9 Tips For Dentists & Orthodontists Building a Strong Practice During the Coronavirus Pandemic - featuring Dr. Alexander Waldman
(Part 1 of 2)
Co-authored with Dr. Alexander Waldman, principal orthodontist at Waldman Orthodontics in Beverly Hills, California.
The coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented event in modern history, and something that our grandchildren will certainly be reading about in the history books. People throughout the world are suffering - physically, emotionally, and financially.
Although the end is not yet in sight, we can not despair. There are things that we can do to keep our business vibrant despite being closed, and maintain strong virtual relationships with our patients, despite not being able to physically treat them. By maintaining these strong relationships and introducing things like SmileSnap virtual consultations, we can guarantee that we will return to healthy practices and continue to help people in the way we always have - one smile at a time.
1. Your Office May Be Closed, but Your Business Isn’t
It’s critical that we look at the interruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic for what it really is, an interruption. This may sound a bit scary at first but remember that it is temporary.
At some point business will resume as normal so it’s important to spend this time preparing your practice for when the pandemic ends and you can reopen the office doors. This is a great time to focus on refining operations and updating project management systems, researching new technology, and growing your social standing as a leader in your community.
In addition, even when we return, our ability to see patients in the way we did before will likely be limited for a time. If a practice was used to seeing 75 patients a day, it may need to create a strategy for seeing 20 patients a day with extreme personal protection and sterilization measures. We can use this time to start preparing for these possible scenarios so that we have the technology, equipment, and personnel in place to move forward. - Dr. Waldman
2. Stay engaged with patients and drive new leads. Don’t Just Post a “We’re Closed for Coronavirus” Notice
If you are closing your office doors or forced to cut normal business hours, you should certainly post a notice on your website. However, not having an alternative to engage with your patients and not providing them other ways to enter your funnel effectively eliminates the value of your site as it will no longer be driving leads.
When a new patient reads a “We’re closed notice”, they have no other option than to “bounce” or leave your site and you have no information collected to reach out to them later when you reopen. Hopefully they’ll come back later. Maybe they won’t.
So what should you be doing instead?
3. Schedule Appointments With High Conversion Rates
As bad as the coronavirus pandemic is, it will eventually end. When it does, there will be a pent- up demand for orthodontic treatment and there will be a high demand for consultations, despite potential ongoing issues with the economy. It will be critical to pre-qualify patients to ensure that every patient who takes up a consultation slot is motivated, well- informed, and ready to start treatment.
Having a high conversion rate will be a necessity to recover months of lost starts and missing production. Doing over 300 virtual consultations in the last year has taught us that the best way to increase your conversion rate is to pre-qualify your patients using a high quality virtual consultation experience. - Dr. Waldman
How do you schedule high conversion consults?
4. Virtually Screen/Pre-Qualify Your Leads Before Your Office Reopens
As an orthodontist, your most valuable time is your consultation time. In the rush to return our practices to “normal” when we return from the Covid-10 pandemic, this will be more true than ever. Providing a high quality consultation that converts into a treatment start is the key to orthodontic practice growth, and yet many patients present to the office with unrealistic treatment or financial expectations, other dental needs, or are still “shopping” for other opinions. When these patients do not start treatment, it can lead to frustration and a feeling of “wasted time.”
By maintaining these strong relationships and introducing things like SmileSnap virtual consultations, we can guarantee that we will return to healthy practices and continue to help people in the way we always have - one smile at a time.
Virtual consultations are a way to pre-qualify your leads and create a pipeline of new patients who have already been educated about the benefits of being treated in your practice, and have been given an estimated treatment plan and fee. These patients are ready to start, and in our experience, convert into treatment 80% of the time, regardless of the referral source. In addition, you can use virtual consults to create special offers and incentives for people to commit to treatment now nor be highly motivated to start when your practice opens. - Dr. Waldman
5. Incentivize New Patients to Pre-Screen So Your Can Build a Backlog
Successful pre-screening of new patients with a virtual consultation should result in a consumer who is educated, motivated, and ready to start orthodontic treatment in your office.
During this time, as we wait for our practices to re-open, consider offering an incentive or special offer that patients can take advantage of if they commit to their treatment now. As an example, this could be offering free accelerated treatment, free whitening (idea: send them a take home whitening kit to use now while they are waiting to come in for records), or a dollar amount off of treatment.
A small cost to your practice to offer this incentive could lead to patients “pre-sold” and ready to come in as soon as you open your doors. - Dr. Waldman
Part 2 of 2: Tips 6 through 9 For Dentists & Orthodontists Building a Strong Practice During the Coronavirus Pandemic - featuring Dr. Alexander Waldman
About Dr. Alexander Waldman
Dr. Alexander Waldman is the founder and principal orthodontist of Waldman Orthodontics in Beverly Hills, California. Dr Alexander Waldman is a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics and received his undergraduate and dental degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, He then completed his fellowship in orthodontics at Harvard University and received the esteemed Joseph L. Henry Award for Excellence in Clinical and Research Training, awarded to the top graduate student amongst all dental specialties.
Additionally, Dr. Waldman is the founder of the Multi-Disciplinary Group of Beverly Hills, a leading provider of continuing education for dentists in the greater Los Angeles area. He has published multiple clinical papers on original orthodontic techniques that he has developed and has been a featured speaker at many continuing education events, including the USC International Restorative Symposium, the USC Dental School Annual Part-Time Faculty Meeting, and multiple dental societies.
Carmen Marie Gonzalez