How your practice’s messaging should evolve in this new normal
Focus On Cleanliness And Compassion To Build Trust
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect daily life, it has caused a hyper-awareness for safety and cleanliness in dental patient demographics. This means dental practices must consistently communicate with their patient base and address these concerns.
Sanitization and sterilization procedures performed at your practice may be old news for you and your staff, but a better understanding of the safeguards you’ve put in place to protect your patients and their families will put them at ease.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, speaking to your patients’ specific concerns will be much more effective at gaining their trust than saying nothing at all. Providing this information is your gateway to building trust and getting your audience comfortable to schedule an appointment at your practice.
What’s On Your Website?
As your website visitors seek information about your practice, they are also curious about the measures you’re taking to keep them safe during the pandemic. This is why your website is a perfect place to display your practice’s COVID-19 updates.
Here is some information you should consider including in your website’s COVID-19 page:
- A paragraph that reassures your commitment to the safety of your patients and staff.
- A section mentioning that you have adopted and are closely monitoring the new recommendations set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Dental Association, the Occupational Safety and Health Association, and your state dental association.
- A description of your practice’s safety and sterilization procedures.
- A description of what your patients can expect when they arrive at your practice.
- A call to action for the reader to contact your team with any questions, offering yourself and your staff as a comforting source of information.
- A thank you message to them for being your patient and trusting you with their health and safety.
Your description of safety and sterilization procedures should include:
- How often and when dental practitioners use disinfectant hand soap.
- How dental practitioners protect themselves and others with PPE: gloves, face masks, face shields, etc.
- How and where dental practitioners clean and protect the office and work areas via chemical disinfection of countertops and surfaces.
- Sterilization of all equipment before each use.
- Use of disposable tools and materials.
- Use of any air purifiers and filters (if applicable).
Your description of patient instructions could include:
- Pre-screening questions.
- Non-contact temperature taking.
- Waiting in their car and checking in via phone instead of in the waiting room.
- Your expectations for patients’ hand hygiene and their use of hand soap and sanitizer.
- Your expectations for patients wearing a mask upon entering your practice.
Update this page as you receive new questions from your patients. Listen carefully for these questions during phone calls, in-person at the office, and on your social media pages. If one person asks a certain question, there is a good chance others are curious about the same issue. When you’ve crafted an informative, comforting answer, share it on all your marketing channels.
Social Media Updates Are Imperative
Echoing your website, your practice’s COVID-19 safety measures should be communicated on your social media channels frequently. This way, your comforting message has a better chance of being seen in front of potential new patients. On behalf of their clients, Whiteboard Marketing posts these kinds of updates at least once a month.
Share posts of you and your staff working in these new COVID-19 precautions for a more personal touch. Your patients will appreciate seeing familiar faces, and more than just words, these pictures and videos prove you are doing everything you can to make patients as safe as possible.
This also provides a strong visualization of what your patients can expect when they come in for their appointment. These posts empower them with knowledge of what your practice and their experience will look like.
To further illustrate ownership and accountability, many doctors are posting videos of themselves speaking directly to their audience. Here are some topics doctors discuss in these reassuring videos:
- Commitment to patient and team health and wellness.
- The office being open for all services. The CDC recognizes all dental services as essential to overall health and disease prevention.
- How to contact the office with any questions.
- Encouraging people to visit the website to learn more about what the practice is doing to keep everyone safe.
- Differences in the office.
- How avoiding the dentist because of the pandemic could compromise positive oral health momentum.
- Dental industry updates and reopening updates.
Coming from the doctor, these videos offer an intimate opportunity to directly address patient concerns in a tone that is comforting and informative. These videos are also an opportunity to direct new patients to your website to learn more, to contact you with questions or to schedule an appointment.
During these difficult times, remember to also utilize lighthearted and positive posts to break up the more serious posts discussed above. Whether serious or lighthearted, these posts help build trust and a strong, personal connection with your audience.
As you navigate this pandemic landscape with your team, continue to be mindful of new concerns coming from your patient base. Once you’ve developed messaging that is educational and reassuring, ensure it is communicated on all your marketing channels. This includes social media, website, emails, GoogleMyBusiness, pay-per-click advertising, and anywhere a patient can discover or rediscover your brand. Keep your audience engaged and aware of all the great things your practice is doing to keep them safe.
As always, take extra care to monitor your response times for phone calls, emails, website chat messages, reviews, and questions received via social media. Develop a communication strategy or script with your front desk team so you’re able to efficiently answer any questions when they arise.
By updating your messaging strategy and being mindful of your patients’ concerns, you are building trust while growing a positive reputation for your practice. Compassion is one of the marks of a great leader. In this time of uncertainty, it’s important for your practice’s messaging to lead the way in being understanding and helpful. Leading with compassion illustrates that you truly care for your patients and want the best for them.