Contact with others has never been more important than during this time of enforced separation. While that contact can’t be face-to-face, there are plenty of other ways to stay connected and communicate with patients, both old and new.
Below are six simple steps to stay in touch with your patients when you can’t physically see them:
1. Pick up the phone
With possibly more time on your hands than normal at the moment, why not make calls to your existing patients? These aren’t sales calls, you’re just there to reassure them you are still there to help if they need you. You can perhaps start to give them details of what your new patient journey will look like when they come back, but most importantly check on how they’re doing. Small acts of kindness are always well received, and practices that are already doing this are finding patients to be very appreciative.
2. Increase your social media presence
If you’ve dabbled in Facebook, Instagram or Twitter in the past, now might be an ideal time to boost your presence as a means of communicating with your patients. With lots of people stuck at home, more of your existing and potential new patients may well be spending even more time scrolling through their social media feeds. Sharing a combination of personal and informative content can go a long way to engaging with both those patients and letting them know you are still around, you care about them and you can’t wait to see them again.
3. Is your website doing its job?
Any potential new patients are likely to head to your website before they even pick up the phone. Is yours fit for purpose? Is it clear, easy to navigate and most importantly up to date? Refreshing the website is often one of those jobs we plan to do, so now might be the ideal time to review your website as part and parcel of your preparations to reopen. Take the opportunity to make sure it best reflects your practice and can help you convert those all-important new patients.
4. Email newsletters
Communicating with your existing patients is very important during this time of uncertainty. Could you put together a weekly or fortnightly email newsletter to share good news stories, oral health care tips and any updates? Keeping patients informed is vital to ensure they know you are still there for them and that you are busy planning for when you will be able to treat them safely again.
5. Video consultations
With us all embracing new technologies and methods of connecting, could you offer video consultations to new patients? This would provide the opportunity to get to know one another, provide an initial assessment and most importantly begin to build a relationship that can be transferred when we return to a new normal. While there are obviously limitations to what you can do virtually, patients will undoubtedly appreciate the extra effort and perhaps be more likely to push ahead with treatment once lockdown is over if they have already been able to take the first step via video.
6. Man the phones
This might be a difficult one to manage for many practices at the moment with furloughed staff. However, if possible, make sure someone is available to answer any calls into the practice. Being able to speak to a team member will be extremely reassuring for many patients and ensures you stand out where others may not.
Good communication has always been a key part of building strong relationships with patients. Now it is vital, and we all need to adapt to new ways of keeping in touch. Showing your patients you are still there for them, even if you can’t physically treat them, will go a long way and will stand you in good stead for returning to practice in the post-COVID-19 world.