One of the most interesting developments in dental practice management in recent years has been the opportunity to beam into far-away offices via Skype for team training. While I still spend many days on the road presenting dental seminars and working with clients in my dental consulting business, I enjoy conducting virtual meetings with team members in Virginia one day and California the next without leaving my office in Florida.
My Skype training sessions are not webinars, because they are not lectures. These are back-and-forth interactive meetings where good discussions and qualitative learning take place.
During a recent Skype session, I was telling the team, including the doctor, about the importance of letting patients know that the practice is accepting new patients. I explained that typically many patients either do not know if the practice is open to new patients or they assume that because it takes time to get on the schedule, the practice may be closed to new patients.
I saw the expression on the doctor’s face. He had an “aha” moment. He suddenly realized that he could not assume that his patients would refer to him, because many patients, although very happy with his office, simply did not know that he would welcome new patients.
There are many ways to get the message out: systematically letting patients know through brief yet effective verbal messages, effective wording on the practice website, advertising, and good interior and exterior signage with the “new patients welcome” message.
The good news for doctors is that they have not fished out the stream. There are still many potential patients who would come to the practice, if their friends and family—current patients of record—were encouraged to spread the word.
The office team I was training that day on Skype took notes and made a commitment to shift their internal marketing into high gear. I could see the enthusiasm on their faces—another great advantage of video meetings.