I recently read a book, and it was such a good read, I thought I’d share my thoughts here.
Everything Is Marketing; The Ultimate Strategy for Dental Practice Growth was written for dental practices, but all the principles can be applied to a medical practice, or to any customer facing business. The author, Fred Joyal, founded 1-800-DENTIST, and during his career has probably heard more stories from patients about their healthcare experiences than anyone.
The book spends very little time on “traditional” marketing topics like advertising, website design, and social media. It talks about how everything, and I mean EVERYTHING that you do in your practice has an impact on patient perception and ultimately their satisfaction. The way your office looks, how your staff greets patients, and the little touches that cost almost nothing, but make a big impact. Most importantly, it conveys why practices that successfully manage patient satisfaction tend to make lots more money (pay special attention to the “contribution margin ratio” discussion in chapter 3), and have more fulfilled caregivers.
Some things the book communicates particularly well:
- the difference in communicating with existing patients (who may be candidates for additional services) and nonpatients (who may just be afraid of dentists)
- the importance of understanding the patient’s perspective (i.e. they’re nervous, if not outright afraid, when visiting a healthcare professional). Most professionals think they understand their customers, but let’s face it, it is really hard to see the forest through the trees.
- differentiating your practice using low price or discount deals is rarely a strategy for longterm success
- the “la la land” that most dentists (and all professionals for that matter) are living in when they think their professional standing (education, training, certifications, experience) should be all the marketing they need. Patient customers don’t have any idea how to evaluate clinical ability.
I’ve read MANY books, articles and blog posts about improving the business side of medical and dental practices, but this is the best I’ve read, by far. It’s available as a regular book, for e-readers (like my Kindle), and as an audio book to keep you company during your commute. Read it; you’ll like it!