Covid-19 has changed the way healthcare is delivered, and digital healthcare technology is at the forefront of this transformation – not only now, but for the long term. And as a result, the advantages of working with a digital dental workflow have never been more relevant. This was the main topic explored in Align Technology’s recent Digital Excellence Series, powered by iTero. In this series of online webinars, clinicians and specialists delved into some of the most critical topics for the dental community at this time, offering advice and best practice backed up by examples from their own clinical practice.
And in November 2020, Christian Coachman joined this experienced line-up to give his insights on what this year will bring and how we can best approach it. In a presentation titled ‘Digital dentistry insights: what you should be doing in 2021’, which was moderated by DSD’s Luken de Arbeloa, he focused on the main challenges faced by smile rehabilitators when it comes to improving smiles, and the technology and strategies we should master in order to overcome them in 2021.
Approaching the conversation from a patient perspective, Christian focused on what we should be doing to generate perceived value in their minds: understanding psychology, behavior and the ways in which we can prioritize the strategies that do this.
He started the discussion by explaining that as business owners, we should master the processes that can increase the amount of patients who find us. Then, as they walk through our door (either physically or virtually), how can we increase the chances of them liking us and trusting us? How can we turn more patients into fans? How can we make people talk about what we do and how can we spread the word about the amazing effort and investment we are putting into being an outstanding clinician?
It’s not easy to be a great clinician and own a great dental office. And, unfortunately, dentistry is preceded by its negative reputation – pain, discomfort, expense, and lengthy procedures. This means that psychologically speaking, we have a huge battle to face when it comes to making people understand how lucky they are to be with a great clinician.
Christian highlighted the importance of changing people’s perception, increasing perceived value and making sure that people don’t take what we do for them for granted. This means that in addition to clinical excellence - which must always be our first priority - we need to understand how skills such as communication, charisma, storytelling and technology come together to help us show people the value of what we offer them.
This will help us to attract more people, convert more patients, increase case acceptance, transform people into fans, and increase word of mouth referrals.
How to have more patients find us, like us, trust us and promote us
👉 Understand the decision-making process
Christian explained that knowing your patients’ decision-making process is all about understanding human behavior, attracting the right people and mastering the process of bringing people on board.
👉 Show patients why they should choose you
Even when a patient understands that a good dentist and dental treatment can improve their health and wellbeing, how do they know to choose you? Why is your treatment better than treatment somewhere else? Christian highlighted the importance of Emotional Dentistry: everything we need to do from the moment they walk through our door in terms of appointments, ambiance and psychological strategies.
👉 Turn your patients into fans
Even when patients do treatment with us, they are not necessarily fans. How can we change this? Christian believes this is to do with the ‘wow effect’. From our website to case acceptance to their treatment, we must learn and implement strategies to make them forget about their old dental experience and realize that modern dentistry can be completely different. Modern consumers aren’t only looking for good dentistry, they are looking for great experiences; everywhere they go, they are used to being surprised with positive experiences.
He explained that this is not just about the clinical experience, it’s also about the non-clinical experience, hospitality, truly taking care of people and exceeding their expectations at every step of the journey. Every business owner should look at the strategies that make patients become fans.
👉 Empower your patients to go from fans to promoters
We all have those patients who really embrace their sense of belonging to our office and are proud to share our services and our work with those around them. Christian believes that to do this, we must exceed expectations from the moment patients step through our door, mastering both sides of the process by delivering high-quality clinical work and care, but also high quality in everything else. It’s about moving away from ordinary to become extraordinary, away from daily and towards life-changing – and understanding how technology can help us to do this.
Embracing the smile business
We must understand that at the end of the day, the patient doesn’t care about your technology or your brand of implant – they want to improve their wellbeing, lifestyle, health and confidence, and the only professionals who can improve health and confidence are the ones who are focused on the smile as the main goal. As we see ourselves as and prepare ourselves to be smile rehabilitators, we move our office into the smile business.
Christian described how apart from being a great clinician (which is a given), we must invest in two skill sets to embrace the smile business: technology and communication. In his opinion, it’s difficult for a dentist who masters these two things to not succeed. So while there is no magic strategy, we must be smart and prioritize the approaches that increase our probabilities of success.
Get clear on the technology and strategies to master in 2021
“I strongly recommend that you explore these suggestions with your team – sit down with your staff, your partners, your associates, and brainstorm about how to start building the projects now. I strongly believe that 2021 will be an amazing year for all of us, and it will be even better if we are prepared to fascinate people.”
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