Dental Office Marketing Help from Chef Ramsay
The renowned and controversial television reality star Chef Ramsay has stepped out of the kitchen (Hell’s Kitchen) and is now offering his scalding advice to hotel owners across the country. At the first season finale of his latest endeavor “Hotel Hell” he delivers shocking advice to improve cleanliness, design, customer service and product - which the owner of the hotel acknowledges in time to make some serious and immediate changes and save the business from bankruptcy.
In one scene he gathers all of the guests staying at the hotel and asks them what could be done to improve their stay. Next he asks, by a show of hands, how many guests would stay again and no one raises their hands. The guest complaints range from lack of cleanliness, attention to detail, outdated décor, bugs, broken televisions, no Wi-Fi and overall rundown appearance of the hotel and poor customer service.
The lessons to be learned in this television show (minus the hype and drama) are that consumers want the same things whether going to a restaurant, staying at a hotel or visiting their dentist. Recent surveys show that the following 10 things are what patients want from a dental practice:
1. Friendly, professional and knowledgeable people answering the phone and offering appointments within a week. Patients want to be seen soon when they call and are ready to buy dentistry.
2. Addressing special needs with the latest technology available. Older patients have different needs than younger patients and want to know there is more to their care than a cookie cutter approach. A cavity is not just another cavity. More time spent on prevention and maintenance of what they have is requested. Give the patients what they want now and they will buy more later.
3. Spending more time building a trusting relationship instead of upselling dental procedures. Patients want to feel confident that you are the right provider of dentistry for them. They have a choice of whether to return or not, and in some practices where patient retention is very low it is because of this erroneous thinking.
4. Newest and safest technology. Digital technology is here to stay, and keeping the old methods because it is comfortable for you is not what patients want. Paper records lying out on counters, misfiled and not stored safely make patients nervous and reflect their judgment of the quality of care they will receive. Cleanliness and spotless treatment facilities are required, and if not present will be a deal breaker.
5. Make it easy to do business with your practice by blocking your schedule to be able to get new patients or emergency patients in readily. Saying “No, we are booked solid” sends a message that you are too busy to see this patient.
6. Sell the products that you recommend - if not for profit then for convenience to the patient. Sending patients on a hunt to buy a product that will make them healthier is not good patient/customer service.
7. Make sure your fees are fair and affordable. Have a fee analysis done to find whether you are Usual, Customary and Reasonable for the demographic area around your practice. You can then tell patients that your fees were analyzed to be fair. If you have a particular specialty that you are niched to be the “expert” at then you can set your fees higher for this skill.
8. Accept all major credit and debit cards. Offer outside financing such as CareCredit. Being fair and having no surprises with financing dental care is critical to trust. If the treatment changes, the patient must be told before continuing and given options and costs before completion.
9. Explain to patients how appointments are scheduled and the reason it is important to communicate any scheduling changes well in advance. Patients need to know cancellation policies before the cancellation happens.
10. Make sure patients feel good about their care when they leave. Have them do a survey by mail or online. You must have their opinions to create better perception and value. Explain your system of follow-up so the patient knows you will be contacting them in the future.
Mostly, recognize when you need help taking your practice to where you dreamed it could be and building a happy, retained patient base. Call McKenzie Management at 877-777-6151 for a free assessment of your practice and learn about the products and services that can help you improve your practice now.Forward this article to a friend.
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