Latest update – 23/3/20
What follows are my findings and understanding of the best practice for communicating with patients during this crisis for dentistry in the UK.
As the situation unfolds I will add additional resources and information to this page, please ensure you visit regularly to see the latest updates.
This page will NOT focus on anything clinical, there are other resources for that.
23/3/20 – Digital communication checklist if the practice is forced to close
With more practices closing each day I thought it would be good to create a checklist for your digital marketing.
- Stop regular social media posting – I’m not convinced that it’s appropriate to continue cosmetic dentistry or other forms of marketing whilst the crisis is in full swing.
- Begin public service announcement social media posting – giving patients information and advice about the latest virus updates from the government.
- Place a message about being closed on the homepage of your website.
- Place a message about being closed on Facebook, use Canva to create an image of this. Images and text messages seem to get better views, so using both will get your message out. Once you have created this post, pin it to the top of your stream so it stays visible.
- Create a looping message on Twitter with closure details – messages tend to decay on Twitter so the loop, once per week is fine.
- Notify patients via e-mail, letting them know what to do in the event of an emergency.
- Update your opening times on Facebook and Google.
- Consider setting up a Virtual/Digital consultation, please see the post further down on this page
If you think there’s anything missing from this list, please do let me know.
20/3/20 – Creating a virtual initial consultation
With the current situation many dental practices are considering the possibility of closing their doors, having a virtual video consultation gives the ability to remain in contact with potential new patients.
In this video, I (very roughly) explain how to use Calendly and Zoom to set up a virtual video consultation for FREE.
I put this video together very quickly and am learning myself how to get this working effectively, so I reserve the right to make changes to this as the situation and learning develops and grows.
19/3/20 – What marketing should we be doing at the moment?
Right at this moment in time, my personal thoughts are that as members of the healthcare profession we should have our patients as a primary focus (to be honest, it should always be like this).
With the current situation most people are going to be concerned about their health and what they do if they have a dental emergency, rather than looking for elective treatments.
My current recommendation is that we continue to update social media streams and create blogs in the same way that we have always done, except this time the message should be focusing around key areas.
- what to do if you are in dental pain
- what the practice policy is for keeping you safe if you have to visit
- what the practice policy is for patients in the middle of treatments (for example, patients that have temporaries fitted)
- what the emergency policy will be if the practice has to close completely
By keeping your communication streams open, it will help the local community feel less isolated, after all, isn’t that the true role of healthCARE professionals?
Client Note – if you are a client of mine, please keep ME updated with the above information and I can ensure that your communication continues to go out to your patients and local people.
17/3/20 – keep patients up-to-date
3 things to get you started.
- Send a communication e-mail to your patients letting them know that you are dealing with the situation. I recommend you follow Chris Barrow’s suggestion and download his example.
- Be clear that your advice may change to patients over time as the situation evolves.
- Let patients know that you are actively involved in information groups enabling you to make the best clinical decision at any given moment.
Modify Your Opening Hours
In view of the present situation with the Coronavirus (COVID-19), provide your customers with the most up-to-date information about your business:
- If your business hours have changed, adjust your opening and closing times.
- Update your business description with information on whether your business operations are affected by COVID-19. You can also let your customers know about extra precautions your business is taking.
- Make sure your phone number is correct so that customers can reach you.
As the situation evolves and you need to modify your opening hours, be sure to keep all of your listings around the Internet up-to-date – especially your My Business listing on Google (previously Google maps) and your Facebook page.
Client note – If you are client of mine and I am managing your search optimisation then I will update all of the listings around the Internet in one go, please let me know of any updated opening hours so that I can keep everything in sync.