1.15.16 Issue #723 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter
 


Kelly Lennier
Senior Consultant
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Grow Your Practice by Focusing on Patient Relationships
By Kelly Lennier, Senior Consultant

Dentistry is about building relationships. It’s about connecting with patients and taking the time to develop a rapport. If you’re only focused on crafting beautiful restorations or fabricating perfect porcelain crowns, then you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to grow your patient base and your bottom line.

Now I know this is something many dentists struggle with. They’d much rather focus on the dentistry – but the problem is, your patients want more. They want to feel like you know and care about them and that you have their best interest at heart. They want to feel connected to your practice, and if they don’t, they won’t have any problem making their next appointment at the practice down the street.

So how do you start building patient relationships and setting yourself apart from other dentists? Follow these tips. 

Provide Exceptional Customer Service
This will show your patients that you care about their experience and value their business. Here are a few ideas you can easily implement into your practice:

- Make sure you and your team members greet every patient by name
- Create fees that are neither the highest nor the lowest in town
- Equip your practice with the high-tech equipment patients expect and want
- Offer patients special amenities such as coffee, tea and granola bars
- Recognize patients during their birthday week with balloons
- Call all new patients to make sure they had an exceptional experience at your practice
- Email patients surveys to ask how they think you can improve your practice
- Make laptops available for adults to work on while they wait for their children to finish their appointment

When you implement any idea on this list, it shows you actually like your patients and want them to feel comfortable when they visit your practice. They’ll love these extra touches, making them not only more likely to come back, but also to refer you to family and friends.

Provide Patient Education
Talk with patients about all their treatment options and let them know you want to help them make the best decision. Answer their questions and provide educational materials that explain their condition. When you take the time to educate, patients will be more comfortable with your practice and the procedure. They’ll feel a connection to your office, making them much more likely to entrust you with their oral health care.

Offer Incentives to Make Treatment More Affordable
Money is often the reason patients decide not to go forward with treatment they need. If you offer incentives, it will ease the burden of the cost while also helping to increase your production numbers. What type of incentives should you offer? I know a dentist who provides hygiene exams to her patients for free. This helps get past-due patients in the chair so she can diagnose any necessary treatment and educate them about the consequences of not going forward with that treatment.

This same doctor also implemented an “On Call Program” for patients who live close to the office. These patients are called on short notice and if they are able to come in, they receive a 10% adjustment to their fee. Patients can see the doctor at a reduced cost, while she easily fills any open slots left by last minute cancellations or no-shows.

You can also play what I call “Let’s Make a Deal” with your patients. Let’s say Mrs. Taylor needs two crowns in the same quadrant but simply can’t afford them both. Consider offering the second crown for half the fee as a courtesy to the patient. 

Work With Other Businesses
This is a great way to build connections with patients and within your community. For example, contact local restaurants and ask if they’d be interested in offering buy-one-get-one-free coupons, and give those coupons to patients who refer your practice. Not only is this a nice gesture that will make your patients feel more connected to your practice, it helps the restaurant as well – which could also lead to more patients.

Your patients are the reason you come to work each day. Without them, you’d have no practice. That’s why it’s so important to provide exceptional customer service and create and maintain patient relationships. Take the time to ask patients about their families and their jobs. Educate them about their condition and the importance of maintaining their oral health. Work with them when they’re struggling to pay for needed dentistry. Show them you care, and you’ll build a strong base of patients who not only accept treatment, but who also refer you to family and friends.

If you would like more information on how McKenzie's Consulting Coaching Programs can help you implement proven strategies, email info@mckenziemgmt.com

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