Working with patients can be very rewarding when you are a dentist. They help pay all the bills and give you a great lifestyle. Sometimes dental practices forget that their patients are the ones who truly allow them to be successful. That’s why it’s extremely important to make your patients feel like you truly care for them. So how can you serve them better?
Give Your Patients Gifts
I am a big believer in the law of reciprocity. When someone gives you something, you feel an obligation to give back. When you surprise patients with a gift, they feel happy about you and your staff and will want to give back to your office.
Your patients will talk about your office to their friends and family, and you will gain more referral business just because you were willing to take extra time and make your patients happy. I know of a few offices that randomly give their patients gifts like FitBits, iPads, and even vacations! You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but just be thoughtful and you will be rewarded.
Offer In-House Membership Plans
Approximately 55% of the US population doesn’t have dental insurance. For example, people who retire often lose their dental benefits, and they’re the ones who probably need the best dental care.
Also, many patients have negative feelings about dental insurance because insurance companies often reject claims and make it difficult for them to get the care they need. You don’t want that to cause them to have a bad experience with your office.
Instead, creating a membership program can be a great way to better serve these patients, getting them the care they need while simplifying how they’re going to pay for it. If you want to learn more about membership programs, you can download a free ebook that teaches you how to create and grow one.
Educate Your Patients
As a dentist, you spent a lot of time and money on educating yourself. Most of your patients don’t know nearly as much as you do about dentistry. The best thing that you can do to better serve your patients is to create educational content like videos, articles, ebooks, and flyers that help educate your patients about all of your procedures and their benefits.
Make sure you don’t complicate things, though. Use simple language and pictures to help teach your patients. Education is an important part of your job. If you can help teach your patients, they will become better patients who will trust you and refer new patients to you.
Organize a Patient Appreciation Week
People like to feel they are appreciated. I know of several offices that organize patient appreciation weeks multiple times a year. They give their patients gifts like movie tickets and organize events after work like carnivals with blowup slides, food, and more. They also rent out movie theaters or water parks. This is how they build relationships and trust with all their patients.
All this might sound expensive to do, but you can organize local business sponsors and have them help pay for your event. You can start small and offer fun gifts and prizes, create contests on social media, and just have a good time with your patients. This makes dentistry fun, and patients will talk to family and friends about their experiences for months or even years.
Follow-up Call from the Doctor
This may sound simple, but it will have a huge impact on your practice. If your patients have had a big procedure or may feel some pain after an appointment, it is extremely important that you follow up with them—not your receptionist or hygienist.
Call your patients and ask how they are feeling and if they need anything from you. It is important that you do this consistently. Create some time in your schedule to do this, and make it a process that you will follow with every patient. It will accomplish 3 things:
- It lets your patient know that you care about them.
- It builds trust because you are taking time to follow up with them.
- It makes them feel appreciated, and they will tell all their friends and family that you are the best dentist because you call them after every procedure.
Remember Who They Are
Simply remembering small details about your patients can mean a lot to them. When you are talking to people and they start talking about things that you like or topics that are important to you, doesn’t it make you feel good? And doesn’t it also make you feel like the person you are talking to cares about you?
Take notes about your patients and save them on your computer so the next time they come you can be reminded a little bit about them and make them feel special. Whenever I go to my dentist, he knows that I love to play the guitar and he always talks to me about my interests. It feels like his office cares about me and I feel like I can develop a relationship with the people there. Talk to your patients and remember who they are!
Hire Happy and Outgoing Team Members
A lot of people are scared of the dentist. Your team says a lot about your practice and can truly help people want to come back. It is great to hire skilled people, but it is even more important to hire happy and outgoing employees.
Dentistry is a relationship business. If you have people who are unhappy to work for your practice, it may be time to find new team members. Hiring happy employees can be a great strategy to help patients stay loyal to your practice and give them a great experience with you.
I hope that you can apply all of these ideas to your practice and that they will help you achieve more success with your patients. Remember that your patients are everything to your practice, and it is important to have a great team that can work with you to better serve your patients. If you have any other ideas that have worked for your practice, send me an email. I would love to connect with you!
Jordon Comstock is the founder of BoomCloud Apps, a software company that allows dental offices to accept payments via their websites and create in-house membership programs. He also owns RocketFire, which provides dental offices with a small team of Web designers for an affordable subscription. He can be reached at 801-753-8586 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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