Understanding how patients choose a dental practice

While clinical skill and certifications matter, what really drives patients to choose one dental practice over another is often less about dentistry and more about the patient experience.

Referrals are still tops

Nothing drives new appointments like a referral. Implementing systems that encourage and your current, loyal patients to recommend you to family, friends and colleagues will be the fastest method for converting prospects into patients.

Online presence and reputation

In lieu of a personal recommendation, online reviews provide a suitable proxy for many patients, particularly those under 40.

Appointment availability

Your average patient assumes that anyone licensed as a dentist will be skilled enough to provide comfortable, quality care–and to a point, they’re right. Sometimes, a patient will choose their next dentist according to who can see them first. It’s important to provide easy, online booking directly from your website. For some patients, making it easy to see availability and schedule an appointment is all you need.

Location and convenience

Some patients choose their dentist based on proximity to their home or work. While you can’t do much about your location once you’re established, you can make changes to improve convenience, such as access to parking, and focus marketing efforts on residential areas and employment centers convenient to your location.

Wait times

No matter how nice your waiting room is, patients would rather be somewhere else. Implementing strategies that shorten wait times from checking in to seeing the doctor can make a real impact on your ability to attract new patients.

Breadth of services and technology

The Internet has made today’s dental patient more savvy than ever. Certain demographics are educated on the latest and greatest in dental equipment and treatment options, and will specifically seek out a practice with newer technology and cutting edge treatments.