July 12th, 2018

Why Your Dental Website Needs Online Scheduling

Want to grow your dental practice? Let new patients schedule their next appointment online.

So, you’re looking over your dental office call stats, and you notice that the phone’s going to voicemail more than you’d like. Maybe WAY more than you’d want. Some of those dental appointment calls are after hours and some of them over lunch, but you’re also seeing quite a few that happen during regular hours.

On the one hand that means you’re busy, right? On the other hand, if new or existing patient callers to your dental office don’t leave a voicemail for a call back then it’s kind of like they never called at all.  And if they’re finally ready to get on a treatment plan and they can’t reach you, what are the odds they call your competitor, right?

Missed calls are an issue for just about every dental practice. You could pay a service to make sure that every call is answered, but they don’t know your office like your front desk does. You could route the calls to a cell phone, but then someone has to be responsible for, you know, answering the phone.

What if your phone actually rang less, but you were actually scheduling more patients? Sorcery, you say? No, but LocalMed might be the next best thing. It’s an online dental appointment scheduling system made specifically for busy dentists like you.

How many times do you think this happens in a month – or a week – or a day?

***

“Good morning and thank you for calling! How can we help you today?”

“Yeah, Hi. I need to schedule an appointment for a cleaning on Tuesday, if possible.”

“I’m sorry, we don’t have anything open on Tuesday. Are you available on Thursday?”

“No, I can’t on Thursday. What about Friday after 1:00?”

“No, I’m sorry… {RING RING} Can you hold just one second?”

“…”

{sigh}

“…”

“OK, sorry about that. Now did you say you can come on Thursday afternoon?”

***

The truth is, it’s easier and more convenient (for everyone) to schedule online. “Oh, ho,” you say, “I have a contact form on my dental website!” Super!

So your potential new patient submits the form that may or may not contain a note about their appointment needs and maybe their time preferences. Then the wait begins for someone to get back to them. It might be sooner. It might be later when they may or may not have time to talk or the ability to access their schedule. If that happens, you’re back to the conversation above.

Over 80% of patients prefer to schedule dental appointments online

Nearly 60% of patients said they would switch providers for better online access

Let that sink in.

Eight of ten people want to schedule their dental appointments online. Six out of ten would consider changing providers to one that makes scheduling online easy!

Still not convinced? Here are some more numbers:

  • More than three-quarters of Americans now own a smartphone – 223 MILLION people
  • Age 30-49 = 98%
  • Age 50-64 – 94%
  • The average adult spends more than 20 hours a week online
  • 8 in 10 Americans are now doing “some or a lot” of shopping online

Oh, but we’re not just shopping… We’re surfing, emailing, chatting, paying bills, catching up on the news, following our favorite sports, finding inspiration on Pinterest, and Facebooking. We all know that social media isn’t just for kids either. Today, more than 70% of U.S. adults are social media users. A substantial majority of those are ages 30-49 (80%) and 50-64 (64%).

Do you make it easy to schedule on your dental website?

Imagine allowing your patients to schedule an appointment with any smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop. Imagine, that with the click of a button, they go from reading one of your glowing reviews on Facebook to being on the calendar. Imagine them going from your dental office website or your AdWords landing page, Instagram photo, Google-My-Business listing, insurance partner to being appointed in your patient management software. No additional training for you and your team. No double-booking. Patients are literally asking for this.

What about my practice’s current schedule?

LocalMed uses your practice’s scheduling rules, so there’s no danger of a patient scheduling when you aren’t open or at a time when your schedule is blocked. You determine the appointment times. Want to allow 90 minutes for a child’s first exam? You can do that. Sixty minutes for an Invisalign consultation? Done.

LocalMed’s software will only allow the types of appointments you want, when and where you want them. The best part is, this all happens instantly at the press of a button because LocalMed seamlessly integrates with your practice software.

Patients can see my schedule? No thanks!

Worried about patients seeing or accessing your schedule? Don’t be! You can easily set things up inside LocalMed. You can tell it that you require two hours for a new patient appointment. When someone new wants to schedule their visit they’ll only see your open, two-hour slots.  There’s none of that well-how’s-this-day-how’s-that-day back and forth. You’ve set up LocalMed so that an implant consultation is one hour. Your patient will see only the open spots of at least one hour.

How do I get my office manager on board?

Are you thinking that there’s no way your office manager will go along with this or want to give up control of the schedule? They’re not giving up control, in fact, they’re gonna love it! New appointments come through with a notification. The front office verifies the information and the appointment. Patients can provide their insurance information and also fill out medical and HIPAA forms in advance of their visit. It saves everyone time in collecting and validating.

More numbers that don’t lie

  • Nearly 70% of the calls that go to voicemail hang up without leaving a message.
  • Nearly 40% of LocalMed appointments are scheduled after regular business hours.
  • Of the LocalMed appointments scheduled, seven out of ten are NEW patients!

What are you supposed to take away from all of this? There’s a hard cost of not picking up the phone. That’s why there’s LocalMed. Your patients can always schedule an appointment. Doesn’t matter if the office is busy or even if you’re closed. 24/7 schedule-ability. LocalMed puts the appointments on your calendar when you can’t.

Making online scheduling available and part of your dental marketing plan for your dental practice is a win-win for everyone. Call GPM to see if LocalMed is right for your practice.

Online scheduling is just part of the equation. How does your site do at converting visitors? Take the quiz!