Grow your Dental Practice with Data
At Revup Dental, we meet a lot of dentists eager to try anything to increase patient flow: new websites, SEO, Google AdWords, social media… the list goes on. However, the funny thing is that most of the results we get for our dentists have nothing to do with marketing.
More often than not, we can increase patient flow by simply finding and fixing internal issues in the office.
How do we do that? In this article, we talk about what data we track for our clients, how we use that data, and how we improve results for dentists without spending a single penny more on marketing.
To drive more new patients to your practice, it’s necessary to understand how your office is communicating with patients. To this end, our team at RevUp Dental has created a system called the Scorecard. This streamlined and organized approach gives us the full picture of what’s going on with patient communication in the practice day-to-day.
By using the data from this scorecard, we can increase patient flow by 20%, 30%, or even 40% in a single year– all without spending any more money on marketing. In fact, we’re often able to help our dentists spend even LESS money!
The following is a screenshot of an actual Scorecard report we conducted with a past client:
Notice that we’ve blacked out all personal information in accordance with HIPPA. We want to show you a real example, not some made-up demo data like many other marketing companies use.
Google reviews are the most trusted reviews on the internet. Most people looking for a new dentist are just going to Google “dentist” in their area and go to whoever has the most and best reviews. Wouldn’t you? That’s why we always start our Scorecard report by tracking how many Google reviews a practice has.
In the past, we would explain the importance of Google reviews to our dentists and their staff, and they would agree with us… but then nothing would change. It seemed like they were making no effort to increase their reviews. We kept hearing the same excuse from the staff at the practices– that they were asking for reviews, but patients just weren’t bothering to write them.
It wasn’t until we started looking at this practice’s system that we understood what was happening. The staff hadn’t logged into the system in months! They weren’t sending review requests at all. It’s understandable. A dental practice is a fast-paced environment and seemingly non-essential tasks often fall through the cracks.
Our solution was to create a system of accountability by keeping track of how many review requests were actually being sent out each month. Things improved. And now this dentist is the highest ranking dentist in their area, has won numerous awards like Readers Choice award, and Three Best Rated award, and has seen a big uptick in new patients.
The Cost to Acquire a New Patient
We’re frankly shocked at how many dentists we meet who have no clue what their marketing to acquire new patients actually costs. Too many dentists throw money at all sorts of marketing activities– SEO, social media, flyers, promotions, etc. But when we ask them “what is the ROI on this?” “How many patients is this bringing in?” “How much money is this making you?” they have no idea.
The best data 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. These metrics have about as much value as Monopoly money.
If you’re spending money on marketing, it’s important to know how many new patients your marketing strategies are bringing in. You also 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.
The problem is that many dentists don’t operate based on data, they operate based on “feelings”. If they notice a few new patients coming, they “feel” that their marketing is working. But in reality, 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 are some holes in the schedule, they “feel” like things aren’t working and that they need to try something different. This management by feeling is why a lot of dentists never achieve more than “average” results.
In our system, we track how much money the dentist gives us for marketing. This includes a website, SEO, AdWords management, content, photos– the whole shebang. In the case pictured above, we only spent a little over $30 on Google AdWords because we simply didn’t need to.
The practice’s SEO and Google Reviews were so strong that they didn’t have to put more money into marketing. As a result, we were able to generate 39 new patient leads!
Over the phone or through a Request an Appointment form, these 39 patients told us that they had found the practice on Google by doing a search for a dentist in the area. That means these 39 new patient leads came in as a direct result of the marketing investment. So, in the end, we spent an average of $39.03 to get a new patient who found us on Google to call the practice.
Of these 39 patients, the staff secured 22 patients with BOOKED appointments.
When we look at the total this dentist invested into both RevUp Dental and Google AdWords, we see that, on average, we were able to acquire new patients.
On average, we’ve found that most dentists in North America are spending around $400-500 to acquire one new patient. When we began working with this practice, it was costing them around $200 to $300 per new patient.
Our Booking Rate section provides a detailed breakdown of what happens with different types of calls and communications.
In this case, the practice was able to funnel 56% of new patient leads into appointments– which is great, considering that when we first started with them, the average was around 25-35% each month.
Before hiring us, the practice was booking 1 appointment on average for every 3-4 new patient calls. Now, out of 2 calls, they secure 1 appointment on average. Once you start tracking the right data, the numbers improve.
Out of 40 existing patients who reached 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.
Out of 208 total phone calls, 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 in December, we found 20 where there was an opportunity to book an appointment but it was left in limbo.
Limbo occurs when a patient says something like, “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 bothers to follow up.
We highlight this so that we can work can encourage the staff to be more proactive about reaching back to patients to secure the appointment.
Comparing Data Trends
This information becomes very powerful when we look at average trends for other dental practices across North America.
In this case, the 40% conversion rate on the Request an Appointment forms immediately caught our attention.
Based on data from 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.
We investigated this discrepancy and found it was taking the staff 3-5 days to get back to these requests. By that point, many patients had grown tired of waiting and had booked appointments at other practices. We brought this to the attention of the staff and they started to respond to the requests right away. The conversion rate quickly doubled as a result.
We look at what people are actually calling about and what dental services are popular in the area. We look at when calls are coming in, to make sure there is enough staff to handle the volume. But the true bread and butter of our system is listening to make 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 help us find the bottlenecks in the practice.
Here’s a situation where we had a patient complaint. This patient called on December 8 at 3:59 pm. 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 sold the sizzle of the practice by explaining the amazing dentist they had at the office. In the end, she managed to secure an appointment with the patient.
The Difference Data Makes
A lot happens from day to day in a dental office. No matter how amazing your team is, they cannot possibly catch every little problem on their own. This is where RevUp Dental can help to make sure your practice continues to operate at a high level of customer service.
We go through every communication to analyze how calls are handled, and where the problems are. Then, we work with the team to fix them. Sometimes this includes a bit of coaching in customer service or how to deal with common objections that come up in a call. Most improvements are made by simply catching issues before they get lost in the shuffle.
We hope you found this article helpful! If you need help managing your dental marketing, feel free to get in touch with RevUp Dental at revupdental.com today!