Internal marketing is about building relationships with current patients. Practices that successfully connect with patients have the best marketing vehicle available – positive word of mouth that current patients share with families, friends, coworkers and others. After all, you’re in more than a dental practice; your business is all about building and maintaining relationships.
A recent survey by the American Dental Association (ADA) reported that nearly two-thirds (63.7%) of the new patients in general dentistry practices are referred by existing patients.
Consumers overwhelmingly report that they prefer to choose dentists based on word of mouth from someone they know and trust.
To be successful, internal marketing should involve everyone on the team. You, as the leader of the dental team, are responsible for making sure that each member of the dental team knows what internal marketing means and their role in its success.
If your internal marketing efforts aren’t defined and embraced by everyone on staff, it will be more challenging for your external marketing efforts to be successful.
Communicating your internal marketing expectations and practices can be as easy as:
- Letting staff know that each patient deserves impeccable customer service.
- Every interaction with every patient is an opportunity to build patient satisfaction and referrals.
- Educating your staff about how to communicate and promote the practice in an ethical way.
- Talking about internal marketing at team meetings and explaining how it can benefit the practice – and them!
Positive internal marketing behaviors can include:
- Greeting patients with a smile and addressing them by name as soon as they enter the practice.
- Answering the phone cheerfully and on the first ring.
- Seeing patients on time or letting them know promptly of any delays.
- Intentionally and tactfully letting the patient know you appreciate him/her as a patient, would like more patients like him/her, and would be happy to welcome into the practice any family members, friends, etc., they’d like to refer.
Internal marketing courses are offered at many dental meetings, and webinars are available through numerous outlets. Consider having your team participate in a session as a way to refresh their internal marketing awareness and skills.
The benefits of good listening exceed the time, thought and energy required. Effective listening demonstrates genuine concern for patients and promotes commitment to your practice.
What you do as the leader of the practice matters and everything that happens in the practice – whether you know about it or not – emanates from you, your leadership and your practice style.
Much of that stems from how you view marketing and whether you see it as an opportunity to showcase the real value of your services.