How to Attract and Cultivate Loyal Dental Patients

How to Attract and Cultivate Loyal Dental Patients

Hello Friends,

Loyal patients, isn’t that what we want? Loyal patients’ that return year after year; accept your treatment recommendations, and refer their friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers? They are loyal to your dental practice because they like and trust you.  Sounds lovely, right?

How do you cultivate loyal dental patients?  It certainly isn’t enough to just bring new patients into the practice. You earn this privilege to serve them not just for a moment but for life.

loyal dental patients patient retention betty hayden consulting

Is it really a privilege to serve them? Absolutely! Any office that struggles with getting and keeping new patients, struggles with getting patients to accept their treatment recommendations, struggles with the hygiene department’s continuing care reports and Swiss cheese-like appointment schedules, struggles to keep up with all the record transfer requests from patients and their new dental office, will learn (hopefully quickly) that having loyal patients in your practice is an earned privilege. The aforementioned struggles are greatly reduced or eliminated altogether.

How do you earn this privilege?  Consistently exceed your patients’ expectations.

Here are 12 ways you can do this (in no particular order)…

(1) Pre-Op Calls – Doctors and Hygienists start building your relationship with a new patient before they step foot in the practice. Call and give a warm welcome, let them know you are looking forward to meeting them at their appointment.It’s unexpected, takes only a few minutes and will really make your new patient feel special.

(2) Post-Op Calls – Call your patients in the evening to see how well they are doing.

(3) Acknowledge and Reward Referrals  For every patient you must have a referral source, how else will you be able to track what marketing works and what doesn’t? Especially if you want more referrals from your current patients, then reward the behavior that you want to see more of. Acknowledge and Reward your referrals. If you don’t already have a protocol in place, make a plan as soon as possible. Please do me a favor, and avoid sending the same exact thank- you to the same patient every time they refer someone… no “groundhog-day thank you’s”. Change it up!

(4) Sending Cards – Keep Sympathy, Anniversary, Welcome, Congratulations, Thinking of you and Get Well cards on hand to send to your patients. As a team, remain alert to opportunities to surprise your patients with a card.

(5) Answering the Phone – This one is KEY to your success. All of your marketing efforts lead people to the phone first. Don’t waste your money by losing the potential patient or aggravating current patients due to poor telephone skills and habits. Your entire team should be trained on how to properly answer the phone and handle the call.Answering the phone is a privilege and a great opportunity!  SEE How to Effectively Answer the Dental Office Telephone

(6) Stay on Time – If you’re often running behind schedule, investigate as to the reason(s) why. If you know why, change whatever is causing you to stray from the schedule. Running behind schedule sends a message to your patients and your team that you don’t respect their time. Arriving at the office with plenty of time before the first scheduled patient, expecting your patients to arrive on time, never wait on hygiene exams, calculating the actual amount of time it takes to do procedures, controlling the schedules, these things will help you stay on time. Avoid working through lunch hours… everyone needs that time to recharge their batteries.

(7) Treat your employees the way you want them to treat your best patient – Communicate your goals, expectations, and vision with your team. Ask for their thoughts and ideas during your team meetings (speaking of meetings, be sure you’re having a daily morning huddle). Reward the behaviors you want to see more of. Be friendly, grateful and respectful even on the days when you don’t want to be. Do not share in or tolerate any negative gossip about team members or patients! Have FUN at work and on occasion, outside of work with employee appreciation events. Remember this, “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.”– Simon Sinek

Hire (and keep) only the best employees. “Remember there is no way that the quality of customer service can exceed the quality of the people who provide it.” Liz Tahir

Invest in your team with continuing education courses (ex: TBSE), and training for your computer software, telephone skills, social media sites, dental terminology, protocols, procedures, and technology.

(8) Stay in Touch – Find/Create ways to stay in touch with your patients via telephone calls, continuing care postcards/letters and on your social media sites.  Keep your name in front of them. SEE: Ten Ways to Stay in Touch with your Dental Patients

This includes incomplete treatment & continuing care reminders. Be sure to diligently follow-up on any patients that are due, past-due or have treatment planned but not scheduled. Don’t allow patients to fall through the cracks due to poor systems for follow-up.

(9) Deliver exceptional dental care – Give your patients the best care…always!Really, LISTEN to your patients. Don’t just see and treat “teeth”. Get to know your patients as individuals. Take an interest in them. What are their oral healthcare values & priorities?  What’s in it for them, not you or the office.

Be sure to keep current with dental technology, procedures, and products.

(10) Maintain a safe and clean office – Outside & Inside your office, you want to send a positive message about your care by keeping your office very clean, well maintained and welcoming. SEE Spring Clean Your Dental Office Using Your 5 Senses

(11) Be My Guest – Treat your patients as a guest in your home. From your first patient of the day to your last patient for the day, make them feel welcome.

(12) Honesty –  #1 Be honest with your patients regarding your fees and treatment. The quickest way to lose a patient is by them perceiving they’re being taken advantage of. Clearly, explain the cost to do the treatment and the cost of doing nothing. Estimate as closely as possible the patient’s financial portion for treatment. Some will tell you that you should never quote fees over the phone…I strongly disagree. Why? You’ll lose many of your shopper callers by refusing to answer their request for a quote on a fee. They’re calling because they need/want a particular service. They’re ready! Make it easy for them to choose your office by honestly answering their question. Because you cannot make an actual diagnosis over the phone, it’s impossible to know exactly what their cost will be, give a range of fees and offer for them to come in for a complimentary consultation.

#2 -When you mess up, admit it. No excuses or passing blame. Say you’re sorry and make it right. Consider keeping gift cards on hand to give to your patients when something doesn’t go as planned. (ex: lab case error, scheduling error, etc) Oh, if you find yourself apologizing a lot… see what you can do proactively to minimize future mistakes.

There are no short cuts, if your goal is to grow your practice with patients that are not merely satisfied but are delighted with your service and remain loyal to your practice, you must remain loyal to your goals, your mission, and your promise.

I love hearing your comments and ideas, please continue sharing them with me. Remember, I’m happy to answer any questions and concerns you may have.

Are you receiving my free dental marketing and practice management ideas every month to your email? If not, PLEASE take a second and follow today or send me (bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com) your email address and I will send you an invitation to follow. This way, you won’t miss a single idea. Feel free to share my blog with your dental friends. ~ Thank you!

Yours for Greater Success!

~Betty

P.S. Please stop by and say hello to me on  FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn and Pinterest

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Dental Practice Management Ideas for April

Dental Practice Management Ideas for April

Hello Friends,

When I share marketing ideas with you each month my goal is to help you exceed your current and potential patients expectations. Just as important, if not most important is to consistently exceed your employees’ expectations. Why? Because an employee that feels appreciated will always deliver more than is expected. Betsy Myers, an expert on leadership development says it best: When people feel valued, appreciated, heard, supported, acknowledged and included, they are motivated to bring their best selves forward. “

I wanted to share some practice management ideas to help you make your second quarter more productive, happier and less stressful for you and your team.

If you’re looking for marketing ideas for the month of April see Dental Marketing Ideas for April & April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Now on to the practice management ideas for April:

Betty Hayden Consulting Dental Ideas Practice Management

Just for Fun!

National Humor Month / Laugh at Work Week: 1-7 – Find ways to laugh each day at work all week-long.

National Fun at Work Day: 6  – Have a silly theme for this day. (For example, Crazy hair, silly socks, decades day, etc.)

Make Lunch Count Day: 13 – Buy lunch in or out for your team.

See for more ideas. Tips to Improve your Dental Office Part 4 ~ Happy Team

Reasons to Celebrate your Team:

National Dental Hygienist Week (Canada): 8-14

Administrative Professionals Week: 23-29

See Employee Appreciation Ideas Here: Employee Appreciation Gift Ideas Pinterest Board

Employee Conflict Resolution & Communication Improvement Opportunity: 

Workplace Conflict Awareness Month This topic should be discussed at a team meeting. Why? Conflict Happens! Make a plan and an agreement as to how all office conflict will be addressed and resolved.

Steps to deal with office conflict:

  1. Calm down and talk with the other person. (Don’t go to anyone else to discuss the conflict)
  2. Attack the problem, not the person. Focus on behaviors and events.
  3. Listen carefully – listen to understand and not to be understood.
  4. Brainstorm solutions with a focus on the future, what it will take to move forward.
  5. Celebrate your Success.

For additional ideas visit Forbes.com for 5- Keys to Dealing with Workplace Conflict. 

To manage conflict, excellent communication is essential.

Communication  – 

  • Job descriptions and expectations must be clearly defined. This is a great time to ask every team member to write a list of their description and responsibilities. Have them indicate next to each task how often it is done (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, varies, etc.). This will help you determine if and when and by whom these tasks are being accomplished. You might find some important tasks are not being done at all or not often enough and so on.  

  • Team Meetings/Morning Huddles are essential for a happy and smooth work day. Visit HERE for some tips on how you can have a successful morning huddle.

  • Address quickly any needed discipline or correction, don’t wait for a staff meeting to address these problems. Instead, meet one on one with the offender.

  • Avoid office negativity, it’s toxic and will infect your team – Rather, focus on and share positive experiences.
  • Your team must know the why, what, and how. They may know the what and the how but not the why, often times, this is why employees are there just to collect a paycheck. Talk about what you believe and attract those who believe what you believe. People buy the why not the what.

Positive Gossip Only! Entire team agrees to stop gossip. Refuse to listen to it. Rather, encourage the person to go directly to the other person they have an issue or complaint about. Unless of course, they can let it go and move on

Hygiene Continuing Care/ Recare Opportunity:

Cleaning For A Reason Week: 18-24 – Send out email & text reminders to your patients that are due/past-due for their hygiene visit. Time for their Spring Cleaning! The “reason”? For their health’s sake – or, consider donating a portion of the production to a local charity.

Community Involvement Opportunity:

Community Spirit Days (1-30) – What a great opportunity for your office to get involved in the community. Check your city’s event calendar for events and activities.

Are there any charity/sporting/community events that you and your team can participate in or sponsor?

Be sure to share a variety of local community events on your social media sites. This will encourage your patients to look to your office page to learn what’s going on in the community.

Host a:

  • Spring Perennial Plant Exchange
  • Book Drive
  • Canned Food Drive
  • Aluminum can tabs for the Ronald McDonald House

Be sure to send out press releases and share on your social media sites what you’re doing to help your community.

So there you have it, some practice management ideas for the month of April. Enjoy!

Have you signed up to receive my complimentary dental marketing and practice management ideas that are sent right to your email each month? If not, take a second and follow today. This way, you won’t miss a single idea!

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

P.S. Please stop by and say hello to me on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn and Pinterest

YET and your Dental Practice

Hello Friends,

“The power of the magic word yet reminded everyone that learning new things is challenging, no one is expected to be an expert immediately, and with dedication and hard work, success follows.” Powerful words taken from a book I’m reading called, MINDSETS for Parents by Mary Cay Ricci and Margaret Lee.

dental marketing ideas hayden consulting

What does the power of yet have to do with your dental practice? Yet is an optimistic word that means “in the future”, for example, the best is yet to come. Approach each day in your practice with the growth mindset that, the best is yet to come. So maybe your patient can’t accept your treatment plan today, or you’re struggling with reaching your production, collection and scheduling goals, this doesn’t mean that you will never reach your goals or your patient will never accept the treatment, it just means, more time and or effort are required. Your patient hasn’t said yes, yet. You haven’t reached your goals, yet. However, the best is yet to come.

Add yet to your mindset and your challenges become an opportunity to learn, grow and improve. Remember, with dedication and hard work, success follows.

You know what else will help you learn, grow and improve? My free monthly dental practice management and marketing ideas. Take a second and sign up today. If you prefer, send me (bhaydensulting@gmail.com) your email address and I will send you an invitation to subscribe. This way, you won’t miss a single idea! 

Please share my blog with your dental friends.

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

P.S. Please stop by and say hello to me on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn and Pinterest