Earn The Privilege To Serve Again

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. You’ve earned the privilege to serve them not just for a moment but for life.

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 all together.

how to get more dental new patients?

How do you earn this privilege? By consistently exceeding patient expectations. Here are 12 ways you can do this (in no particular order)…

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.

Post-Op Calls – Call your patients in the evening to see how well they are doing. Call anyone that received anesthetic and new patients.

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. When and how will you ask “How did you hear about us?” or “Whom can we thank for referring you?” How and where will you record that information? Be specific when recording referral sources, internet isn’t a good enough source. Where on the internet? For example, Facebook?, Twitter?, Yelp?, Instagram?, Pinterest?, WordPress?,  Website? Google search? Etc. Who is responsible for tracking these sources? How will we acknowledge them? With a thank you letter or card, signed by the doctors and team? Send a thank you gift? Just 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. While you’re at it, set a new patient goal for each month. Consider offering a bonus or some type of incentive for employee referrals. Get your team out there in the community, excited to talk about the great office they work at and invite the people they meet to schedule an appointment. (Tip: Personalized Business cards for the team members with a special call to action invitation on the back of the card will make passing out office business cards much easier and more fun.)

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

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! Here are a few tips:

  • Smile before you pick up the phone
  • Answer the phone within the first couple of rings.
  • Answer the phone with a thank you for calling, identify the office and give your name. (ex: Thank you for calling Dr.Smiles, this is Betty. I can help you)
  • Do NOT let the caller go to voice mail during business hours (including lunch hours). People hate leaving messages. Oftentimes, they’ll hang up and call the next office on their list.
  • Get the callers name and use it often. Find out how they heard about your office. “What type of insurance do you have?” shouldn’t be the first thing you ask. In fact, let the caller bring that part up. Your goal is to build a relationship with the caller, to get to know them and their expectations.
  • Offer an appointment. Sounds obvious right? You might be surprised to know how many office’s I have called as a “shopper” and was never offered an appointment.

Stay on Time – If you’re often running behind schedule, investigate as to 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 to 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.

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. “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.”~Simon Sinek  (Tip: Invest in your entire team with continuing education courses, training for your computer software, telephone skills, social media sites,  dental terminology, protocol, procedures and technology.)                                                                                                             

Stay in Touch – Find 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.

Deliver exceptional dental care – Give your patients the best care…always!  With your team, celebrate with your patients their new & healthy smiles – (If a patient comes in for in office teeth whitening, let other team members know so they can compliment the patient on their smile. Let your patients see how much you and your team value the care you provide).

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 Improve your Office – First Impressions for tips and suggestions.

Be my Guest – Treat your patients as a guest in your home. Make them feel welcome. Come in to the office as a patient. Experience what they see, hear, smell and how they’re cared for from the start of the appointment to the finish. (Consider, Patient Appreciation Gifts)

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 can not 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, then you must remain loyal to your goals, your mission and your promise.

Are you receiving my complimentary Practice Management and Marketing Ideas 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 ideas too.

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.

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

P.S. Please stop by and say hello to me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest

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Dental Patient Appreciation Gifts

Hello Friends,

Are you looking for a fun way to thank your patients for their referrals and encourage your patients to tell their friends, family, neighbors and co-workers about your office? A great and inexpensive way to do this is to present them with an unexpected gift at their appointment.

Here are a few ideas for you…

patient appreciation gifts hayden consulting

Gifts in Winter:

Tea

Attach your business card or a special offer to green tea packets as a special give-away for your patients. Even if they don’t drink tea they can give it to a family member, friend, co-worker or a neighbor. Easy and inexpensive way to advertise your office and exceed your patients expectations. The label/tag may say:

“Our Patients are TEA-riffic!”

Candle

Mini candle jars make a nice gift. Attach a tag or label with your office info and one of these sayings:

“Our Patients Are Scentsational”

“Your Referrals Warm Our Hearts”

Lotion

Pass out little bottles of lotion. If they are not imprinted with your office name add a tag to the bottle with your office name and website with this saying…

“Hands Down We Have The Best Patients In Town!”

Gifts for Spring:

Flower/Herb/Veggie Seed Packets

Flower Seed Packets w/a label and business card attached. Flower seed packets can be purchased at most Dollar Stores for around .20 a packet. Great deal! The labels you attach to the flower seed packets could say:

“Your referrals help grow our practice, Thank you!“

“Our Office Blooms Because of you!“

“Please enjoy these flowers growing as much as we enjoy your referrals growing our practice.”

Gifts for Summer:

Mini Sunscreen

Give away mini bottles of sunscreen. If you don’t have them imprinted with your office name, simply add a tag to the bottles.

Free Ice Cream Cone Certificates

Team up with local ice cream shop for donations of free ice cream cone’s

Zucchini

Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Night. (I’m serious, it’s a real day in August!) While you probably don’t want to visit your patient’s homes during the night you can easily have a basket of zucchini at the office for your patient’s to take. Wrap some ribbon and a business card with a zucchini recipe on it for your patients to sneak onto their neighbors porch during the night.

Gifts for Fall:

Apple Cider

Warm or cold cider is a nice fall treat. You don’t need to give every patient their own jug of cider a small cup of cider will be well received and appreciated. Include a sign near the cider that says:

“You’re the Apple of Our Eye”

S’mores Kit

Pinterest has some really neat ideas for inexpensive and fun s’more kits.

“We Need S’More Patients Like You!”

Anytime Gifts 🙂

Pens

Purchase imprinted pens and add a tag to the pens that say:

“Take Note We Think You’re Awesome”

“Our Patients are just Write”

Tip: promostuff4u.com has a wonderful selection of pens and they offer exceptional customer service.

 Cookies

Individually wrapped purchased or homemade cookies are a sweet treat. Add this label:

“Thankful for Sweet Patients Like You”

Flowers
Fresh single stem flowers or Small potted flowers (ex: inexpensive gift would be a marigold in a small pot, you can get mini pots from the dollar store 4/$1.00)

“Your referrals help grow our practice, Thank you!“

“Our Office Blooms Because of you!“

Xylitol Products

Offer Xylitol samples of Gum, Mint and Suckers

Tip: Also have these items available for purchase

Donuts

Who doesn’t enjoy a yummy donut every once in a while? Display a platter of donuts at the front desk or at your patient beverage station with a sign that says:

“Donut Know What We Would Do Without Wonderful Patients Like You!”

Apples
Basket of Apples with a sign or stickers on the apples that say:

“Our Patients Are Awesome to The Core”

“You’re the Apple of our eyes”

See my Apple themed Dental Marketing Ideas for more apple ideas.
Bath Salts/Sugar Scrubs

Consider making bath salts or sugar scrubs as a team building activity. Give away as gifts to your patients.

Tip: Pinterest is loaded with recipes and super cute packaging ideas.

Lip Balm

Order imprinted lip balm and attach cute tags to the packaging with this saying…

“Our Patients are the Balm!”

Tip: www.lipbalmexpress.com is a great company to order imprinted, all natural, inexpensive lip balm. See also Pinterest for fun packaging ideas for your lip balm.

Gift of Health Certificates

You can do seasonal gift of health certificates by changing the paper and envelope according to the current season.

Instead of just asking your patient’s to refer their friends, family, neighbors and co-workers to your office, give them a gift of health certificate to share with their friends, family, neighbors & co-workers.

Here is a scripting idea:

 Gift Of Health Certificate

To: ______________________________________

From: ___________________________________

 Your oral health affects your overall health!

 This is your invitation to receive $25 toward dental treatment and a complimentary oral cancer screening from —(office name)——.

 Please RSVP at –(office phone number)—–

We’ll give you a reason to smile!

Add here: Office address & website/social media sites

These are just a few patient appreciation gift ideas. I’m sure you can come up with even more fun gift ideas. I would LOVE to hear all about what you come up with! Please share your stories and pictures with me here, on my Facebook page or via email.

Plan ahead for the rest of year to make each month special for your patient’s with unexpected gifts of appreciation. Important Reminder: Whatever you decide to give away to your patients, include your office name and website on/with the gift whenever possible!!

Don’t miss out on any of the ideas that I share each month! Are you receiving my complimentary Practice Management and Marketing Ideas 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 ideas too. If you liked these ideas, please let me know by hitting the “like” button. Thank you!!!

Yours for Greater Success,
~Betty

P.S. Please stop by and say hello to me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest

You’re the Apple of my Eye – Dental Marketing Ideas

hayden consulting dental marketing

Holy moly, me oh my, you’re the apple of my eye!

Apple season is upon us. How can that help you keep your dental office the apple of your patients and referring doctors/specialists eyes? I’ll give you some ideas in just a second. I will also share with you some apple idea’s to help catch the eyes of your potential patients. An apple a day won’t keep your dental office away!

October is National Apple Month –

Exceeding Patient Expectations – 

Give-Away – Set out a nice bowl/basket of apples to give to your patients and delivery people.

 

Events in the Community – Create a hand-out for your patients listing the best local cider mills and apple orchards. Include any fall-themed events taking place in your community. 

Marketing to local businesses –

Who will you visit in the community?

  • Schools
  • Salons
  • City Hall / Police Station / Fire Department
  • Library

And anywhere else you think might be a good place to bring in new patient’s from. At the very least, you’ll be building healthy & fun relationships with the folks in your community.

What will you bring?

  • Basket of Apples
  • Toothbrush or Lip Balm attached to an apple-shaped gift tag.

Be sure that when you deliver these items, your office information is visible. Maybe include some sort of call to action.

Visit my Pinterest Apple board for more ideas.

Marketing via your Social Media Sites: Here are just a few ways to utilize your social media sites during apple season.

Facebook –  

Post  health benefits of apples, apple recipes & craft Ideas to your office Facebook page. Solicit comments, likes and shares.

Pinterest – On your office Pinterest page create a board all about apples.

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” – Martin Luther

So many different ways to help exceed the expectations of your current patients and to hopefully, bring in lots of new patients just by planting little seeds every chance you get or create.

I would love to hear all about your plans to make October  a great month. Please comment below to share your ideas or to give this post a like. Thank you!

If you haven’t yet subscribed to receive free dental marketing ideas via your email each month, please do so today. Feel free to share these posts with all of your dental friends!

 Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

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

You Never Know When and Where Your Dental Marketing Seeds Will Grow

dental marketing is like planting seedsMarketing your dental practice is like planting seeds. Some seeds sprout right away, others may take a while. You may have written some seeds off as a loss and when you least expect it, there it sprouts and produces beautiful results. And some may sprout where you don’t even remember planting.

” If you can look into the seeds of time, And say which grain will grow and which will not. Speak then to me.”

~ William Shakespeare

What are your marketing seeds? Everything that you do, everything that the patient (and potential patient) sees, hears & feels.

Take some time today and think about what you are planting & producing. Plant weeds and you’ll get more weeds.

Look at your practice through the eyes of your patients and potential patients.

Look closely at yourself, your team, the exterior, and interior of your building, all office systems, your lab, sterilization procedures, website & social media sites, marketing materials, marketing programs and the patient experience. Weeds can sneak in very easily if you don’t work to prevent them or if you ignore them when they are small.

Two especially dangerous weeds: Poor telephone call systems and poor team member attitudes.

Look at your referral sources & patient retention , this will be a key indicator as to the quality & quantity of the seeds you and your team are planting. Who is referring the new patients and who isn’t? And why? Are you known as the go to dental expert in the community? If not, why? Do you provide your patients with a consistent & quality experience over the telephone? What about during & after their visit? Are you exceeding their expectations? Are you and your team members involved in the community? Are you tracking, acknowledging and rewarding those that refer to you? 

Again, everything matters! 

Don’t give up, don’t ignore any of the areas we talked about – you might not see results right away but impressions are being made, seeds are being planted. You never know where and when they will take root and bloom!!

Bring in some fresh eyes if you need to, ones that will see, hear & feel what you are missing, and ones that will give you the push and help to get rid of any weeds and plant seeds of greatness daily & consistently!

Please take a moment and subscribe to receive my complimentary dental marketing and practice management ideas right to your email inbox each month. Feel free to share with your friends. Thank you!

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

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