Are You As Good As You Say You Are?
Patient Testimonials to Promote Your Practice
“I just paid $5,000 for a direct mail program and I didn’t receive one phone call. I need new patients now, what should I do?” questioned Dr. Billsarelate.
Before embarking on an expensive external marketing program to increase new patients, take a look at your internal marketing system. Set the stage for happy, returning patients that will gladly refer you to prospective patients seeking good dental care. Before thinking about how to attract new people, apply the following critique points to existing systems to ensure that you are not losing existing patients.
- First impression telephone call. Are you giving the best customer service to your inbound callers? Can you see a new patient within a week to two?
- Have you updated the look of your practice to be inviting and show that you are current not only on dental treatment but clean and efficient office design?
- Is your team warm and caring? Do they greet each patient cheerfully and call them by name?
- Do you listen to what the patient wants and guide them to proper care by having them involved in their own treatment or do you say “You need to have this done.”
- Does your dental hygienist explain the recall system and the importance of keeping up regular care?
- Is your clinical team able to explain the benefits of your services and promote good dentistry?
- Have you told your patients that you and your team attend continuing education courses in order to improve services to them and would appreciate their comments and concerns at any time on ways to improve patient care?
Hopefully the answers to the above were all positive and now we can move on to the next step in getting testimonials from happy patients. The next step is to tune up the teams’ listening skills to patients who say anything at all complimentary about you, your dentistry, your office or a team member. The response would then be: “Thank you for the compliment, Mrs. Lovemyteeth. Would you mind if I quoted you on what you just said?”
At this point in time, Mrs. Lovemyteeth will say “Of course!” That is when you write it down. You can let the patient know that you are assembling a patient testimonial hardbound book for your office and would be very happy to include his/her comments if it is okay with him/her. Most people love to help and just asking them is the key.
If you are not comfortable with this approach you may solicit testimonials with a questionnaire such as the following:
Patient’s Opinions Count Questionnaire
- What is it that you like about your new dental work?
- How does our office compare to other dental offices that you have been to in the past? Has it been a more positive experience for you? If yes, why?
- How do you feel about the way you have been treated by our staff of professionals? How does it compare to experiences in other dental practices?
- Have the problems that you had when you came in been resolved to your satisfaction?
- How fair are the costs for our services? Have you experienced more value here and why?
- Do you have any comments about your care or our office or team?
- I give Dr. Billsarelate permission to use my comments listed above for promotional purposes_______________________________________.
- I give Dr. Billsarelate permission to use my photograph with my testimonial for promotional purposes____________________________________________.
Before printing testimonials for public viewing make sure that you are not violating any state restrictions. Avoid verbiage that promises cures or promotes you as the only dentist who can perform certain procedures, or states that you are the “best dentist” for any reason.
Other ways to use patient testimonials besides an in-house display book would be:
- Your website
- Your practice brochure
- Your welcome letter
- A bulletin board
- In an article
- In a presentation
The next step would be to get a professional photograph of the patient to place next to the testimonial. Some patients may not want a before treatment picture next to a now picture because of public embarrassment, so make sure to clarify what the testimonial will be and get permission and a release for using the patient’s picture to promote your practice.
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If you would like more information to improve the performance of your team, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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