After writing my previous article, What Does a PR Director Do in a Dental Office? I received a flood of requests for further information regarding integrating a PR Director and the MGE PR Director Training Package, so I am writing this follow-up article to address some of these questions. If you haven’t read Part I yet, you can click the link above to catch up.
If you don’t have a PR Director, this information is still valuable for increasing your new patient flow.
The PR Director’s duties in a dental office are twofold:
- Public Relations, which includes giving the doctor and the office an excellent reputation out in the community and creating goodwill, and
- Marketing and Promotion, which includes reaching the public to get them to buy your services.
Later in the webletter I will cover how to evaluate your PR Director’s job performance and throw out a few ideas on compensation, but I’ll start with a few more Marketing and PR activities your PR Director (or office manager or other staff member if you don’t have a PR yet) should be doing to bring in more new patients:
- The Care to Share Program. The PR Director should sit in on your morning meetings and any patients who have family members that are not already patients should be identified. These patients should be given Care to Share cards and encouraged to help their family members improve their oral health.
- Newsletters. These can be a great source of new production from your existing patient base. Informative newsletters keep you in communication with and on the minds of your patients, as well as pique their interest regarding oral health issues they wish to handle. The PR Director should survey your patient base to find out what oral health issues concern them and what procedures they are interested in, so that the newsletters address these. Newsletters can be mailed or emailed.
- Emails. The PR Director should manage the email list and ensure that the front desk collects email addresses from every patient who comes through the doors. This list should be emailed regularly (nottoo regularly, though, because you don’t want to be perceived as “spam”) with information they would be interested in, helpful oral health tips, special offers and discounts (for whitenings, Invisalign, exams, etc.), and reminders for appointments and cleanings.
- New Mover Letters. The PR Director can work with a mailing house to obtain addresses of new movers and mail them a special new patient offer.
- Local Businesses. The PR Director can put together baskets with promo, newsletters, special offers and referral cards along with goodies to distribute to local businesses. They can also set up meetings between the HR Directors of local businesses and the doctor to work out how the office can assist in providing dental care to their employees. If it is a small “Mom & Pop” business, the PR Director can usually establish good relations and get them in with the doctor for an exam/consult.
- CONDITIONAL: For Specialists who Receive Doctor Referrals: Many specialists do not realize how large of a network of GPs they could potentially have. In an area with a sizeable population, a specialist could easily have well over 100 unique GP referral sources. Thus, it is extremely important to create and maintain excellent relations with all local GPs. They should be sent info packs, taken out to lunch by the doctor, and understand that their patients will be given superb service at your office. Surveys are helpful here also to ensure you’re delivering exactly what is needed and wanted (i.e. information they need and want in follow-up letters, etc.).
Those are a few ideas to get started with, but PR and Marketing are both enormous subjects and there is much to be learned in order to really get a handle on the job of PR Director. The MGE PR Director Training Package is the ideal solution for maximizing your new patient flow and sparking the expansion you want.
Like any employee, you need to be able to evaluate the PR Director’s job performance and ensure that they are really pulling their weight around the office. Measuring this is quite simple: you assign them a statistic which is measured from week to week. The PR Director would keep at least two:
- Number of new patients in the office.
- Number of new “reaches,” which would be people who “reached” for services at your office in any way – e.g. people who called in, responded to an email or letter, or somehow contacted the office even if they didn’t end up coming into the office.
The PR Director should keep track of these statistics and pay close attention to them to ensure that they are continually going upward. Practice expansion begins with these two statistics. If they are going up, the PR Director is getting his/her job done. If these statistics are trending downward over time, something needs to change.
For compensation, you might want to look at a lower base and higher bonus based on their production (i.e. new patients). I won’t give you a “canned” pay plan, because it should be worked out for your own particular office, but generally speaking, you might want to bonus the PR Director for each new patient above the previous average amount of new patients. So let’s say that before you hired the PR Director your office averaged 20 new patients per month, then you would bonus the PR Director a certain amount of $ for each new patient above 20.
Some do this on a sliding scale. Example:
- 10 patients above average would be $5 per NP. Bonus would be $50
- 20 patients above average would be $10 per NP. Bonus would be $200
- 30+ patients above average would be $15 per NP. Bonus would be $450
They would get their bonus check at the end of the month on their next pay check. Work with your accountant so that taxes are taken out of their bonus.
When you work out a pay system that you think is fair, run it by your employment attorney to ensure it follows the laws of your state.
If you have any more questions about implementing or training a PR Director, or if you are curious if you are in the correct position to hire a PR Director, email me at DaniaF@mgeonline.com or call (727) 530-4277 and ask for me.
Dania Williams provides this general dental practice management advice to furnish you with suggestions of actions that have been shown to have potential to help you improve your practice. Neither MGE nor Dania Williams may be held liable for adverse actions resulting from your implementation of these suggestions, which are provided only as examples of topics covered by the MGE program.