I had a toothache. I’d been complaining about it for a few days to my colleagues pretty much any time they offered me anything sweet. I had a dentist that I went to every six months on the dot, but this time around I got to thinking, what if I switch it up a bit? Was my current dentist really the best dentist I could find? How would I find a new one, and most importantly, would the practice take my dental insurance? After a bit of searching online and reading lots of reviews, I ended up changing dentists. My new dentist filled a cavity, made my appointment for a routine check-up in six months, and I’m back to eating office goodies again. Sounds simple enough, right?
I thought so, but many dentists struggle to find patients – or in my previous dentist’s case, keep them. While my toothache was gone, my curiosity remained on how to identify others like me: dentist switchers. How can dentists capitalize on this group to fill their practices and keep patients happy? I’ve compiled four key characteristics of dental switchers that can help dental practices strategize to reach this ready-to-switch audience.
#1- Patients Changing Dentists Are Plugged-In
82.2% of potential dentist switchers are on Facebook, and 60.9% of potential dentist switchers have interacted with social media advertising in the past 12 months. If you’re not running social ads in your area, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity for new patients.
#2- Patients Changing Dentists Are Well-Researched
54.3% of potential dentist switchers research online before considering a purchase, and 47.4% read reviews and comments from others before making a decision. How does your practice look online? Do people know your hours and what services you provide? Can interested patients schedule an appointment right on your website? Do you have at least a 4-star average rating on your review sites? If you answered no to any of those questions, it’s time to give your practice a social media strategy check-up.
#3- Patients Changing Dentists Want a Good Experience
Believe it or not, people are willing to pay more for a higher-quality experience—50.6% of potential dentist switchers, in fact. People want to know that when they go to your practice, they will be treated with care and get the best experience possible. This is reflected in the staff that you hire, the way you present yourself on social media and what your patients are saying about you online.
#4- Patients Changing Dentists Are Community-Focused
If the price and product quality are similar, 57.9% of dentist switchers prefer to do business with a small, family-owned or independently owned business. Even if you’re a dentist that belongs to a large dental group, your ability to show on social media that you’re hyper-focused on serving the community around you will give you brownie points from the average dentist switcher. Helpful hint: 34% of potential dentist switchers support animal-focused charities.
Wondering what made me a dentist switcher? My new dentist was easily found online, and she had rave reviews from people who are terrified of going to the dentist. I don’t consider myself part of that category, but I certainly am not excited to go to the dentist. The practice also had a program for referrals and I’ve already received movie tickets for referring a friend.
It’s not a perfect science, but the data backs up that those who pay attention to their online presence are winning more patients and keeping them happy.
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Sources: AudienceSCAN, 2018