In the last 12 months Software of Excellence has undertaken extensive research into the behaviour and attitude of dentists in regard to some of the key criteria that affect practice performance.
These studies revealed some fascinating insights into how dental practices use marketing to attract new patients and also to increase their treatment footprint to their existing patients, but we also discovered some serious shortfalls in the processes used to manage and track marketing activity.
As a result we began to form a picture of a profession that knows they have a marketing challenge, but for various reasons, be that lack of knowledge, time or resources, they are failing to address the problems adequately.
The solution, in the form of EXACT V12, signals a pivotal moment for the dental profession as for the first time dentists are presented with the means by which they can connect their marketing and business functions, enabling them to truly understand their marketing return on investment and take full advantage of new digital communication platforms.
EXACT V12 now includes a complete marketing resource and takes much of the guesswork out of patient marketing. Using the new Patient Marketing Manager module, practices can target specific patients, educating them on treatments and tracking results including numbers of phone enquiries, appointments and treatments that are the consequence of marketing activity.
This ability to accurately monitor results and calculate this in terms of revenue gained is better known as return on investment (ROI) and is a vital part of running a successful business. We categorise three types of return: direct return – when a targeted patient takes up a promoted treatment; indirect return – when a patient not on the target list takes up the treatment; and secondary return – which refers to targeted patients who take up another type of treatment in addition to the promoted treatment.
Marketing experts know that targeting the right patients at the right time, depending on the treatment or service on offer, will give the best return. Using EXACT’s Patient Marketing Manager, dentists can take the guesswork out of marketing, automating many functions and ensuring that activity is targeted, scheduled and delivered. The software is sophisticated and intuitive and communications can be created using the templates within EXACT itself.
Creating and maintaining campaigns is a big challenge for busy practice staff and the campaign function can be set up to automatically re-send communications to those patients who don’t respond. Establishing a series of messages means that managers only need to act once to set up the campaign, which will then be communicated in a structured way unless interrupted by a patient’s response.
By targeting patients and establishing a structured and dynamic communication plan for each campaign, it is possible for dentists to easily identify where and why a particular campaign might be faltering.
For example, if a campaign results in phone enquiries but these are not converted to appointments, it will be obvious by a drop-off at that stage of the campaign, alerting managers to a potential issue with the way in which calls are being answered. Once identified, this problem may be alleviated by additional training for reception staff, for example.
Each campaign can be allocated a unique telephone number, which via the Channel Track module, records calls and monitors which campaigns are being most successful. Crucially, the ability to identify those calls that did not result in an appointment, combined with the option to listen to these calls, gives a unique insight into how staff and patients liaise on the phone and can be a trigger for additional team training if necessary.
Patient Marketing Manager’s dashboard enables you to assess the expenditure on a particular campaign, indicating success by reference to the treatment code – thereby automatically calculating a ROI. The dashboard also indicates whether the return is direct, indirect or secondary, to reflect the quality of the original messages and enable assessment of the source of additional revenue.
The quest for new patients and the need to extend the reach of treatments to one’s existing database requires management and monitoring. The creation of effective communication is a vital part of patient education, helping to ensure that practices fulfil their obligations with regard to compliance and enabling patients to make the optimum treatment choice to meet their needs.
EXACT V12’s focus on exploiting the power of internet searches now enables dental practices for the first time, to take control of an integrated patient communication plan by optimising their online presence and using digital platforms to maximum effect as part of a fully co-ordinated marketing strategy.