You’re patiently waiting your turn at your doctor’s office, flipping through the magazines spread out across the coffee table. Suddenly, a disgruntled patient storms the office, screaming at the receptionist, yelling about their horrible experience. They’re throwing out accusations, making you uncomfortable and start to question if you want to continue seeing this doctor. All eyes in the waiting room are on them, but no one in the office behind the sliding frosted glass window are paying any attention to the angry patron. The office staff continue typing away on their computers and gathering files for patients in the waiting room.
What’s wrong with this picture? This is not a scenario that would happen inside an office because we know that customer service is key to a healthy business. Now imagine this happening online. The same disgruntled patient writes a bad review of the company and that review sits there, untouched by any office staff to attempt to rectify the situation. This looks just as bad to potential customers researching a business because they want to see the exceptional customer service they expect from their doctor.
Lesson: Your practice’s online presence is married to your brick and mortar brand, so make sure they match up.
Most potential customers research your practice online before they commit.
We live in a world where internet research is at our fingertips. People are actively researching more online than ever before, especially those searching for orthodontic treatment. Not only is it a financial investment but it’s a long-term commitment. A positive relationship is important to the client, even more so when that relationship concerns their children. This means a large portion of your clients and potential clients are receiving their first impression of your practice through your website and online presence. The Pew Research and American Life Project has found that 80% of internet users (roughly 93 million people) have used the internet to research medical and health related topics from procedures to practitioners. Your practice’s website is more important now than it has ever been and every aspect of it either builds or diminishes your client’s trust.
Your practice’s look online should match your office’s personality.
Too many orthodontic offices do not honestly represent themselves online and let us tell you one thing: prospective patients notice. As soon as they step foot in the office they will think about their experience on your website and compare the two. It’s important to accurately represent your practice. If your office is fun and energetic, showcase it! If your office is excited to provide specialized services using cutting-edge technology, showcase it! Know your brand and use it to your advantage by representing it online. By tying your brand to your online presence, you are separating yourself from the cookie cutter orthodontic offices.
Communication is key: both online and in person.
Another key component to building trust with your clients is by effectively communicating with them. Just as their research has turned to the internet, your ability to engage them has as well. A study published by Google in 2017 shows that 16% of people expect a response to their email immediately and another 21% within 1 hour. Many people prefer to communicate online through email so it’s important to engage them as quickly as possible, just as your office would with a phone call. It is also important to address your practice’s reviews whether they are good or bad. By addressing them you are showing that they are being heard which helps build confidence in your brand, as you care about what your patients have to say. If someone was to walk into your office and praise your work or complain they would not go unheard, don’t let them go unheard online either.