Today I received an email from one of our client dentists in Pennsylvania. He wanted to know whether ZocDoc is a good investment. Since www.zocdoc.com is a type of dental marketing service, I thought I’d do some research and present my analysis and recommendation here on the MDPM blog. If you’ve had experience with ZocDoc and would like to share it with MDPM readers, please comment on our Facebook page.
What is ZocDoc?
ZocDoc is an online appointment-setting service for healthcare professionals. It primarily helps doctors fill empty appointments in their schedule. Physicians, dentists, and specialists can list their practices and profile on the ZocDoc website. Patients can find a doctor, make an appointment online, and leave a review. To sign up, you fill out a form online, and a ZocDoc representative calls you. On ThisWeekIn.com, in an interview with Cyrus Massoumi (see below), the inventor of ZocDoc, I learned that ZocDoc started by serving dentists.
A listing includes information about a practice and the dentist’s education, as well as available appointments, and patients can simply book online. In addition, dentists can have an appointment button on their website that sends potential patients to ZocDoc to book. ZocDoc does not replace other dental marketing, so a website and SEO is still extremely important. ZocDoc is simply an addition to a good marketing strategy.
What Does ZocDoc Cost?
At the time of the video, the cost was a flat fee of $250 per month, but it’s now $300 per month. The cost covers unlimited patient numbers.
Does ZocDoc Have Good Reviews from Dentists?
The online reviews I found for ZocDoc are from patients reviewing doctors, not doctors reviewing ZocDoc. Those patients who posted previews gave it a thumbs up, for the most part. However, ZocDoc kicked off with a huge marketing campaign, and there’s no way to tell if the reviews were paid or real. These days, we have to take that into consideration, though I have no reason to believe the reviews to be fake. So, consumers give ZocDoc a nod. According to the company’s website, nearly two million patients use the service to book appointments 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Is ZocDoc Right for Dentists?
I think it depends on the dentist. Dentists who accept insurance, have a high cancellation rate, have great SEO (so their practice is found online), and who like emergency patients may be well served with ZocDoc. Currently, ZocDoc has between 3-4 million open appointments.
Software Integration: ZocDoc does work with many of the appointment software that dentists use, so available appointments are kept up to date and reflected immediately on ZocDoc. Therefore, if a patient cancels, another can book that appointment through ZocDoc immediately.
Reviews & Reputation Management: Patients who book through ZocDoc and show up for their appointments are sent an email to post a review about their experience. Like other patient communication programs that use this model, fake reviews are limited or non-existent. If a doctor who uses ZocDoc gets a bad review, it will be posted. The only way to eliminate the post is to stop using ZocDoc. That said, in this day and age, I think a so-so or poor review now and then is good for dental marketing; it gives the positive reviews more credibility.
Dental Marketing with ZocDoc: Not a Replacement for SEO
ZocDoc is not a replacement for a dental website, blog, microsites, and search engine optimization. It is a supplement that can target filling empty appointments. Your current patients who want to see you as soon as possible can do so via ZocDoc. This means, your staff does not have to call a long list of waiting patients; the patient can just visit your dental website, click on the “book an appointment” button, and claim the open appointments in your schedule. To rank high on Google, dentists must have a website that is well optimized. In competitive markets, dentists also need blogs, microsites, and a social networking plan. Modern Dental Practice Marketing helps provides dental marketing consultations, as well as all the Internet and print marketing tools a dentist needs to build a thriving practice.
Note: In the above video, Cyrus Massoumi said that the company does not discuss profits, but the interviewer did some quick math and threw out a guesstimate that the company makes over 3 million per month profit, with a staff of only 100. Wow. ZocDocy began in 2007, and the video was recorded in 2011. Could a company grow that fast if it had a bad product? I doubt it. However, we have to wait and see if ZocDoc can handle their exponential growth! So far, so good.