I acquired a practice app about a year ago, choosing the Dental App to stay ahead of the competition.
I have a practice that focuses extensively on cosmetic and reconstructive dentistry, and I’m always portraying it as “leading edge.” If there’s new technology out there, I want it — as much for what it says about our practice as for its usefulness.
I’ve come to believe that whatever your market niche, the app is an important practice tool because:
- Every dentist needs to stay ahead of the competition
- A little “wow” goes a long way
- An app is useful to patients
- An app is useful to the practice
- It’s more cost-effective than any traditional marketing tool
When I present the app to tech-savvy patients, they react with “Oh, of course you have your own app.” Other patients are surprised and impressed — they think it’s cool!
It’s usually the tech-savvy who download the app, and those are the patients I want to reach the most. Others have not downloaded it, but just having them know I have an app serves my purpose of being leading edge.
Another important factor to consider is the widespread use of smartphones and tablets. The astounding growth of this market segment indicates how much consumers are using their mobile devices to make decisions, purchase services, and conduct their personal business.
In 2011, Ingenex Digital Marketing reported that mobile commerce increased by 91% over 2010 usage. Mobile Commerce Daily predicts mobile commerce will increase another 71% to reach $11.6 billion in sales.
In early 2011, I looked iinto the marketplace for a practice app. I didn’t find any specific to dentistry, but I found the Doctor App, which was created by three physicians. This was a nice product, and they had a good track record with the Eye Handbook App, which has been downloaded 500,000 times by ophthalmologists and ophthalmic surgeons.
That app has now been renamed in the dental market as the Dental App, I like it because:
- The Dental App appears on the patient’s device as a branded (to your practice) app
- The patient can use it to schedule appointments, obtain directions to your office, learn about dental services, view educational videos, meet the office staff, refer another patient, ask a question, or request information.
- Push notification is a feature that allows your office to send a text to the patient’s phone announcing openings in your schedule, new services, specials, and new recruits to your practice.
You will need to promote the app in your office. Make sure your staff is on board, and educates patients with signage, conversation, and quick demos.
I believe the Dental App will really take off for practices that promote cosmetic procedures, orthodontists, pediatric dentists, and general practices that serve young through middle-aged adult professionals, all of whom use smartphones. There’s no doubt that having an app improves communication between patient and doctor.
The Dental App works well with my Facebook page, as one type of media supports the other. I’m about to turn over the updating of the app and use of “push notification” to the same staff member who manages my Facebook page. Of course, the app is free to the patient on the iPhone and Android devices. You can view my app at www.cloudninedevelopment.com under the title “Fred Peck, DDS.”
If you’re looking for a competitive edge against other practices, a practice app really sets you apart. Not too long from now, we’ll all look back and say, “Of course, we needed to offer our patients an app.”
Give Your App This Quiz
If you’re considering acquiring a practice app (and I think you should!), ask these questions of each app product you’re evaluating:
- How long has this app been in use?
- Does the creator have a track record with other app products?
- How does the total cost (upfront cost and monthly charge) compare to similar apps, and also, to other practice-marketing tools?
- Is this app branded to your practice on patients’ devices?
- Does this app enable you to reach out to patients?
- Does this app allow you to upload photos and graphics?
- Is this app easy to set up? (Ask for the names of dental users to contact, and ask them)
- Is this app easy for patients to use? (Ask for demo, and ask dental users)
- Does the cost include upgrades?
- If you have a problem, is there live help, and who gives it? (Tech support should come from high level.)
Statistics show consumers love their mobile devices:
- It takes 90 minutes for the average person to respond to an email. It takes 90 seconds for the average person to respond to a text message.
- 70% of all mobile searchesresult in action within one hour.
- Mobile coupons get 10 times the redemption rate of traditional coupons.
- There aremore mobile phones on the planet than there are TVs.
- 91% of all U.S. citizens have their mobile devices within reach 24/7.
- It takes 26 hours for the average person to report a lost wallet. It takes 68 minutes for them to report a lost phone.
- There are 6.8 billion people on the planet. 5.1 billion of these people own a cell phone, but only 4.2 billion own a toothbrush.
- In some countries, there are more mobile subscriptions than there are people. (How can this be? It’s because some people own more than one mobile phone.)
(Source:Mobile Marketing Association)