Expert Advice Series Part 4 with Emma Woods
Henry Schein One's New Zealand Business Development Specialist highlights the need for EXACT software for online bookings
So many parts of our lives are conducted online these days (for better or worse) and it’s important for dental practices to stay on top of customer preferences. Of course, visiting the dentist for a check-up will always require face-to-face contact. But that doesn’t mean you should neglect other elements of your business that could easily be managed online.
We spoke to Emma Woods, Henry Schein One’s Business Development Specialist for New Zealand, to gather her expert tips for businesses looking to establish or enhance their online booking systems.
Visiting the dentist is not something that can be done online, so why should dental practices care about improving their online systems?
We need to think beyond the actual event of visiting the dentist. How do patients make appointments in the first place?
The current online activity of people, fuelled by the increase in the use of smartphones and tablets, sees us spending more time than ever connected to internet-enabling devices.
Many people prefer the convenience of making bookings—including dental check-ups—online. Some research indicates that up to 40% of people say they prefer to conduct transactions over the internet, rather than on the phone or face-to-face. Practices should make that possible, even easy, for them to do so with an online booking system.
What systems have you found to be most helpful to practices that want to add an online booking system?
Online booking is an integrated part of EXACT dental software. It allows patients to quickly and easily make appointments online whether they are at work, travelling or simply in the comfort of their own home.
Logistically, how does EXACT software work? What if a practice doesn’t want to make their appointment book visible for everyone to see?
This is a frequent cause of hesitation, as not everyone wants to show customers (or potential competitors!) how busy they are—or not!
But dental practices need not fear that their appointment book is visible for all to see. They have full control over which appointment slots are made available and are visible to patients looking to book.
If a practice came to you for business review but was reluctant to change their systems, what would you tell them?
For those practices with an online booking facility in place, 47% of the total online appointments made are booked outside of business hours. This highlights the need for patients to have the flexibility to book appointments at their convenience.