How automated communications provide a better patient experience

If you’re the owner of a small business or healthcare practice, you are probably no stranger to appointment reminders. Studies have shown that appointment and reservation reminders of any type—voice, email, text, or postcard—can have an immediate and positive impact on the number of confirmed appointments and completed bookings.

Yet despite the benefits of appointment reminders and personalized communications with customers and patients, many small businesses and practices have not optimized this process, and staff can find themselves frustrated or overwhelmed by the time it takes to track down unconfirmed patients or organize a system of sending and following up on booked appointments.

When managed or set manually, appointment reminders and other customer communications can become unwieldy and stressful, especially for a small staff that already has a long list of day-to-day tasks they need to complete. Even with the best of intentions, small details can slip through the cracks, and the overall patient experience can suffer.

The solution: automated communications

The solution to this dilemma facing small businesses and practices is simple: automate as many communications as you can for your patients. This is a win-win solution, as it not only makes life easier for your staff, but it increases the entire experience for your patients.

What can you automate?

  • Appointment reminders & confirmations
  • Requests for online reviews
  • Patient feedback via surveys
  • Email campaigns and recall reminders

Automating communications doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated either. Demandforce offers a complete patient communications solution by providing automation assistance for all of the above and more. For example, Demandforce offers an online scheduling system that automates the booking process and the reminder process, making tedious tasks an afterthought. Email and text reminders can be sent through the system automatically without any additional actions required by your staff.

A better patient experience

By automating your patient communications, you are making sure that your patients and customers connect with you in a seamless, consistent manner. This removes gaps in the communication timeline, and also eliminates instances where you contact a patient only to learn that they have already been contacted previously. A platform like Demandforce also integrates with your current practice management system, and leverages the information you have there to make sure that all your communications with patients are relevant and timely to that specific patient.

In today’s modern world, patients expect more than just a one-off positive experience – they want to establish a long-term relationship with their healthcare providers, and one way you can make your patients and customers feel special is by sending them customized messaging that syncs with their previous visit history and other preferences.

It’s becoming easier for patients to widen their search for healthcare providers, and so offering a better patient experience through automated communications solutions will help you stand out from among the crowd.

Why mobile first matters for your business

Did you know…

Over 50% of smartphone users grab their smartphone immediately after waking up. (ExpressPigeon, 2014)

Think about that. We have become so attached and reliant on our smartphones, often they are the first things we reach for each morning. And this shouldn’t necessarily be a distressing fact. Our smartphones connect us to the world and help us communicate quickly and effectively with a much wider world than we ever had access to before.

But what does this mean for small business owners who want to connect to new patients, customers, and clients?

Some stats on the importance of being mobile first

  • Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing, and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead (MicKinsey & Company)
  • Mobile email opens have grown by 180% in the last three years (Email Monday)
  • 91% of mobile users say that access to content is very important (Wolfgang Jaegel)

Your business needs to not only be mobile-friendly, but mobile first.

In an age where 80% of Internet users own a smartphone (Smart Insights, 2015), you need to be thinking about how to immediately connect with your patients and customers online. This includes:

Demandforce offers a complete communications solution for your business.

Demandforce helps you automate your communications and send relevant and timely communications to your entire customer base. These communications can all be optimized for mobile delivery and viewing, keeping you in front of your customers and available where they are most: online, and on their phones.

To find out how Demandforce can help your business be mobile first, visit www.demandforce.com.

Find out how to get more Google+ reviews

If you’re a small business owner, you probably already realize the importance of Google+ reviews for your business or practice. Google is often the first point of contact between a potential patient/customer and your office. The idea of searching on Google has become so ubiquitous, “Google it” is an instantly recognizable phrase.

Therefore, Google+ reviews are strong online currency that can boost your online reputation and make you the first choice for new customers. Online reviews strengthen your social proof, which refers to a human’s natural reliance on feedback and the actions of others to determine what is good or bad in a given situation. Social proof is the reason why studies often show that an overwhelming majority of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations when making a purchasing decision.

A 2014 study done by the marketing firm BrightLocal found that the more reviews a business has, the more trustworthy it is deemed by customers; plus, most customers read up to six reviews to make up their mind about a business.

How many Google+ reviews does your business have?

Don’t worry if that number isn’t as large as you might want it to be. There’s a simple way to generate more Google+ reviews for your business: request them from your previous patients and customers!

With Demandforce, this process is simple to set up. Google+ does not accept third party reviews, so we have created special email templates that you can send out to your database, to request Google+ reviews.

Here’s how to set up a Google campaign in Demandforce

Click on CAMPAIGNS and turn on your ONE-CLICK CAMPAIGNS, and select the “Review us on Google+” option. You can preview the email, and edit the audience or scheduled delivery to best fit your business. By default, the email will send to all customers who rated your business on Demandforce Local or another logged site four stars or above, and will run once every two weeks. However, rest assured – a single customer will only receive the email twice a year.

GoogleReviewExample.png

Once your email has sent, you can view the sent and open rate results in the RESULTS section of the CAMPAIGNS tab. You can also edit or stop the campaign at any time in this area.

For more detailed information on how to set up or use the Google+ campaigns, click here.

Do You Offer Online Booking? You Should.

Online booking made easy

In the age of streaming movies, on-demand TV, and two-day product delivery service, if you are a small business or dental/medical office looking to attract more business and grow, you definitely need to offer online booking.

Online Booking Is The Future (Now!)

According to an Accenture forecast for 2019, by that year 66% of health systems will offer patient self-scheduling, and 64% of patients will choose this option as a way to book their appointments. In today’s competitive marketplace, not offering your patients or customers the option to book online might send them to your competitors.

According to a 2015 survey conducted by the marketing firm Yodle, 60% of consumers want the local businesses they frequent to provide online booking, and one-third say they expect it as an offering. So why not give your customers what you want?

It’s Easy to Implement and Offer

Implementing online booking isn’t scary or difficult, and if you use a marketing and customer communications platform like Demandforce, this feature comes ready to use. Online booking can be added to your Yelp page, directly to your website, and via your Demandforce Local page, so that new customers can request or book appointments immediately after they find you online.

This is helpful because over 42% of online bookings happen after business hours, and the majority of customers polled in a recent marketing survey stated they would rather make an appointment online versus an appointment over the phone. Offering online booking not only extends your potential reach for new customers, but it offers your current ones the convenience and features they want.

Be Mobile First with Online Booking

How often do you check your mobile phone? According to a 2016 Smart Insights poll, over 80% of Internet users own a smartphone, and over 50% grab their phone immediately after waking up. For on-the-go customers, it’s imperative now to offer mobile first compatibility for your customers, and online booking is a mobile-friendly feature that will immediately boost your profile online.

Online booking will help you stand out from your competitors online, assisting you in customer acquisition and recall. It will also save your office time, as you won’t need to send quite so many reminders or phone calls, requesting follow-up or return services. Instead, you could set up a custom email campaign that links to a place where customers can go to book online.

These are just a few reasons why you should consider offering online booking for your customers and patients. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of online booking, and how Demandforce integrates online booking in with its other customer communications solutions catered to your industry, visit www.demandforce.com, or call us at (800) 358-5904.

Demandforce for Dentists [Infographic]

Do you own a dental practice or work for one? If so, you’re one of around 175,000 in the U.S.

So how do you stand out from your competitors and attract new patients and grow your practice?

Find out with this Making You Smile infographic that outlines how Demandforce can help your dental practice increase efficiency and keep your chairs full.

Want to learn more about us? You can view a demo by clicking here, or speak with someone today by calling (866) 507-7016.

demandforcefordental

2016 Marketing Imperative for Small Businesses – Strengthening Your Online Reputation

Did you know that there are 3 billion+ Internet users across the globe, and this number is growing at a rate of 9% per year? That’s a lot of potential customers for your business, and a great opportunity to promote your name and reputation.

Of all the marketing trends we’ve seen this year, one stands out as imperative for businesses that want to continue to grow and attract new customers. The 2016 marketing imperative for small businesses is: to take immediate steps to strengthen and manage your online reputation.

Why your online reputation is so important

Your online reputation is your most important asset because it allows you to achieve all your business goals. It’s a digital age, where over 77% of searches for businesses begin online, and 92% of consumers read online reviews before making a service provider or purchasing decision.

A strong online reputation influences consumer decisions and trust, and when consumers trust you, they buy from you, become returning customers, and refer you to their family and friends.

In fact, a recent Pew Statistics poll showed that 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations over any other marketing – like ads. Professional marketers will tell you that trust is the #1 factor in making a positive first impression. Don’t believe it? Ask yourself: do YOU trust someone with a bad reputation? Neither will your customers.

A positive reputation can drastically improve your bottom line

There are many statistics that prove consumers value online reviews, and look at them before making a decision on where to go, or what to buy. And there’s even more evidence that a bad reputation can hurt your business, as a poor reputation leads to decreased word-of-mouth referrals, consumer trust, and bookings.
So what can you do about your online reputation?

So what can you do about your online reputation? First, you need to figure out where you are with it right now. Ask yourself these questions to gauge your current status:

  • When was the last time you searched for yourself on Google?
  • When was the last time you checked out your website? Do you have a website?
  • Do you have a Yelp, Google+, and CitySearch page?
  • Do you have social media set up – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram?
  • Do you send emails to your customers?
  • Do you have a loyalty program, recall process, or welcome email set up?
  • What is your current rating on the most popular review sites?
  • How do you handle feedback or comments online? Do you respond? How quickly?
  • How easy is it for people to book an appointment with you?

The answers to these questions can help you understand how visible and engaged you are currently with building and managing your online presence.

Some Quick Online Reputation Wins to Jump-Start the Process

Here are some quick wins you can do to immediately bolster your online reputation.

  • Respond immediately to any feedback or review posted online
  • Utilize email marketing campaigns for your new, current, and lapsed customers
  • Make sure you own and update your Google Local, Yelp, and social media pages
  • Request reviews from your customers/patients – the more reviews you get, the more legitimate and trustworthy you seem to be to others

Building a strong online reputation does not happen overnight, but if you establish a good foundation and you have a way to manage and track everything you do, you will be well on your way to strengthening your reputation and growing your business. If you want a partner who has experience with helping businesses like your achieve quick and lasting results, Demandforce can help.

Demandforce is an all-in-one platform that can help your business with its marketing, its customer communications, and appointment reminders and confirmation process. You can automate reminders, set up custom email campaigns and send newsletters, track confirmations and easily follow up with unconfirmed appointments, and even work on customer recall.

Visit www.demandforce.com to find out all about what we can do for your business, and if you’d like to speak with someone directly – you can at (866) 507-7016. You can also sign up to view a demo, to fully understand all the features and benefits of this powerful marketing and business tool. View the Demo Now.

A Vet’s Best Friend [Infographic]

As the economy strengthens, Americans are spending more on their pets. According to the 2015-2016 American Pet Products Association’s National Pet Owners Survey, more than 65 percent of U.S. households own at at least one pet (equating to 79.7 million homes), and Americans spend $60.28 billion caring for their furry family members. That means that more people are looking to find new veterinarians and pet care experts who can help them provide the best care throughout the life of their pet.

This trend has created an incredible opportunity for veterinarians and animal care practices looking to attract new patients and keep current ones. So how can you set your practice a ‘paw’ above the rest? By presenting yourself well online, treating your patients (and their human parents) right, and decreasing No Show appointments and lost clients.

To highlight how Demandforce can help you achieve this, we created this infographic. Check it out, and if you’d like to learn more about how Demandforce can work with your vet practice, you can request a demo today!

VetsBestFriend_Infographic

The Demandforce Blog Lives Again!

DemandforceLogo

Exciting news from the Demandforce team – our blog has renewed life and lives again! We’ve been moving double-time at the Demandforce headquarters, and have so much to share – we’re excited to get back at it again. So look forward to more announcements and news from our blog, including…

  • Demandforce Success Stories
  • Expert Tips on Social Media & Online Reputation
  • Advice for Small Businesses
  • Company Updates
  • Fun Articles and Industry News!

Not familiar with Demandforce? Find out how you can grow your business by attracting new customers, booking more appointments, and generating more online reviews. Call us at (866) 507-7016.

6 Ways To Maximize Your Email Marketing

When it comes to running your business one thing you don’t want to sacrifice is your marketing efforts.  Making sure you get the word out about your business is one of the only ways to ensure retention and word of mouth acquisition; email marketing is crucial to your success. Continue reading 6 Ways To Maximize Your Email Marketing