Are you a dental office manager who’s doing more with less? You're not alone. According to a recent survey of more than 1,400 dental professionals, office managers and front desk employees at dental practices are increasingly being tasked with marketing duties.
A whopping 70 percent of respondents to the 2016 Survey Report: Dental Industry X-Ray report that the responsibilities of their office manager and/or front desk staff have increased in the past two years. However, the size of the staff hasn't kept pace. Just 37 percent of survey respondents say their practice has added staff members in the last two years. In 63 percent of offices, the size of the front desk staff has stayed the same or even decreased.
What are all those office managers doing? Across the board, the survey found, the office manager or front desk staff at a dental office is typically responsible for:
- Marketing activities such as social media, online reviews and other tactics to acquire new patients
- Scheduling, including confirming appointments and filling last-minute cancellations
- Billing and insurance issues
- Patient retention activities such as reactivating dormant patients and communicating with patients
Most of these duties are things that office managers and front desk staff have always handled, such as working with insurance companies or scheduling appointments. However, office managers are increasingly responsible for marketing activities, which can be a whole new world for some.
How can office managers become dental marketing experts? Automating aspects of the dental office’s marketing efforts can help. However, while more than six in 10 practices in the survey have added automated software solutions in the past two years, the majority either aren't choosing the right software or aren't using all the features of the software they do have. Most practices use automated software for recall reminders, appointment confirmations and patient communications such as birthday greetings. But fewer are using the sophisticated tools that the best automated dental practice software has to offer.
Online reviews, for instance, have become increasingly important to dental practice marketing and patient retention in recent years. Lighthouse 360 makes it easy for office managers to manage these time-consuming tasks efficiently and professionally. Lighthouse 360 automatically requests reviews from satisfied patients, then posts the positive ones to online sites such as Yelp and Google. It also gives your dental practice its own page on RateABiz.com, which highlights positive reviews and helps improve your practice’s rank in search results.
Social media can be a game changer when it comes to attracting new patients. Fortunately, managing your dental practice’s social media presence is simple with Lighthouse 360. Office managers can add social media posts and reviews to Facebook directly from the Lighthouse 360 portal. It's easy to upload photos to the practice’s website and create photo galleries, such as before and after photos of cosmetic dentistry patients, with the Lighthouse 360 widget.
Last, but not least, Lighthouse 360 helps office managers take control of their practice’s email outreach. Send attractive, professional-looking emails to patients and create segmented lists so you can tailor your marketing efforts to specific patient demographics.
Choosing the right automated software is like hiring a marketing assistant for your dental practice. Making the smart choice in automation, then educating your staff in using the tools, can turn any office manager into a marketing expert.