Grow your Dental Practice with Data
We have a lot of dentists reaching out to us to help them drive more new patients. They want to build a new website, they want to do SEO, or Google AdWords, or social media, all kinds of things to try to increase patient flow.
The funny thing is however, the majority of results we get for our dentists have absolutely nothing to do with marketing at all. Most of the results we get are from finding and fixing internal issues in the office. In today’s video I’m going to show you a behind-the-scenes look at how we do that, what data we track, how we use that data, and how we improve the results for dentists without spending a single penny more on marketing.
We’re going to take a behind the scenes look at a system we’ve built called the Scorecard that tracks what is happening with patient communication at the practice day-to-day.
I’m going to show you how we use this information to drive a lot more new patients, 20, 30, 40% increase in a year without spending any more money on marketing. In fact we are often able to help our dentists spend LESS money on marketing. So let’s jump into my computer and we’ll take a look at how this system works.
The Scorecard report
So what you’re looking at here is our Scorecard report. Now I’ve exported this as a PDF so I could redact and black out all of the personal information in here to not violate HIPPA. Normally this information is in our dashboard and a client can login to look at it, but in this case I wanted to show you a REAL client, an actual real example, not a bunch of demo data like many companies do. This is a REAL report from an actual client and what results they got in the month of December.
Now one of the first things we track is how many reviews a practice has on Google. Google Reviews are the gold standard of reviews on the internet. Most people looking for a new dentist are just going to go to whoever has the most and best reviews. Wouldn’t you?
We would tell this to all of our dentists, all of their staff, and they would listen and nod their heads in agreement… but nothing happened. Nobody did anything different. It wasn’t until we started reporting on how many reviews the practice had and how many their competitors have that things started to improve. In fact one of the most common excuses we kept hearing from dental staff was that they WERE asking for reviews, they were asking every patient.
Confused, we started looking into it trying to figure out what was going on… only to find out that when we looked at the system, the staff hadn’t logged into the system in months, they weren’t sending any review requests at all. We showed this to the dentist and the staff felt like they had been caught with their pants down. So we then started to track how many review requests were actually being sent out each month so we could create a system of accountability.
Unsurprisingly things did improve and now the dentist is the highest ranking dentist in their area, has won numerous awards like Readers Choice award, Three Best Rated award, and has seen a lot of new patients come in because of it.
The Cost to Acquire a New Patient
The next most important thing we track is the Cost to Acquire a New Patient. I am still completely shocked to this day how more than 95% of dentists I speak with have no idea what it is costing them in marketing to acquire a new patient. They just splash money around on all kinds of random marketing activities like SEO, social media, flyers, promotions, ALL KINDS of silly things and when I ask them “what is the ROI on this?” “How many patients is this bringing in?” “How much money is this making you?”… they just sit there like deer in headlights because they have absolutely no idea.
The best they have to show is usually a report their marketing company sent them on how many “clicks” they got to their website, or how many Facebook likes they have, metrics which have about as much value as Monopoly money. You can’t pay your rent for the office with Facebook likes. You can’t pay your staff with website clicks. That’s not a currency. If you’re spending money on marketing you need to be able to clearly see how many new patients this is bringing in, and you need to validate that these patients are coming in as a direct result of the marketing, not because they were referred by someone or they walked by your practice and saw your sign. Those people would have come in anyways so it wasn’t the marketing that made it happen.
Why management by feeling will lead to average results
A lot of dental practices don’t operate based on data, they operate based on “feelings” If they notice a few new people coming in that week they “feel” that what they’re doing is working. They have no idea how those patients found the practice or even if they had come as a direct result of the marketing. If they have a bad week and there’s some holes in the schedule they “feel” like things aren’t working and they feel they need to try something different. This management by feeling is why a lot of dentists never achieve more than “average” results.
So in our system we track how much money the dentist has given us to do marketing. This includes website, SEO, AdWords management, content, photos, the whole shebang. It also includes how much money we spent on Google AdWords, or social media, or flyers, or whatever. In this particular case we only spent a little over $30 on Google AdWords because we just didn’t need to. Their SEO and Google Reviews were so strong they didn’t need to put more money into marketing.
As a result, we were able to generate 39 new patient leads. Now these 39 leads were patients who on the phone said they had found us on Google by doing a search for a dentist in the area, or they fill out a Request an Appointment form on the website and when asked how they found the practice, they were presented with many options like Referral, I Live in the Area, I saw your sign, etc, and they self selected that they had found us on Google. So these are 39 new patient leads came in as a direct result of the marketing investment. So we’ve spent an average of $39.03 to get a new patient who had never been there before and found us on Google to call the practice.
Of these, the staff were able to successfully secure 22 patients with BOOKED appointments. So when we look at the total marketing spend that this dentist invested into both RevUp Dental and Google AdWords we were able to acquire new patients for $69.19 on average. Patients that found us as a direct result of the marketing, patients who came in and paid for treatment. On average from what we’ve seen in North America, most dentists are spending around $400-500 to acquire one new patient when you factor in all of the money they are spending on marketing from building and hosting their website, to social media, to SEO, etc. When we began working with this practice it was also costing us around $200 to $300 to get a new patient
In our Booking Rate section we give a breakdown of what happened with different types of calls and communications. For example we track what happened with all of the new patient leads and how many were booked. In this case the practice was able to secure 56% of new patient leads into appointments, which is pretty good given that when we first started with them the average was around 25-35% each month. It used to take 3-4 new patients calling before 1 was booked for an appointment and now out of 2 calls they are almost always able to secure at least 1 appointment. Once you start tracking the right data, the staff and the numbers tend to improve.
We also had 40 existing patients reach out for an appointment 31 were successfully booked. We had 30 patients call to cancel their appointment and 10 were successfully rebooked. This number is usually higher but we are in a pandemic right now.
Now out of 208 total phone calls coming in, 20 went to voicemail and 38 calls were not answered.
Of all of the appointment calls coming in this month, both new and existing patients, the staff were able to secure 76% into appointments. And of all the people filling out appointment request forms on the website only 40% were booked. Nobody contacted the business through the general form on the contact page to ask a question this month, and out of 229 total patient communications both through email and phone that happened in December, we found 20 where there was an opportunity to book an appointment but it was left in limbo.
What this means is sometimes a patient says “I’m not sure if I can do Wednesday, let me check my schedule and call you back” but they forget to call back, and the staff never bother to followup with the patient so it just slips through the cracks. We highlight this so that we can work on improving it and getting the staff to be more proactive about reaching back to patients as in many of these situations we can secure the appointment.
We look at things like what people are actually calling about
Now where this information is very powerful is when we look at average trends for other dental practices across North America. For example, that 40% conversion rate on the Request an Appointment forms immediately caught our attention. On average across dozens of other clients the conversion rate on these forms is around 75-90%. A patient would have to answer about 20-30 questions to request that appointment so if someone is spending 5 minutes filling out that form they are pretty serious about coming in. When we investigated this further we found it was taking the staff 3-5 days to get back to these requests and by that point they had found another dentist to go to. As soon as we brought this to the attention of the dentist and the staff the conversion rate doubled pretty much overnight as staff started to respond to these requests right away.
We look at things like what people are actually calling about and what dental services are popular in the area. We look at when the calls are coming in to make sure there are enough staff to handle the volume. But most importantly, and the true bread and butter of the system is listening to and making sense of every single communication coming in.
We look at who calls, when they call, what their name is, what they’re looking for, if they’re a new patient or an existing patient, which staff member spoke to them, what was said on the call and what the end results were. Were we able to secure that appointment or not? And if not.. what went wrong and how can we improve moving forward? It’s a monumental amount of work but it is critical to figuring out where the bottlenecks are in the practice.
Here’s a particular situation where we had a patient complaint. This patient called on December 8 at 3:59 pm and she was frustrated that she had not been informed that they were other options for sedation either than nitrous. She mentioned the receptionist she spoke with was rude on the phone and hung up on her. The office manager in this case did a great job of listening to the patient and building rapport, she calmly explained all of the different sedation options the practice offered and really sold the sizzle of the practice and the amazing dentist they had at the office, and in the end managed to secure an appointment with the patient.
There’s a lot that happens in a dental office day-to-day, and no matter how amazing your team is, no matter how amazing your office manager is, they cannot possibly catch every problem or be on-top of every little thing that goes on everyday. There is a lot that falls through the cracks unfortunately. This is where we come in to help and make sure the practice continues to operate at a very high level of customer service.
We go through every communication that happens, we look at how calls are handled, we look at where the problems are, and we work with the team to fix them. Sometimes this includes a bit of training on customer service or how to deal with common objections that come up in a call like… people asking about the price and the staff not really know what to say. A lot of the improvement comes from being able to catch things before they get lost in the shuffle.