Pros and Cons of Communication Platforms

While the telephone remains the most popular way for dental offices to communicate with patients, there is no denying that, as the result of many digital developments, the number of platforms to reach patients has grown. With so many options available – from email and texting to Facebook and Zoom – it’s difficult to decide which communication platforms you should be using at your office. Each platform has its own pros and cons that must be considered when deciding what is right for your practice and the patients you are trying to reach.

Consider your patient demographic as you move forward with office communications. If in doubt, ask your patients what their preferred method is when being contacted. That information is extremely valuable and all you have to do is ask!

Telephone Pros:

  • Getting an immediate response from patients
  • Making a personal connection with current or future patients
  • Staff can answer questions directly

Telephone Cons:

  • Some patients may have phone anxiety
  • Younger generations are less accustomed to phone calls and would prefer email or text
  • Some patients are not available for calls during the day

Social Media Pros:

  • Can use to reach and attract new patients
  • By sharing day-to-day activities patients can get to know you and your staff better
  • Convenient platform to share visuals (office design, new equipment, before-and-after photos)

Social Media Cons:

  • May be too much for staff to manage
  • Many different platforms to navigate
  • Hiring a social media manager could be out of budget

Email Pros:

  • Flexibility for patients to view and respond when they have time
  • Easy to send mass messages to patients on updates to office (ex. COVID closure)
  • Patients can directly add appointments into their calendars

Email Cons:

  • Easy for patients to ignore or delete
  • May feel impersonal
  • Could end up in spam folder

Text Messaging Pros:

  • Easy to prepare and send out automated messages
  • Guaranteed to reach patients quickly
  • Great tool for answering emergency questions during off hours

Text Messaging Cons:

  • May feel intrusive to some patients
  • Some patients may not have a cell phone or know how to use it efficiently
  • Like email, it could appear impersonal

As seen in the print issue of Oral Health July 2021

*In late October and early November, 2020, Bramm Research, a third-party independent research house, conducted an online survey of active, practicing non-hospital affiliated dentists and dental specialists on behalf of Oral Health. Using Oral Health’s subscription list, a total of 407 completed surveys were tabulated. With a total sample of 407, the margin of error is plus or minus 4.7 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. If, for example, 50% of the sample indicated that agreed with a statement, then we can be reasonably sure (19 times out of 20) of an accuracy within +/- 4.7%. This means that a total census would reveal an answer of not less than 45.3% and not more than 54.7%.

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