Digital Communications: What Is It? What Good Is It?




Use of this technology in dental offices has almost doubled in the last three years. 38% of area dentists now have it.

  1. If you haven’t got it, you’re probably looking into it and it is worthwhile to look into.
  2. If you have it, chances are you’re not using it to its full capabilities. That’s worth looking into.

Contrary to what the sales representative will tell you, Digital Communication is not an all-purpose cure to cancellations and failures. It can help keep a practice busier but we cannot prove yet that it reduces no-shows. We do know, however, that it frees up front desk time and we also know that clients have benefitted from its many applications:

  1. Patients really like text and email confirmations—it’s part of showing people you
    are keeping up with technology.
  2. This gives your front desk team more time to make appointments because they spend less time confirming them.
  3. It gives you the capability of getting surveys from patients, which is good feedback but, as importantly, can help you get more testimonials for your website online reviews. We know that testimonials are important conversion factors for converting website visitors into patients. Think of your own behavior when you shop for hotels and how you look at reviews.
  4. Promote services such as Invisalign: Example: a client of ours from Rochester used an email and text announcement to promote their “Invisalign Day”. They feel that this was responsible for 15 patient Invisalign starts.
  5. Fill last minute openings: Examples: A client in Wisconsin emails patients (RevenueWell) when they have last-minute openings in the hygiene schedule. They offer whitening (bite-down trays from Patterson) to the first person to respond and fill the appointment. “Last minute openings. Come out and get that checkup you’ve been putting off and you’ll get free professional-strength whitening…” Another client in Houston, TX uses digital email and texting (Demand Force) to announce last minute openings in their hygiene schedule. Their incentive is free movie tickets. They said some patients actually wait to schedule when they know they can get free movie tickets. Not all bad because it means that there are a lot of patients eagerly standing by to fill last-minute openings. You should not overdo it, but if you even do this once or twice a month to fill 2-8 hygiene slots as a result, it is a pretty good payoff.

There are many applications for digital communications and they’re growing! My associate, Kelly Larson stays on top of the constant changes and keeps a summary grid of the various digital communication companies to help you compare their offerings. Generally, they charge about $300/mo. Most arrangements are month-to-month (companies are no longer asking for one or two year contracts).