6 Reasons To Use Virtual Consultations In Dentistry
The world today lives online.
This was obvious long before the current calendar year, but 2020 has really ramped up the truth of that statement. More people than ever before are socializing, shopping, entertaining themselves, and dating from the comfort of their sofas.
Consider these startling facts:
- The average smartphone user types, clicks, or
swipes their phone more than 2600 times per day
- About half of smartphone users say they ”can’t live without” their smartphone
- More people in the world today own a cell phone than a toothbrush
That third fact in particular should catch your eye as a dental health care professional. It suggests people are more comfortable using apps and sending text messages than caring for their dental health. Why is that?
Certainly education has a role to play. But perhaps the reluctance among so much of the population to properly care for their dental health has something to do with the business decisions made by dental professionals. Simply put, what if the way you’ve been taught to acquire new patients is perfectly designed for a world going extinct?
More importantly: What if there was a better way?
1. Follow the leaders
Think about the biggest ”movers and shakers” in some of the major industries over the last couple of decades. Which companies have disrupted the status quo and forever changed the way business is done in a particular market? Think about:
- Netflix knocking out Blockbuster
- Peloton providing at-home workout experiences
- Door Dash delivering the restaurant to your doorstep
- TelaDoc providing remote care and consultations to patients
And the list goes on! One thing all these companies have in common is their dedication to meeting people where they are in 2020. There’s no denying the way we engage with service providers has changed forever. Every business that wants to remain relevant – dental practices included – must change as well.
2. Divinely discontent
”Sure,” you might be saying, ”That sounds great in theory. But how do I go about disrupting the status quo on a practical level?”
That’s a fair question! The answer is that, although the particulars of how you satisfy the demands of 2020’s ”new consumers” will look different than it does for Netflix or Door Dash, you can glean some key principles from their success.
In fact, their disruptive business models might be boiled down to four primary elements:
- Personalized service
- On-demand fulfillment
- Access in real time
- Convenience (from the sofa)
Jeff Bezos has referred to the consumers who demand these elements as ”divinely discontent.” Rather than view the discontent of his customers negatively, Bezos allowed their demands to drive Amazon to ever-greater levels of customer satisfaction.
Sounds like smart business sense, doesn’t it?
By the way, it’s not just the younger generation who are driving these trends— it’s everyone. All of us have become divinely discontent, together, and there seems to be no going back.
But believe it or not, that’s not a bad thing.
3. The benefits of becoming better
So dental health care practitioners are faced with the challenge of ”getting up to speed” with some other major industries. And like any growth period, there are hurdles to overcome and mindsets to adjust.
Change feels uncomfortable— as it always does.
But with change comes the opportunity to update one’s thinking in a positive way. What if you used this opportunity to change how you think about your practice?
What if you shifted your practice’s focus entirely to your patients and began to think of your practice as ”wherever the patient is?” This would mean your practice included:
- Your physical office
- Anywhere you appear online
- On your patient’s smartphone
Such a shift in your thinking could have major benefits for the way your practice markets itself, functions as a business, and cares for the people in your community. Plus, you’d be laying the groundwork for the adoption of new, game-changing technology solutions.
4. It starts with the funnel
Whether or not you took a lot of business classes as an undergraduate, you’re probably familiar with the idea of a sales and marketing funnel.
For the most part, such a sales funnel model translates pretty directly to how dental health care professionals acquire new patients:
- In the ”Awareness” phase, a prospective patient becomes aware of your practice, influenced by your marketing efforts
- In the ”Consideration” phase, a prospective patient is converted from a digital connection to an in-person connection, influenced by the ease-of-entry and user-friendliness of your scheduling and consultation platform
- In the ”Decision” phase, a prospective patient agrees to future treatment during an in-person consultation, influenced by your in-person salesmanship
There’s a lot that can be said about #1 and #3, but let’s focus on #2 for now. That’s the often phase in the sales funnel – or the ”patient’s journey,” if you’d prefer – where the quality of your technology solutions can make or break your success with a prospective patient.
5. The business case for virtual consultations
At SmileSnap, we’ve partnered with dentists and orthodontists of every size and in a diverse array of communities. We’ve seen hundreds of practices boost their numbers of successful patient conversions after adopting our high-quality virtual consultation platform.
By streamlining that second ”Consideration” phase of a patient’s journey, virtual consultations help dentists and orthodontists:
- Attract more leads and engagement
- Pre-qualify and increase conversions
- Reduce doctor and staff workloads
Virtual consultations are a simple way to transition your practice to meeting the demands of the ”new consumers” of 2020, who want to engage with you on-demand and wherever they feel the most comfortable.
Plus, after a patient receives an instant, face-to-face response to their initial questions, they’ll feel more confident ahead of any in-person appointment. Imagine a patient walking into your practice for the first time who already knows the answers to their biggest questions regarding procedures and costs. Chances are that patient will be ready to begin treatment, and your conversion rate will go up.
6. The case for SmileSnap
SmileSnap is the leader in dental health care virtual consultations for good reason. Founded in 2019, SmileSnap’s Online Smile Assessment tool is trusted by over 1,200 dental and orthodontic offices around the world. Our vision is simple: to make oral healthcare accessible for everyone. Whether you are a one-location practice or a national dental brand, SmileSnap can help.
The SmileSnap Platform is:
- Simple and easy for patients and practices
- Fully customizable to meet a practice’s unique needs
- Supported by virtual consultation experts to support you and your practice’s future growth
Curious to see our award-winning platform in action? Click here to get a live 1-on-1 demo of SmileSnap and learn how it can be a game-changing solution for your dental practice.