Millennials are quickly displacing baby boomers and Generation X as the most sought-after market segment in the nation. At over 80 million members, millennials—born between 1980 and the early 2000s—have become one of the largest groups in the U.S.
As of 2015, there are more millennials in the U.S. workforce than Gen Xers or baby-boomers, and they are expected to spend around $1.4 trillion annually starting in 2020. But for busy millennials, going to the dentist is often not a priority. A recent study by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a subset of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) showed that only about 50 percent of those aged 20-34 have been to a dentist once in the past year.
So, how do you tailor your services to this generation? Here are five ways to attract millennials to your dental practice:
1. Put technology to good use.
Millennials are unlike any patient group that preceded them. They are the first post-digital generation; they grew up surrounded by computers, cell phones and other technology designed around their needs. Be sure your practice has a modern website. Include an online appointment system with an option for text message confirmations and reminders. Busy millennials will value the convenience of reaching their dental office.
2. Fit into millennials’ busy schedules.
Consider offering evening appointments one or two days a week, or even limited weekend hours. While not a new concept, it is also not a common occurrence in dental practices. Medical appointments can be tough to squeeze into the packed schedules of millennials, who sometimes struggle to maintain work-life balance. Your office’s flexibility will be highly appreciated.
3. Respond to concerns quickly.
Millennials were born into a world of instant gratification. Spread the word that you and your staff are easy to reach, whether by phone, email, social media or even text message, and make it clear that your office will answer questions quickly—in 24 hours or sooner, for urgent issues.
4. Introduce yourself and your practice.
If you want to engage millennials, be authentic and open. Let them know who you are by including your biographical information on your practice website. Be mindful of your office’s reviews on various health rating websites, and ask your current patients to post their honest feedback. Even better, include a section for patient testimonials on your website. These make great social media posts as well.
5. Be active in your community.
Millennials are socially conscious, and place a high value on service or other types of support to their communities. Eighty-four percent of millennials made a charitable donation in 2014, and many others donate their time. Your practice can take an active role in a local charity or community service project. Collect items for a food bank or sponsor a youth sports league. Your service will catch the eyes of potential millennial patients.