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

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Dental Marketing and Practice Management Ideas for July 2016

Dental Marketing and Practice Management Ideas for July 2016

Hello Friends,

Take time now to make plans to start your third quarter off strong. Discuss with your team the plans to reach your production, collection, new patient and marketing goals. Encourage them to share any thoughts or ideas on how you can work to make the third quarter your best yet. Here’s a fun idea…July is National Grilling Month – Why not have a BBQ themed lunch with the team to discuss your marketing plans? Remember to include plans on how to fill and keep the schedule full for August and September as they are typically slower months for some offices.

Doctors, if you don’t already know, I strongly urge you to be aware of your office numbers. Know what’s going on with your patient and insurance aging reports, your daily patient collections, your new patient #’s, referral sources, hygiene continuing care reports, incomplete treatment reports and what internal & external marketing is working and what needs to be eliminated. Don’t leave these things to chance or assume they’re healthy numbers or maybe even beyond repair.

Would you like a few ideas to boost production, collection and new patient numbers? I’ll share with you a couple of ideas to do just that as well as exceed your current patients’ expectations.

dental-marketing-ideas-for-july

July is National Ice Cream Month! Your product/service feature is Desensitizing agents to treat tooth sensitivity. Your give-away treat is free ice cream.

Yes, I’ve shared this one in the past but I’m sharing it again because it is so easy and effective not to mention, delicious.

Why is it so effective? Research finds that 1 in 8 Americans suffer from sensitive teeth. It’s safe to say that many of your patients may be suffering from tooth sensitivity or they know someone who does.

How is it easy? It’s a marketing plan that requires little time, no extra cost and will boost production and exceed your patients (and potential patients) expectations!

How will offering free ice cream not incur any extra cost to you? You simply visit your local ice cream shop and ask them to donate some free ice cream cone certificates. In return, you’ll be advertising for them on your social media site and in the office. Your patients, when they come in for a visit can enter a drawing to win a free ice cream courtesy of “local ice cream shop”. Depending how many free ice cream cone certificates you get donated you can draw one or two names each week for a free ice cream cone.

Now you may not have many of your patients speaking up to say they’re suffering from tooth sensitivity when they eat cold treats or drink cold beverages.

This is what you do, during the month of July have your team members wear buttons that say: Eating Ice Cream Shouldn’t Hurt

Your patients are sure to ask questions about the buttons. What an easy way to open up a discussion about tooth sensitivity.

If you would like further ideas on how to implement the Ice Cream/Tooth Sensitivity campaign such as how to handle patients that are concerned about insurance coverage and fees for desensitizing agents and ways to advertise this campaign or perhaps would prefer a different marketing campaign for the month, please contact me today at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com.

Here are 3 more ways to help your patients & team smile in July!

July 6,World Kiss Day ~ Blog & Social Media Opportunity (bad breath & kissing, periodontal disease & kissing…eeeww!)

July 7, Chocolate Day ~ I’m sure your team would welcome a surprise chocolately treat.

July 17th – 23rd Everybody Deserves A Massage Week: 

Team up with a local massage therapist for a little cross marketing – have him/her donate a free massage that your patients can enter a drawing to win.

Hope you enjoy these ideas and have a wonderful start to your third quarter!

If you have any other thoughts or ideas please feel free to comment below. Should you need any help with your July marketing campaign, please email Betty: bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com

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! PLEASE, feel free to share my blog with your colleagues. 

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

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

 

 

Tips to Improve Your Dental Office, Part 1 ~ First Impressions

“First impressions matter. Experts say we size up new people in somewhere between
30 seconds and two minutes.” ~ Elliott Abrams

First impressions of your dental office matter just as much.

ideas to improve your dental practice hayden consulting betty hayden

Hello friends,

Take/Make the time to look at your office with your patient goggles on. What does this mean?

Look at your office building, the exterior and the interior as if you were a patient or a potential patient.

Don’t be content just to “look”, actually see, hear, smell, feel and taste! (Don’t actually taste the building…but you knew that already, didn’t you?)

First Step:

As a team, step outside your office…

What do your patients and potential patients see?

Poor Signage? Dirty Windows? Weeds in the parking lot? Ugly landscaping? Garbage around the building? Safety Concerns?

Second step:

Next, walk in to the office through the main entrance, sit down together in the reception room. What do you see? hear? smell?

Look high and low. Dirty carpeting/flooring? Outdated magazines & decor? Stained Chairs? Peeling wallpaper? Cobwebs? Dusty plants/floral arrangements? Light bulbs that are out? Static radio coming through the speakers? Look over at the front desk area, if you see a sliding glass window that is full of signs and papers telling your patients what to do and what not to do…remove them immediately! In fact, remove the glass. It’s very unwelcoming!

Third Step:

Now, you’re going to want to go check out the restroom. Is it clean? Why does it matter so much that the restroom looks great? Because this is the only place your patients will visit unattended. What do they see? Filthy bathroom? Poor quality paper products? Drippy fixtures?

Most if not all of your patients that visit your restroom WILL determine the quality and safety of your care from that experience. (Isn’t that true of you when you’re at a restaurant or any public restroom? No one wants the gas station bathroom experience…not even when you’re at a gas station.)

Fourth Step:

Do the same with the rest of your office. Sit in the treatment room chairs. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you taste? What do you smell? How do you feel? Again, your patients can’t measure quality of care, they measure quality of their experience. Keep your patients loyal to your practice by making certain they consistently have great experiences.

Fifth Step: Yes, we’re going to keep moving…

Visit the front desk area. How are things looking there?  Clutter represents indecision’s. Make a decision to get rid of the clutter! (That includes any sticky notes attached to computer monitor’s, coats/sweaters hanging on the backs of chairs and fast food drink containers sitting out on the counters.)

Now is the NOT the time to settle for less than the best.

Sixth Step: 

Work together as a team to see where improvements can be made and more importantly, act on them!

Look around the office through the eyes of your patients, what do they see, hear, smell and feel?

Make a plan to Improve Your Office. Make it Great!

Once you have truly looked at your office through the eyes of your patients and potential patients, and you have made all the necessary improvements, make a promise as a team that each and every one will do their part to keep your office sparkling!  (Below, I will include just a few tips to help you make this all happen – Be sure to check them out!)

Are you receiving my complimentary Practice Management and Marketing Idea’s in your email inbox each month? If not, please subscribe today. Feel free to tell your dental friends all about us so they can start benefiting from these dental idea’s too.

I love hearing your comments and idea’s, please continue sharing them with me. Remember, I’m happy to answer any questions and concerns you may have. Take a minute and check out Part 2 in my Improve Your Office Series.

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

Bonus Idea’s/Tips:

  • Make a cleaning schedule – who, what & when will the parking lot, restrooms & reception room be checked. This should be done several times throughout the day. Do not wait for the “cleaning person” to take care of those areas.
  • Purchase hot/cold beverage tumblers, preferably with your office logo on them for your team members to use at their work stations – this looks much nicer than your patients seeing soda bottles or coffee shop cups.
  • Get rid of the dreaded dental office smell. There are products out there that will eliminate that smell without aggravating patients with allergies. Bake chocolate chip cookies if necessary. 😉
  • Make a promise as a team that when you see debris/trash you simply pick it up and throw it away.
  • Keep the noise down! Patients want to be put at ease, they don’t want to hear the latest office gossip or a TV that is too loud. Avoid using patients full names or complaining about patients when you can be heard from the reception room or treatment chair.
  • Have a lending library bookshelf in your reception room. Books that patients can borrow, keep or books that they can donate to your library.
  • Fold the toilet paper in to a pretty fan shape. Seriously, when I would do this in the office restroom, I would get male patients coming out of the restroom asking me to show them how to fold the TP so they could surprise their wife. lol …true story.
  • If this is all just too much for you, hire me to come in to your office and I will happily make it all happen for you! Contact me today at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com.