Look, we’re modern and care about appearance!” making a potential patient much more likely to pick you as their provider.
- Staff profiles: Most doctors include a section about themselves on the website, which is nice, but we always recommend including staff members as well.
Many patients are anxious about going to a new dentist. Often, it’s not so much because of dental treatment anxiety, but more so because they just want to find someone they can trust. What better way to make a patient feel like they can trust you than to tell them about yourself and your staff members? Building that rapport before they step into the office makes a more amenable patient.
- Photos of the office: I’m sorry, but patients know that being able to do a filling is not unique; any dentist can do it. However, they do think the ability to do it well so it stays in place and looks good is more rare. But how can they know this before their appointment? Well… surely if the office looks modern and well cared for, the same care will be reflected in their work, right?
If the office you’re looking at is not capitalizing on this, then fix it! Plus, if you find pride in your work and office, why wouldn’t you want to take the opportunity to show it off with a few photos posted on your website?
- Online scheduling & bill pay: These are still features that are rarely seen. When patients want a dentist, they should be given the option to book now. When patients want to pay a bill, they should have the option to pay now.
Most patients are looking to schedule or pay bills at night after work is done, dinner is cleaned up, kids are put down to bed. Setting a reminder to call and make an appointment or pay a bill is just another thing on their to-do lists and unfortunately, not usually very high up there.
These online options will do two things. First, they’ll free up your staff’s time to be more productive when they are in the office. Second, these offices will stay on schedule so that patients have complete paperwork prior and staff are caught up on tasks.
This means less “Sorry, honey, I’m going to be home late tonight” phone calls and more “Man, I love my job!” comments.
What are other people saying?
I cannot stress enough the importance of reviews.
When you are looking for a practice, ideally you’ll try to find one that has a high number of reviews, the majority of which being positive and recently rated.
When I Google “Dentist near me,” where will I start? I’m going to start with the ones that have the highest number of reviews. Then I’m going to go through and see what people are saying and how recently they are saying it.
If I see very few (or old) reviews, I’m going to be concerned. If I see people calling so-and-so a jerk, I’m going to move onto the next office on the list.
But, if I see someone say “Terri was the best hygienist I’ve ever had! Dr. Roberts really made me feel heard” multiple times, then I’m going to trust SmileyMiley131 and book an appointment.
Is it worth it? Yes!
As a business owner, you’ll want your website to work for you. Employees are paid for services that will increase your revenue, the same goes for the website. A good digital investment is a web presence that will make you money. Ideally, this will already be set up in a way that requires minimal effort on your end, however, if you need to make those changes, make them!