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The power of visual communication

June 1, 2021
When it comes to patient communication, phone calls, texts, and emails are standard practice, but have you thought about incorporating video? Brian Harris, DDS, explains why it's worth your time.

Technology today allows us to communicate with patients in a much more efficient way than ever before. I have personally seen the impact social media platforms such as Instagram can have, as I have grown my following to more than 400,000 people in the last few years. After a learning period, I now have a system that helps me generate an exceptional flow of more ideal patients looking for elective procedures. Once I have captured these leads, I use video to streamline the communication process and help them get their questions answered. It’s an easy and effective way to set the foundation for treatment acceptance and build patient retention and loyalty.

Video introduction before the appointment

Let’s start at the beginning of the patient experience. So often in dentistry we find ourselves at the mercy of our schedule. We wait around for new patients to call, wait for them to arrive for their appointment, we do the clinical exam and present ideal dentistry, and then wait for the patient to say yes and move forward with care. What if we could stop waiting? What if we could create more new patients by getting in front of more people to show them what we do? What if we could build trust before seeing patients in person, creating awareness of the quality of dentistry we provide, and establishing a foundation for treatment acceptance? That’s where we can leverage the power of video. Here’s how. Create a prerecorded video that you can send to new patients a few days prior to their appointment. That video should:

  • feature you—the doctor—welcoming the patient to the practice
  • explain the type of experience the patient will have with you and your team
  • educate the patient on the types of dentistry available
  • share that you and your team will do everything possible to help the patient get a healthy and beautiful smile
  • establish a foundation for treatment acceptance by acknowledging that cost is a common barrier for patients, and mentioning available financing solutions, such as the CareCredit credit card

Video consultation after the appointment

Often, after the treatment presentation, patients want to go home and “think about it” or consult with a co-financial decision maker. When this happens, we send them home with the treatment plan on paper and expect them to remember everything we said and be able to present our recommendations. This is unreasonable, and requires us to, again, wait. Wait for them to convince someone else of the value of the dentistry we are recommending and wait for them to call us to schedule care.

Sending a post-appointment video is such a powerful way to get in front of a spouse or other financial decision maker and help them understand treatment recommendations. It provides clarity, reiterates the benefits of care, and gives them a way to share the information with others. It’s very powerful and takes only a few minutes of your time.

Think of it as treatment presentation 2.0. Take a few minutes at the end of the day to create a short, custom video to send to any patients who left uncommitted to needed or wanted care. In that video you should:

  • thank the patient for trusting you to provide care recommendations
  • reiterate your recommended care and the benefits
  • share any photos of patients who have received similar dentistry
  • remind the patient that payment solutions are available; many patients may have been uncomfortable asking for financial options, so make it a point to let them know that many people prefer to pay over time
  • share the estimated monthly payment
  • let the patient know you’re ready when they are ready

The world is changing, dentistry is changing, and patients are changing. No longer are consumers constrained to pick a dentist in their neighborhood. More and more people, especially younger generations, expect to be communicated with digitally, be it social media or something as simple as video. Using these tools can enable us to stop waiting and start creating the practice and life we want to live. For examples of how I use video to communicate with patients prior to their appointment, watch this quick video.

BRIAN HARRIS, DDS, also known as the virtual dentist, with more than 400,000 followers on Instagram, is an award-winning cosmetic dentist and international lecturer. He has innovated his digital marketing strategy to build his personal brand and practice and leverages video to increase case acceptance and patient referrals.

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