Dental office jobs are changing. What will dental administrative staff do in the future?
We know that the time spent on manual, time-consuming tasks such as making and confirming appointments and collecting payments is decreasing. Dental offices are using automated systems to confirm appointments via e-mail, text message, and computer-generated phone calls. Even the process of making appointments is undergoing a revolution. If people can make an appointment with a hairdresser or veterinarian using an app, then they want and demand to make dental appointments just as easily.
When it comes to collecting payments, the process of handing a plastic card to someone at a desk for processing is going the way of pegboard accounting systems. There are automated systems that allow patients to swipe their phone over a sensor. If it works for Starbucks, it also needs to be available in dental offices.
The new role for dental administrative staff is lead conversion. We are moving from an era of mass marketing to micro marketing. When I lived in Chicago, Swissair advertised on a major radio station every day. Their pitch was designed to entice people to buy a first-class ticket on Swissair from Chicago to Zurich. The problem was that over 99% of the listeners were a) not planning a trip to Switzerland, or b) wanted to find the best possible airfare, not pay for first class.
Utilizing the power of Facebook and other social media, you can target very precisely. Ad campaigns can be started and stopped at will, and the automated system can be designed to operate until a preset expenditure level is reached. There are many companies will expertise in this area. This type of target marketing is efficient—you reach people who are your target demographic—and the campaign does not have to be unduly expensive.
The problem is that when leads are generated, the individuals who work in dental offices often have little or no training in lead conversion. It’s not enough to be courteous and polite. Shoppers need to be educated about the practice in a structured yet low key and respectful manner. Going from inquiry to appointment takes training, experience, and persistence.
The good news is that those talented people who work in dental offices, now being freed from many manual tasks, are eminently trainable. They can and should be trained to respond to leads and turn as many as possible into new patients for the office. At least for now, those skills are beyond anything an app can do.