As we have already talked about on the blog a couple of posts ago, referrals are a huge factor when it comes to gaining new patients and maintaining old patients. Sometimes you can gain those referrals through your own website, by showcasing testimonials by satisfied patients. Instead of relying on the word of mouth from a friend to another friend you can put a page on your website dedicated to the happy customers that come to your office. This will be helpful for those just searching for a new dentist. They are going to trust you and see that you are well liked as well as good at your job with the testimonials. After all 70% of Americans trust recommendations they find online, even if it’s from people that don’t know. That’s why sites like Yelp are so popular.
When creating the testimonials make sure you’re aware of the guidelines through your state dental board. Also know that you cannot do a few things, such as compare your office to another or promise predictable results among other things.
At CXC Dental we are so aware of how helpful social media is as a marketing tool. It works on so many different levels, but the most helpful of all is its ability to help you reach out to new patients as well as retaining old ones. Just having social media accounts don’t help though, you have to work to make it your own and make sure that you are maximizing all that they have to offer. Here are just a few helpful tips that CXC Dental has picked up.
Facebook allows you to provide helpful information to your patients. While your patients might not be asking you questions when they’re in your office a Pew survey reports that 80% of people are searching health-related topics online. So why not put yourself out there as an authority for them to turn to? Use Facebook to give your patients tips on taking care of their teeth and gums or advances in dental care. This way patients old and new see you as an authority when it comes to their dental needs.
Another great site to use is Instagram. People love visuals they want to see what is going on so they can connect with it easier. Instagram is more-so a place where you can show your personality. People want to know their Dentist and their dental hygienists, so show some personality. Post memes, selfies, and pictures of happy patients. These pictures will help you connect with your patients on a much more personal level which is great advertising for you.
Through all social media platforms running contests and sweepstakes is key. Doing a picture contest on Instagram that involves a “follow” and a hashtag will bring outside people to your page. Running a giveaway on Facebook that involves people giving your page a “like” and sharing a specific post will boost your “likes” right away. In the end you’re guaranteed to get new eyes on your practice.
Happy patients make your office a better place. So how do you keep those patients happy? By offering them rewards for their loyalty as well as rewarding new patients for picking your practice.
First time visits can be much more expensive with the X-rays and record-keeping that is involved. So offering your new patients a discount on some of these things will get them in the door and keep them coming back. The revenue that comes from the long term will more than make up for the initial costs you may incur.
Your existing patients will need love to in order to remain happy. Rewarding them for referrals is a great way to gain new patients and keep your existing ones happy. It’s also an excellent way to get existing customers to try new services with the bonuses that they gain from referrals.
There are a lot of different types of marketing out there, and each one can work. Studies have shown that referral marketing is one of the best forms of marketing out there. The main thing to remember about referral marketing is that YOU make it happen. Encourage your existing customers to tell their friends about your office through an incentive program has been shown to be incredibly effective. You can make the most of your happy customers with a referral program. Here’s some things to keep in mind about referral marketing.
- Trust. This is the biggest factor in referral marketing. When it comes to a dentist people want someone they can trust and when they’re looking for someone new they will trust a friends opinion above an ad. In fact in a Neilson Trust Study showed that in 2013 84% of people said that they trust the recommendations of people they know over any other form of advertising. This isn’t just through friends this also means through customer reviews, bloggers and testimonials among other things.
- Loyalty. The customers that you get through referrals have a 16% higher life-time value. The customers that are referred to your office are going to be more reliable as clients because the people referring them feel like they would be a good fit for your office.
- Ask. According to Texas Tech 83% of happy customers want to refer a product or service but on 29% actually do. The easy way to fix that deficit is by a simple “please and thank you”. Asking your satisfied customers to refer you is an easy way for you to make sure that you’re getting the word out there. You can do this simply by asking and giving nothing in return. Or you can use an incentive program, giving cash or other services in exchange for the referrals. A Chicago study showed that non-cash incentives were 24% more effective at boosting performance.
Reports of the death of the desktop may be greatly exaggerated, but in 2014 it lost its place at the top of the e-commerce heap to the combo of smart phones and tablets. “Mobile-first design” caught on as one of the year’s buzzwords. “No longer an add-on to the marketing mix, targeting mobile users will become top-of-mind to a campaign’s success.” While consumers still primarily go online on a desktop (either at the office or at home), mobile commerce is gaining fast and marketers are shifting their attention to making everything mobile-friendly. Statistics show mobile advertising spending worldwide will grow 51 percent in 2014 and make up 31 percent of the spending growth for the year.
- Visual Branding Evokes Emotions
Images can instantly elicit emotions that connect consumers to your brand. Think of ads you’ve seen for charitable organizations, particularly those dedicated to helping sick or starving children and abused animals. Visual branding is a cornerstone of nonprofit branding, but it can be applied to any brand. Take a look at Nike ads. Even Google has embraced visual, emotional branding in recent years with marketing campaigns that focus on visual storytelling.
- Visual Branding Gets Noticed
People’s eyes are typically first attracted to motion (e.g. online video content or animated GIFs) or color (e.g., colorful images). A web page or print ad filled with words can be designed so white space and typeface draws consumers’ eyes through the copy. However, they’re far less likely to instantly click away or turn the page if a moving element or colorful image captures their attention.
- Visual Branding Drives Sharing
Did you know that online content which includes an image typically gets more social media shares, particularly on Facebook, than content that does not include image? There is a reason why sites and tools like Vine and Instagram are so popular. People love to share visual content. Make sure you offer some visual content from your brand for them to share, too.
- Visual Branding Is Memorable
Some images are hard to forget, but even the most mundane image increases memory and recognition for many people who are visual learners. If you rely on text alone, you’ll miss a segment of the consumer audience who is better able to recall images than words.
- Visual Branding Is Quick and Easy to Consume
As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” While text can give context to images and tell a more complete brand story, an image can communicate a great deal very quickly. Today’s consumers move quickly, particularly online. Visual branding provides another way to communicate your messages to an audience that might never stop to read your content or messages.
Oftentimes, a negative experience that a customer has with your business can be salvaged and turned into an opportunity to win them over for life.
But being able to handle negative feedback in a positive way takes plenty of practice. Your business can get a head start by following established advice on interacting with customers in these less-than-ideal situations.
Poorly handled customer complaints are one of the quickest ways you can destroy an otherwise stellar service reputation.
1. Time is of the Essence
I’ve made some pretty strong cases for spending more time with your customers, but you saw the data above … complaints are a slightly different beast that greatly benefit from being resolved quickly.
A customer leaving a feature request won’t sweat the fact that it took you a day to get back to them. However, unhappy customers want resolution yesterday, so you need to make responding to them a priority.
In almost every other instance I would encourage you to slow down your service, but in this case you need to make moves to right the wrong as soon as possible!
2. Verify the Resolution
Have you ever tried to contact customer service through an online form, and after you hit submit there wasn’t a single follow-up notification on whether or not action had taken place?
This is frustrating, because you don’t have a clue where your issue—and any hope of resolving it—stands.
The same thinking applies to resolving customer conflicts via email or phone. You want to be absolutely sure that the customer is clear on the resolution that occurred and that it met their needs. So if you’re not ending your responses with an inviting question to do more, then start now.
3. Drop the Formalities
Customers want to be treated with respect, but if you stop treating customers like regular people and start talking like a corporate stiff then they won’t interpret the interaction as genuine.
Research suggests that personalization is powerful when interacting with anyone, but especially with your customers.
Remember that you’re not speaking to the Queen of England, so refer to your “chat” with a customer rather than your “correspondence” with them, and speak as if you were talking with an acquaintance. A little familiarity can go a long way toward getting customers on your side.
4. Involve Them to Avoid Overcompensating
You already know that you don’t have to buy an amazing customer experience, so throwing freebies at customers over issues that could have been resolved in other ways is a surefire way to lose your shirt.
Instead, if a complaint is genuine and the mistake is on your end, involve customers in resolution decision-making through phrases such as, “What do you think would be fair?”
5. Don’t Drag Out a Lost Cause
If a customer wants to cancel their account, do it for them right away. Better yet, let them cancel without having to call your company at all. It should be just as easy to cancel as it was to sign up.
Winning customers back with exception customer service is an important aspect of your business that you should focus on (and the thesis for this whole article!), but when customers already have one foot out the door let the parting be as friction-less as possible.
Customers aren’t necessarily done with you for good just because they cancel their account once, so don’t hassle them as they exit. Remind them what they’ll be missing by simply being sincerely helpful.
6. Get to a Medium Where You Can Take Action
People love to complain on Twitter, but it’s hard to successfully resolve a complaint within that channel.
Instead, refer people to an email address they can contact with their issue and assure them that you are ready, willing and able to get this problem resolved right way.
Trying to achieve anything more in limited spaces like social media just results in a public back-and-forth that rarely goes anywhere productive.
- CARP Diem
- Problem solve
In other words, take control of the situation with language that shows you are ready to handle customer concerns and don’t intend to play any games. Acknowledge that you completely understand their concerns and won’t be brushing them off.
Next, refocus away from their emotions to the problem at hand, outlining how you’ll take care of it. Finally, solve the problem they initially came to you with, confirming that everything has been resolved to their satisfaction.
- Don’t Take it Personally
You and I both have bad days from time to time, and your customers do, too, so don’t hold it against them!
Even with the absolute worst barnacle customers, you need to practice pushing their mistreatment aside and recognize that you can’t control how miserable people act—but you can control how you react.
Consider the following statistics:
- Resolve a complaint in the customer’s favor and they will do business with you again 70% of the time
- Up to 95% of customers will give you a second chance if you handle their complaint successfully and in a timely manner.
The time has come, soon to be 2015. You’ve likely considered a number of resolutions you want to follow through with in the New Year. Maybe it’s to spend more time with family, or run more on the weekends, or try to cut pizza and other greasy foods out of your diet for a while (that’s one of mine — I doubt it’ll last long, but I digress).
So take the time to crunch the numbers, discover what is and isn’t already working for you, modify your campaigns accordingly, and 2015 is bound to be just as — if not more — successful than 2014.
1) Focus on Mobile
2015 is going to be all about mobile. As of February 2014, there were 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions, the International Telecommunication Union reported. Now, just imagine how much that figure has grown since then.
Smartphone’s and tablets are increasing in popularity by the day and we don’t just mean in terms of sales. Consumers are using mobile devices more and more to conduct transactions, research brands, visit their favorite sites, and read and reply to emails.
So, if you’re still under the impression that it’s absolutely fine not to worry about optimizing your email campaigns and websites for mobile, it’s time to modernize and make some headway in improving your mobile presence.
2) Responsive Websites
While we’re on the topic of mobile, this is as good a time as any to talk about responsive design.
Making the look and functionality of your site the same on both desktops and mobile devices can go a long way in bringing in new visitors and leads and bettering your bottom line and with 17% of global web traffic coming from mobile, as Statista reports, you’ll want to make your site is completely optimized for smartphone’s and tablets.
Given how relatively new the concept of responsive design is, we totally get it if you’re not up to speed on exactly how to get your site fixed up properly.
3) Content Strategy
Speaking of content, it’s only going to become more important over the course of 2014, given Google’s assertion that quality content will gradually have a bigger impact on SEO.
Because of this, it may be smart to evaluate a variety of types of content that could work for your inbound campaigns. You can determine what’s best for your efforts in several ways — chiefly, going over your analytic from the past several months and engaging in continual A/B testing. This post will help you get started with the former, and this one, the latter.
If you’re planning on taking on a bunch of content types and need some help organizing and structuring them, these numerous templates can come in handy.
4) Strategize your social media and email strategies as needed
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram — these are the undisputed kings of social.
While new, flashy social sites are bound to pop up over the course of the New Year, you’ll first want to ensure you master these aforementioned platforms that have proven to bring substantial ROI for marketers worldwide before putting all of your eggs in a new-and-unproven social media basket.
In other words, we advise you resolve to fine-tune your prospecting on these sites before diverting efforts to the “next big thing.”
Similarly, it may be wise to make one of your first priorities in 2014 to comb over your email marketing metrics to see what may need to be adapted or revised.
5) BONUS: Consider a homepage revamp
Although you may have already put in a great deal of time, effort, and resources to making a top-tier homepage, a change in buyer persona could mean it’s time to give it a face lift.
Even if you haven’t altered your persona, it may have been a while since the last time you made sufficient changes to your homepage to account for marketing new products or services, or even rebranding your company.
The stars are prominent. They’re more prominent than lots of other elements on a brand Page — including likes or the elusive “talking about this” metric. For pretty much all brands – big or small – this is a wonderful thing. Instead of competing with other companies for “likes,” brands can focus on getting a few qualitative, positive reviews.
They can focus on the quality of their business instead of the quantity of their followers — which is how brands should be thinking about Facebook, but some haven’t because of how prominently the number of likes were displayed.
Less focus on fluffy vanity metrics and more on true audience engagement and happiness is a good thing. Brands can prove real business ROI, and fans can actually be delighted by the company and its content.
The stars are prominent. And who knows if they will only appear on your brand’s Facebook Page? They could end up being pulled into the “like” box on your website or any other place where you’re promoting your brand page through embedded content. If you have great reviews, all of those worries are positive, but let’s face it — not all companies are going to have only five stars.
That is, unless companies start forcing employees to leave fake reviews, which will end up skewing the average rating. Bonus: It’s incredibly unethical to force employees to leave positive reviews. Even if the reviews are voluntary, the reviewer should be disclosing he or she is an employee. And even then, it’s still a tricky situation.
Right now, the most that companies really can do is force you to like their Facebook page — which is definitely unethical, but not quite as egregious as leaving fake five-star reviews. “Liking” something just doesn’t carry the same weight as a full-blown starred review — one new like adds onto a never-ending pile of likes, whereas a review gets factored into an average.
And I’m not going to get into math here, but really low and really high reviews could skew the average review displayed at the top of your brand page — which, regardless of whether the average is good or bad, is just plain inaccurate.
Besides the whole unethical employee reviews, you might get skewed results if your brand doesn’t allow people to write on its Timeline. When people want to communicate with your brand on Facebook, they’ll then have to comment on an individual post or better yet … leave a review. And if they’re trying to communicate with your brand about a customer satisfaction issue, chances are the reviews are going to be poor. Say bye-bye to your stars!
While your company should always be trying to delight customers — and should definitely be alerted when customer satisfaction is poor — a few bad support complaints could tank your Facebook Page efforts.
So all in all, this could be a great tool if people know how to use it properly,
Q: It seems harder these days to hang on to clients. What can a small business do to get new customers while on a tight budget?
A: Being different compared to other common tactics get the job done.
That said, there is no shortage of clever, inexpensive ways to drum up new business. Here are my top eight ways to get new customers.
1. Try a new marketing technique:
At CXC Dentist we try and keep our marketing techniques consistently fresh.
If you try something new, you will reach new people, and that increases your chances that someone new will check you out.
Print a flyer. Create a coupon. Have a sale. Start a direct-marketing campaign. There are many powerful marketing ideas that will generate more business.
2. Launch or offer a new product: Again, the idea is the same – if you keep doing the same thing, offering the same old products (and marketing them the same old way) it is the same group of clientele you will attract.
The trick is to get different people to check out your business. Offering a different product, or product line, and letting people know about it, does that.
3. Get more clicks: While you can’t man the business 24/7, your URL can. Whether yours is a fully-empowered e-commerce site, the secret to converting that Web site into money is all in the numbers. The more people who visit, the more purchases may occur.
The good news is that getting more people to your Web site is actually a fairly easy thing to do.
4. Launch a PR campaign: Advertising is great and can lead to new customers. The problem is that it is inherently biased; it is you tooting your own horn.
Far better: Have someone else hype your business for you. That is where public relations comes in.
By getting a TV or a radio station, or a newspaper or magazine, to do a story on your business creates immediate third-party, trustworthy, validation of your business. That you can use that story again and again is icing on the cake.
5. Ask for referrals:.
Creating an incentive referral program is simple and it can yield great results. The key is to give people a reason to refer business to you (aside from being a fine establishment) and to thank them for doing so. People like to be appreciated.
6. Smile and dial: Sometimes new business is simply a matter of prospecting. Whether it is making cold calls or sending out proposals, every so often you just gotta do it. Do some search engine research, get a list of potential leads, and get to it.
The important things I have learned when prospecting are two-fold:
- 1. Don’t take “no” personally.
- 2. Remember, it’s a numbers game. Keep on going!
7. Revamp your Web site: Did you know that 80% of Americans now spend as much time online as they do in front of the television? That means that you have to have a top-notch site.
8. Get (social) networking: More and more, people are going online to check out and chat about business choices. Indeed, according to a poll I just read of “active Internet users”:
- 72% of respondents checked out a company’s reputation on chat boards before buying.
- 74% based their buying decisions, at least partially, on what they read.
- 81% thought that blogs, online rating systems and discussion boards gave them valuable feedback.
What this means is that you have to nurture your online reputation.
The upshot of this all is that new tricks create new customers.