The small town of Drumheller, Alberta made world headlines in February. The town of only 8000 people found something that sent shockwaves throughout the world. The find: a very large dinosaur skull.  The discovery was made even more shocking because people have been literally walking right over this treasure for decades.  The skull was thought to be plain old rock in a local park.  An eagle eyed research assistant made the biggest dinosaur discovery in 50 years simply because she took a second look at something right in front of her eyes.

Let’s go back to 1968.  Dr. Spencer Silver, a scientist at a chemical company, was trying to develop a super strong adhesive.  It was a complete failure.  The adhesive he created did not dry and would not stick to anything. It was thought to be useless. The formula remained on the shelf for 5 years.  Enter another employee of the chemical company named Art Fry.  He was looking for a bookmark for his hymn book.  He noticed that this failed project was strong enough to stick to a surface but could be repositioned without leaving any residue.  He applied the adhesive to the bookmark and stuck in his hymnal.  The bookmark worked perfectly.  In 1980, Art Fry’s discovery became the world famous Post-It Note.

Let’s travel back further to the 50s.  George De Mestral was coming back into the house after walking his dog.  His dog’s fur was covered in cockleburs.  Instead of simply removing them and going on with his day, he noticed how perfectly the cockleburs adhered to his dog’s fur.  He closely examined the cocklebur and discovered tiny hooks which explained how the cockleburs attached themselves to his dog.  He began to experiment with different materials and eventually settled on nylon.  In 1955, the world was introduced to Velcro.

Sometimes the solutions to many of our problems are staring us right in the face.  Let’s take a look at the computers in your office.  Your staff is always complaining about them, rebooting them and your IT guy always seems to be fixing them.  Why not use them to their full potential? Why not use them to automatically confirm patient appointments, post patient surveys and tell patients when their recall appointment is due?  Use your powerful computer network to solve all your patient problems by installing a full patient communication suite like ConfirmByEmail.

Like a dinosaur skull that was thought to be a worthless rock, a failed glue that turned into one of the most used office supplies in the world and an ordinary dog’s coat covered with cockleburs, take another what is right in front of you and solve all your patient communication problems with ConfirmByEmail.

In 2010, Michael Dublin met Mark Levin at a party and they started talking about the world’s problems.  The subject of shaving came up.  They complained about how ridiculously expensive razors were.

Problem Into Profit

They talked about how razors were a serious consumer rip-off.   This conversation spawned an idea.  In July 2011, $35000 paid for a website that launched Dollar Shave Club. Dollar Shave Club provides low cost razors that are mailed to clients every month. Today, Dollar Shave Club has over 200,000 subscribers.

Read more: Why Not Turn Your Problems Into Profits

The National Football League is the most popular sports league in the United States and holds the highest average attendance of any professional sports league in the world. While the NFL is celebrating it's success with the Super Bowl being the most-watched television program in American history, it has it's own issues.

The NFL was created nearly 100 years ago in 1920. Starting out with just 11 teams, the league was quick to capture the top spot of professional football leagues. They saw very little competition until the 1960s when the American Football League was started up by a group of potential owners known as the Foolish Club.

Read more: Practice Management Advice From The NFL

A Small Change Can Make A Big Difference

Eliminate Left Turns

In 2004, UPS began to notice the inefficiency of left turns when making package deliveries.  According to the press release on UPS’ website, using complicated algorithms, they devised a delivery system that would eliminated unnecessary left turns.  This made deliveries faster and saved UPS 10 million gallons in gas. 

Read more: Eliminating Left Turns

While the concept of Google reviews is very good, there are 3 major problems with them that 
you may not be aware of. The volumes of people that look at these reviews are very high.
With that in mind, you definitely need to know what the online reviews say about your business!
You also need to be made aware of the 3 major problems with Google reviews so that you can
ensure they don’t cause damage to reputation. Being proactive is very important.

Bad Google Review

Bad Google Reviews Are Forever
Once there are bad reviews in place on Google, there is no removing them. You can’t take them
down and Google isn’t going to do it for you. The first line of defense is not giving your patients
a reason to post negative comments about you and your business. 

Read more: 3 Major Problems With Google Reviews

There is no doubt that social media has exploded all around us. Businesses often feel pushed into 

the use of social media since their competitors could get more recognit ion than they do. It isn’t
enough though to just take part in Social Media, you have to excel at it. Many business owners
admit they simply don’t have the time to dedicate to it; however, there are ways to get good
results that will actually take you less time than you are dedicating to it right now.

Overhyped Social Media

Is the Cost of Social Media Worth it for a Business

There is no doubt that keeping up-to-date with social media for a small business can be over
whelming. The overall investment of time and money, compared to the results, can be complex
to determine. What you will find is that you are spending more than you thought you would to
generate leads.

Read more: Is Social Media Overhyped?

In the patient care industry it’s vital that you understand the wants and needs of your patients so 
they keep coming back. They should be interested in forging a long term relationship with you.
As they do so, they will also be telling their friends, family members, and co-workers about what
you offer. This can help you to branch out to more patients over time so that your business
continues to grow and thrive. Here are 5 ways you can ensure that patients are going to come back
to your practice.

Returning Customers

Communication
Effective communication is essential when you want to keep patients happy. They should feel
very comfortable talking to any of your staff about their needs. The receptionist should be very
kind and helpful both in person and on the phone. Poor service in this area can prevent people
from scheduling that first appointment. If they feel uneasy during their visit, they will not be
inclined to come back any time soon either. 

Finding that balance between personalized communication and being professional has to be in
place. Make sure staff aren’t asking questions or making statements that someone could
misinterpret or be offended by. Remembering birthdays, their children’s or pets’ names and other
details about their lives can make your patients feel very welcome during their appointment.
When they feel that they are an individual instead of just a name in the appointment book, they
are going to return.

Quality
The quality of care that a patient receives from you has to be top notch for them to want to return
or for them to desire to tell others they know, about your business. Make sure you use the
correct tools and have the right equipment on hand to do the necessary work for each patient.
Taking the time to explain the treatment needed to each patient will make them feel important. If
they feel that their time with you is rushed they are less likely to return.
Part of offering great quality in any patient environment is also being on time. Always
remember that your patients’ time is just as important as your own.

Automatic Reminder System
To help ensure that patients remember their appointments and show up on time, an automatic
reminder system should be used. This will let them know when their next appointment is. Missed
appointments cause unnecessary tension.
With an automatic reminder system, you have the perfect solution for reminding patients when
their preventative maintenance should be done; for example, when they should come in for an
annual exam or a six month dental cleaning. Staying on top of your patient's regular care is
beneficial to both your business and your patients.

Ask for Feedback
It’s important and beneficial to know how your customers feel about your services and the care
you provide, so ask for feedback. Good feedback can be used as testimonials and negative
feedback to improve your performance. It is a good idea use a service which automatically asks
your customers for their opinion.

USE The Feedback
Of course feedback isn’t going to do much for you if you don’t use it properly. The feedback that
your business receives needs to be a priority. If a particular patient wasn’t happy with something get
in contact with them and offer a solution. Recurring issues from several patients lets you know that you
need to make changes to your procedures. Solving problems quickly reduces the number of patients
that will never return.

Clear ongoing communication, quality care, care planning, feedback, and continuing
improvement will keep your patients coming back.

Learning how to use patient feedback to your benefit is very important. Positive feedback and
reviews can be used as testimonials while negative feedback can improve your business.

 Customer Feedback

Use Positive Feedback to Promote your Business
Positive feedback from your patients, can further promote
your business. Contact your patients 
and thank them
for sharing their positive experience. This sends a
powerful message. It shows

you care about and value their opinions. They will be very inclined to recommend your services.

Online Testimonials
Many businesses are hesitant when it comes to tooting their own horns, so they avoid online
testimonials. You should have them proudly displayed; it shows you are proven to be a very
positive business to work with. Potential patients will choose a practice that they feel
comfortable with. This is very hard to convey before they've had a chance to meet you. Online
testimonials help them to establish trust with you prior to their first appointment.

Offer an Easy Way to Receive Feedback
Always do your best to make sure that patients feel comfortable leaving you feedback. Using an
automated online patient communication service will allow your patients to leave you reviews. It
doesn’t require very much of your time and it also generates a lot of positive information.
Patients are much likely to leave feedback when they have a simple means of doing so.
The majority of people will not bother to let you know how you did unless you ask. The
automated system will take care of this for you.

Benefit from Negative Feedback
Getting negative feedback may seem disappointing, but it isn’t the end of the world. It gives you
the chance to do improve your business. You can take what you learn from the problem and find
a solution.
Ensure that you thank your patient for the feedback even though it is negative. If possible, offer a
solution or discount to make up for any problems that have occurred, and then look towards the
future. Make the necessary changes so the cause of the negative feedback does not happen again.

Always strive to do more
Many new ideas and products come directly from patient feedback, so listen closely, because
they can possibly generate a lot more revenue.
Make patients your number one priority by asking, accepting, and utilizing their feedback.

Some people think that email is email, but for savvy marketers and tech gurus, the difference between HTML and plain text email is quite drastic. The best way to visualize the differences is to consider what text looks like in MS Word versus what it looks like in Notepad. Notepad is akin to plain text, while Word allows for rich text format in the same way HTML does. Like Word, most people just use HTML email and never think twice about it. However, there are good reasons for taking the time to consider the differences between the two, particularly now that mobile email clients are so common.
 
HTML Email Uses and Benefits
HTML is used by the majority of people to send and receive emails. Even when you don’t do much to “dress up” an email with HTML, you are still using it in most cases. For instance, creating a hyperlinked word or inserting a picture into an email requires HTML. Of course, changing font sizes, using bold, changing text color, or inserting company logos all require HTML.
 
By and large, consumers respond better to HTML than to plain text, which is just one of its benefits. HTML also provides you with the ability to:
Track open rates of an email (did the recipient open it or not)
Include images
Format text using center, justify, etc.
Include forms
Make links clickable
Break up an email into columns, headers, etc.
 
Drawbacks of HTML Email
So there are a lot of benefits to using HTML in email, which naturally begs the question “why doesn’t everyone use HTML all the time?” It turns out that HTML has some drawbacks that can make it less desirable in some situations. First among the drawbacks is the fact that HTML does not look the same in every email client. An HTML email that looks great to one person may be distorted or unreadable to another. HTML also suffers from the following problems.
It has longer load times
It feels less “personal” to the recipient
Only about 75% of recipients can view HTML. The ability to view HTML is especially limited on mobile devices. If an email client cannot display HTML, it will render the email with text and mark-up all in one big glob, which makes the email very hard to read.
It is subject to heavy spam filtering (email clients will see HTML-only email as potential spam and may block it)
It is often recognized as an “advertisement” by readers and immediately dismissed.
 
So, HTML email is a mixed blessing at best, which brings us to text-only emails. Like HTML, text-only or plain text emails have advantages and disadvantages.
 
The Benefits of Plain Text Email
Plain text email is the simplest to produce and often the easiest for consumers to read if the message is short. It benefits from the fact that every email client can render it correctly and that it is easily viewable on the small screens and limited browsers of mobile devices.
 
Plain text is also less likely to be caught in a spam filter inadvertently. Because it is unembellished, there is little risk of viruses from plain text email and thus people are less wary about opening it. Unfortunately, plain text email has a number of limitations.
 
The Limitations of Plain Text Email
First and foremost, plain text email cannot display hyperlinks, which means that an entire URL must be added to ensure that a recipient can copy and paste the link to a browser. It is true that some email clients will create the hyperlink once the email is open, but this is not always the case. Here are a few other drawbacks to text-only email.
Individuals words cannot be hyperlinked
No graphics
No formatting options
It is not possible to track open rates
 
The last point above deserves some attention because even though you cannot track open rates, you can add clickable tracking to plain text email. Though this is not the same as an open rate, a person who clicks through to a link will have necessarily opened the email, so you will get some idea of the open rate.
 
The Best of Both Worlds
It is true that plain text email is more readable on mobile devices, which will influence how much such emails are sent. It is also true that most people prefer formatting that can only be gained through HTML. However, one need not limit himself to just text or just HTML. In this case, it is possible to have your cake and eat it too.
 
Most email clients allow you to send both plain text and HTML emails together as one. The recipient’s email client can then determine which to display, which is especially important for mobile devices. If the client cannot display HTML, then it will use plain text. When sending email that is both HTML and plain text, it is important to keep the follow caveats in mind.
 
The text and HTML must be similar to one another. If the text part of the HTML is drastically different from the text of the plain email, then most email clients will mark it as spam. This occurs because spammers, recognizing that HTML is more likely to be flagged as spam, will include plain text as well to try to bypass filters. However, their laziness leads them to just put anything in the plain text section and most email clients pick up on this.
HTML formatting should be kept simple. Most people like a little formatting, but not a lot. Too many pictures, graphics, fonts, colors, and other clutter will make an email hard to read. The best use of HTML is for including company logos and creating headings, columns, and other formatting that makes the document easier to read. By way of analogy, some people point out that company letterhead is better than plain white paper for communication to clients. This is quite true. It is also true that fliers and outrageous junk mail seldom attract clients. This is no different for email. Use HTML, but keep it simple. Yes, this is a long point, but well worth making.
When in doubt, send plain text as it is guaranteed to be visible on all email clients.
If you are a business, test both and see what your clients prefer. New clients tend to prefer some formatting and graphics to pique their interest. Established clients prefer plain text because it feels more personal and thoughtful.
 
So there you have it. You can have the best of both worlds when it comes to email, but if you have to choose, you should error on the side of plain text. The old “keep it simple stupid” analogy rings loud and clear for email. Simple, tasteful emails will always win out over gaudy, overwrought monstrosities.
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