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Patient Prism's Dental Industry Blog

Here you'll find hundreds of articles and video interviews with dental industry experts on the topics of DSO and practice growth, dental software, call-tracking technology, patient experience and artificial intelligence fueling the dental industries ability to treat more patients and change lives.

July 2022--Part 2 of my presentation at the March 2022 ADSO Summit Meeting on artificial intelligence in dental patient acquisition and retention delves into the importance of understanding the leaks in your marketing funnel and meeting patient expectations before they even come into your offices.


In case you've missed, here's the previous post in this series:

ADSO 2022: Part 1 - Artificial Intelligence for Dental Practices

Do you know what it costs you to acquire new patients?

When I ask a DSO what their per customer acquisition cost is, I often hear, “I don't know. We just spend $2,000 a month per office, and then the ads show up and patients hopefully show up and make an appointment.”

Are you calculating your cost per lead? Your cost per acquisition? Are you calculating your costs in a more granular way? Do you know what it costs you to acquire an implant patient? Do you know what it costs you to acquire an Invisalign patient?

If the revenue value of that Invisalign patient is $5,000, by the time you pay for advertising, the overhead of your chair time, and lab fees, what is your profit? Do you know if you are barely netting a 5% return?

DSOs need to understand which KPIs they need to measure. One of the big ones is cost per lead associated with each ad campaign. Each lead that comes in—each call you receive, needs to be converted to a scheduled appointment to maximize your marketing expenses. So, your need to track not only the number of calls per campaign but also the number of conversions.

Management is typically disappointed by the initial lead conversion rate they measure. They need to look for the roots of disappointing performance so problems can be solved. That requires a more granular approach to monitoring leads and conversions.

For example, you want to know:

  • Did the ad campaign attract the type of customers you intended to engage?
  • Were those answering the phones are well informed about the campaign and your services?
  • Were those answering your phones confidently providing information about your financing option and in-house plan?
  • Were callers being put on hold and hanging up?
  • Did team members answering the phone sound too busy and stressed to be personable and highly attentive?
  • Were callers disappointed you did not have an immediate appointment?


Do you understand your patient journey?

If you haven't mapped out how a patient becomes aware of your practice, how you engage interaction, and how they come in and then are processed through your practice, you've got to do it as soon as possible. The moment you map your new patient journey, you realize there are multiple ways patients fall out of the marketing funnel. 

Sometimes they fall out at the top of the funnel. They look you up and don’t like one of your reviews, or they call and hang up after being put on hold. Sometimes they start into the funnel and back out. This happens frequently as patients have conversations with your phone receptionists. (By the way, there are many reasons for this that are AI trackable and solvable.) 

Sometimes they fall out of the middle of the funnel. They schedule an appointment and don’t show or change their minds. Sometimes they fall out even after they come into your office because they don't accept the treatment they need.


Give patients what they want when they want it

Today’s consumers want immediate attention and ease of interaction, or they move on to the next source. They fall out of your new patient acquisition funnel and out of your retention bucket.

When you put patients first, ease of booking appointments is at the top of the list. Ryan Hungate talks a lot about online scheduling. Are you going to make online scheduling available? Many people want to make appointments online.

But in dentistry and medicine, new patients want to call first to book that first appointment and ensure they have an immediate commitment from the provider and the type of assuring experience that only occurs in human interactions. I’m referring to the type of experience that generates the kind of positive emotions that result from another person taking care of you and caring about you.

When do they want an appointment? Be ready to provide it.

Today’s patients demand scheduling availability, or they keep searching for it. Across the Patient Prism platform, we saw last year that 31% of patients were not able to make an appointment in the next two weeks because schedules across the nation were too full. If you can’t get them in the door right away, they go elsewhere. You've got to figure out how can you get them in the door, even if that means adding evening and weekend appointment slots and changing employee hours.

How can they pay for their dentistry? Answer before they ask.

Tell them about your financing option and membership plan when they call. Use an online payment platform to automate payment reminders and collections. You’ll make your patients’ and your teams’ lives easier, and DSOs who do this report faster, higher collections.


AI enables you to recover lost opportunities

The power of AI is its ability to tell you the actions to take to recover lost opportunities, and to do this fast. AI can figure out what went wrong and what potential is out there, then alert your team to reach out quickly to win those opportunities.

Shortage of time means patients are not going to wait. If they aren’t satisfied with your response, they will immediately call another dental provider. We've got to figure out what actions we can take to recover lost opportunities, wherever they might be. They could be on the phone, on your website, and live in your office.

In Part 3 of this series, we will look at the evolution of analytics from descriptive information to preemptive intelligence.

Next: ADSO March 2022: Part 3 - Moving Beyond Descriptive Analytics


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