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

Dental Marketing Ideas for your Local Library

Hello Dental Friends,

Would you like an easy, effective and inexpensive way to reach out to the people in your community? At the very least it will plant some marketing/advertising seeds.

betty hayden consulting dental marketing ideas free dental ideas

Many libraries offer summer reading programs/clubs for the children and adults in the community.

What a great opportunity to get your dental office name in front of these people!

Here are just a few inexpensive yet effective ideas that you can use.

Bookmarks – Create fun, interesting Bookmarks for your local library that include your office contact information. Deliver these bookmarks as a gift to the library to give away during their summer reading programs and events.  (Really, they can use them all year-long.)

Toothbrush bags – Throughout the summer the library hosts several events that bring in people of all ages. Why not make up some toothbrush bags for them to hand out at some of these events. Be sure to use imprinted toothbrushes.

Lip Balm – Personalized lip balm is a great give away! It’s inexpensive too. Lip Balm Express is one of my favorite companies.

Pencils – Imprinted pencils that the children can use to fill in their reading logs.

Prizes – During the reading program at our library, they offer little prizes to the children after they complete so many minutes of reading. Why not donate Little Prizes that they can give away to the children.

Visit the Library – Offer to come in for a dental health presentation/demonstration/experiment/Q&A. Your theme will depend on who your target is.

Community Involvement – Collect new and gently used books to donate to your local library.

Library Social Media Sites – Be sure to comment on, like and share posts from your library’s social media sites on behalf of your office social media pages.

Act now to get your name in front of all the people in your community that will be visiting your local library. Did you catch my other dental marketing ideas for the month of June? If not, check them out here. Dental Marketing Tips and Ideas for June

Some office’s express concern that they just don’t have time to implement any new marketing/advertising ideas. If that’s true with your office, please contact me. I can help! bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com

If you liked these ideas, please click the like button. Thank you! Should you have any questions about this post or another topic, please email Betty: bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com

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

Dental Marketing Tips and Ideas for June

Dental Marketing Tips and Ideas for June

Hello Friends,

 The month of June will close out your second quarter for the year; why not end it as your best quarter ever? At the very least, make it your best June ever.

Here are some tips and ideas to help with your marketing plans.

betty hayden consulting dental marketing consultant

 ~ Dental Marketing Ideas for June ~ 

Theme: Cruise on in for Better Dental Health

 Focus: Preventive Care (Cleanings, Sealants and Fluoride for Adults and Children)

 Goal: Raise awareness for the importance of preventive dental care, take better care of your current patients, increase production, and bring in new patients.

 Example Scripting:

Sealants: “A Tooth Without A Sealant is like a Car Without A Seat Belt”   Dental Sealants Protect Your Teeth Against Decay and Cavities

Hygiene Continuing Care: Summertime is a great time of year and it can also be a busy time of year. We encourage you to remember to take the time to squeeze in your regular dental visit before the summer months fly by. Regular dental visits are so important to your overall health.

Give Basket Drawing– Car Care Kit. (Bucket filled with car care supplies.)

If you are interested in having me help your office create a custom “Cruise On In For Better Health” (or different themed) campaign that includes ideas for special offers, patient give-aways/drawings, community involvement, cross marketing with local businesses and recare/incomplete treatment scripting, please contact me today at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com

 ~ Educational Opportunity ~

National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month & National Headache Awareness Week: 4-10 – If it’s not your patient in the chair that suffers from migraines or headaches, it’s someone that they know. Great opportunity to share with them information about how you can help bring them or a friend some relief.

 ~ Social Media Post Ideas to Improve Engagement ~

Say Something Nice Day: 1

National Thank God It’s Monday Day: 5 

Corn on the Cob Day: 11

National Cotton Candy Day: 11

Eat Your Vegetables Day: 17

National Selfie Day: 21

International Body Piercing Day: 28

Bonus Ideas:

June is Great Outdoors Month – Print up a list of local parks, trails, camping sites, public pools/splash pads, kids outdoor activity ideas, etc. for your patients to take home and share with friends, family, co-workers & neighbors. Be sure to include your office contact information.  All month-long share this information on your social media pages.

Gift Certificates – Remember to offer gift certificates for purchase. See  Dental Gift Certificates Make Great Presents for ideas on how to use gift certificates to grow your practice.

If you are interested in having me help your office create a custom marketing campaign that includes ideas for special offers, office fun, patient give-aways/drawings, community involvement, cross marketing with local businesses and hygiene continuing care/incomplete treatment scripting, please contact me today at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com

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

Dental Marketing Ideas for Teacher Appreciation & Nurses Week

Dental Marketing Ideas for Teacher Appreciation & Nurses Week

Hello Friends,

May 1st – 7th is Teacher Appreciation Week. (Some sources say it’s the May 5th thru 12th, however, it’s usually the first full week of May – Suggestion, check with your local school district to see which week they are celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week.)

This is a great opportunity for dental offices to reach out to the teachers in their community.

How can you do that? Here are a few ideas for you:

teacher appreciation and nurses week dental marketing

First, let’s start with any of your patients that are teachers.

Pull a report with any patients that are school teachers and send “We Appreciate You” cards to them. Unexpected and very much welcomed.

Put together some little thank you gifts to give your teacher patients when they come in for their dental appointment during the month of May. See my Pinterest Board for a ton of ideas: Gift Ideas for School Teachers

Second, reach out to the teachers in the community that are not “yet” patients at your office.

Host a Favorite Teacher Contest. Invite local students to nominate their favorite teacher. Winning teacher gets FREE teeth whitening and a certificate stating they won for the favorite teacher contest. The classroom with the winning teacher gets a gift card for school supplies or pizza/ice cream lunch.

You could easily ask for donations from local businesses to add to the winning teacher’s prize or for their classroom.

National Nurses Day and Week – May 6th -12th. Instead of the teachers and schools, you’ll be reaching out to the nurses at local doctors offices, clinics, and hospitals using the ideas as listed above.

~ Social Media Post Ideas to Improve Engagement ~ (related to Teachers & Nurses)

National Teacher Day: 2 (some sources say it’s on May 9th)

No Homework Day: 6

Nurses Day or National RN Recognition Day: 6

Student Nurse Day: 8

School Nurse Day: 10

International Nurses Day: 12

National Employee Health & Fitness Day: 17

National Wine Day: 25 😉

There are so many ways to celebrate teacher appreciation and nurses week in your dental office. If you would like some help creating a Teacher or Nurses Appreciation Marketing Campaign for your office. I have lots of ideas. Campaigns that include:  ideas for special offers, patient give-aways/drawings, office fun, community involvement, cross marketing with local businesses and hygiene continuing care/incomplete treatment scripting, please contact me today at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com

Wishing you all a very happy and productive Spring!

Have you signed up to receive my complimentary dental marketing and practice management ideas that are sent right to your email inbox each month? If not, take a second and sign up. This way, you won’t miss a single idea! Or, if you have a dental marketing idea that you need some help with, feel free to comment here or email me at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

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

Scripting for when your dental patient calls to cancel their cleaning appointment…

Scripting for when your dental patient calls to cancel their cleaning appointment…

Hello Friends,

I OFTEN get asked the question, what should we say when a patient calls to cancel their hygiene appointment?

Today, I’ll share with you some scripting examples for handling calls from patients that want to cancel same-day hygiene appointments.

what do I say when patient calls to cancel their dental hygiene appointment

Please note: this isn’t scripting for perio appointment cancellations. You would use different scripting for those types of appointments.

Scenario #1:

Patient: I’m calling to cancel my appointment for today at 10:00, it’s just for a cleaning.

Admin: NOOOOO!

What do you do? It’s 9:00, how are you supposed to fill that time slot?

Scenario #2:

Patient: I’m calling to cancel my appointment for today at 4:00, it’s just for a cleaning.

Admin: YESSSSS!

What do you do? Celebrate, of course! Now you can get out early.

I’m kidding! We hate cancellations (even the “just a cleaning” ones) at any time of day because they all kill profitability.

So what do you say to the patient when they try to cancel? How do you save the appointment?

You can’t save them all, there are unavoidable, legitimate reasons that some patients are canceling their appointment. For help filling the schedule with those inevitable last-minute cancellations, please see: Ideas to Fill Holes in the Dental Hygiene Schedule

For all others, try this:

Patient: I’m calling to cancel my appointment for today at 10:00, it’s just for a cleaning.

Admin: (with genuine concern) “Oh no! I hope everything is alright. Jenny was really looking forward to seeing you today for your appointment. Is there any way you can make your reservation?” or

“Oh no, Jenny will be so disappointed, she reserved this time just for you, is there any way you can keep your reservation?” or

“Oh no! Thank you for calling, I know Jenny will be concerned, is there anything we can do so that you can be here today?”

or, if you have a broken appointment policy…

Admin: “Oh no! I’d hate for you to have to pay the broken appointment fee, is there any way you can make your reservation with Jenny?”

Now, if the patient is sorry and truly can’t make the appointment and this is the first time they’ve canceled an appointment, say this:

Admin: “I know that Jenny was looking forward to seeing you, I’m sorry that you weren’t able to provide us with 48 hrs notice due to (whatever their reason was) – we’ll go ahead and waive the broken appointment fee this time. Let’s get you rescheduled…”

For patients calling to cancel due to work, try the following…

Patient: I can’t take time off of work, or I have to work…

Admin: “My job is important to me too. We really hate for you to not be able to make your appointment. Is there any way you could have someone cover for you for that time or would it help if we wrote a note to your supervisor?”

STILL NO:

Admin: “We obviously made an appointment for you that isn’t convenient. Since your appointments are important I want to make sure we never do that again. Is there a time we can schedule that you know you will be convenient?”

Document your conversation and that you waived the fee for this time and that the patient is aware next time they’ll be charged.

If the patient refuses to reschedule their appointment…

Admin: “That’s fine, but if I don’t hear back from you, I will call you on ______, how does that sound?” (Follow through on that promise.)

For patients that habitually cancel, I urge you to charge them your broken appointment fee and do not reschedule their appointment.

Admin:  “Mr/Ms (use their name), I can see that you have a really busy schedule and that makes it difficult for you to commit to an appointment time. I thought I was a busy person!
What I recommend is that we place you on our “same day” call list. If we have an unexpected change in our schedule we’ll give you a call. How does that sound?”

Document your conversation! Follow-up accordingly.

Work together as a team to come up with scripting that works for your office. Think of all the different scenarios and reasons patients call to cancel (cost, illness, no babysitter, schedule conflicts, etc.) and role-play the best responses. Your goal should be, if appropriate, respectfully help the patient find a way to keep the appointment as scheduled without threatening or embarrassing them.

If you have created this cancellation monster, it will take some time to re-train your team and your patients. How do we train our patients that it’s ok to cancel last-minute?

  • Not creating true value for the appointment through patient education.
  • Constantly rescheduling patients appointments because of some change to the provider’s schedule.
  • Not respecting the patients time by running behind and not giving the very best experience from start to finish.
  • Telling the patient, no problem or that it’s OK when they call to cancel.
  • Poor and inconsistent appointment reminder systems and protocols.
  • Not acknowledging no-shows with a telephone call 5 minutes after their scheduled appointment time and with a follow-up letter/text/email.

Sadly, I have heard many offices tell the patients, no problem when they call to cancel. They don’t even attempt to reschedule. They just say OK and hang up. I’m not joking. This really happens.

Ultimately, preventing cancellations starts with creating value for the appointment before it’s even scheduled… it’s never “just a cleaning” that they are trying to cancel.

Create a strong hygiene continuing care protocol for your team and consistently follow it.

If your office needs help in creating a protocol for how to track hygiene continuing care reports/numbers, appointment scripting, patient correspondence, etc. please contact me today for a complimentary consultation at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com

Are you receiving my free dental marketing and practice management ideas every month to your inbox? If not, PLEASE take a second and follow today or send me 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