The new fear of the dentist

Dental offices are safe. We take all sorts of precautions even in the best of times. And now, we’ve doubled down on those precautions.

But patients may not know that.

In fact, patients are so scared of any medical visits—even the urgent ones—that major medical organizations are starting an ad campaign to reassure people it is safe to get medical care.

This is a great opportunity to look at and improve how you use physical evidence to effectively market your practice.

Strong physical evidence can help alleviate patient fears.

The health of your patients—and your practice—depend on it.

Marketing experts say physical evidence is a key factor in helping consumers develop an opinion about a business. Physical evidence includes everything from the sign on your door to the type of toilet paper you use in your bathroom. Ritz-quality toilet paper can demonstrate an office puts a premium on patient comfort and satisfaction. Gas station-quality toilet paper can do the opposite.

And when it comes to reassuring patients about COVID-19 risks, physical evidence is key. You can’t see COVID-19 itself (or the lack of it), so you need to make sure there is lots of physical evidence indicating you’re doing everything you can to keep the office safe.

This includes masks for all employees, having employees clean surfaces so frequently that patients see them doing it and your sanitation systems front and center.

It also includes providing physical evidence to patients before they come to the office. After all, the patients who are already there either don’t have or have overcome initial fears.

The pre-visit physical evidence can take many forms. You could post pictures to Facebook of you and your staff in masks, cleaning the office and using new safety equipment. You could post a video tour of your office highlighting what you’ve done since you initially closed to enhance patient safety.

It’s also important to clearly communicate what patients should expect at their next appointment. Not only will this reassure them, it will also help ensure all patients follow proper procedures.

The ADA has released a toolkit dentists can use to educate patients about their next visit. This is both helpful to educate patients about your expectations, as well as a great piece of physical evidence that your office is safe. If you care enough to send patients information on best practices, it shows you care enough to take the necessary precautions.

COVID-19 highlights the importance of physical evidence in marketing your dental office as a safe place for high-quality care. Look at this as an opportunity to address patient apprehension and validate your patients’ confidence in the quality of care you provide.

Learn how a dental membership program can help your practice attract new patients and build loyalty.

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