A Thanksgiving of Good Patients
Belle DuCharme, CDPMA
Dentistry is a people business, and during this time of year we should make time to thank our patients for trusting us to serve them. So much emphasis is put on attracting new patients into the practice, we often don’t make a concerted effort to thank those who loyally show up at every appointment on time, are easy to work on, and who pay at dismissal. These patients make our day special, yet more attention is paid to the complainers and the demanding negative patients who give us high blood pressure and disrupt office harmony.
What does the good patient look like? Good patients come in all sizes, ethnic groups, genders, races, creed and colors. Good patients can be the young or the very old, but here are some characteristics you may take for granted:
- Follow instructions when filling out health history forms and signing HIPAA and informed consent
- Update health history forms when you ask them to without rebuttal
- Show up on time or a little early but don’t pressure you to be seated sooner than the scheduled time
- Are willing to follow office policies regarding appointment confirmation and reminders
- Take responsibility for broken appointments or last minute cancellations and offer to make it up to the practice by taking a hard to fill time or offering to pay for the appointment
- Rarely break or cancel appointments
- Follow office policies on payment options and do not ask for special treatment or discounts other than what is offered
- Pay at the time of service or as otherwise directed
- Do not demand excessive attention or conversation that distracts employees from their work
- Take the time to write favorable reviews for online posts
- Recommend the practice to friends, family and co-workers
- Cooperate during treatment and ask questions when they don’t understand treatment options
What can the practice do to thank these patients for their loyal support? The following are suggestions, and not to be considered as “payment” for purchasing services:
- During the morning meeting, choose one patient each day to thank for being a great patient.
- Send out Thanksgiving cards to all patients and put a special note to those who really make your practice pleasant and why you appreciate them.
- Buy some mugs printed with the practice logo and put a $5 Starbucks or other local coffee company card in it and give to your best patients as they leave after their appointment.
- Call the patient the night of the treatment to see how they are doing.
- Send a personal thank you card to every person who refers a patient to the practice.
- Send a “how are you doing?” and thank you card after completion of a treatment phase.
- Offer to be a patient advocate as your patient is referred to a specialist by knowing when the appointment is scheduled and then calling the night after the appointment to see if you can be of assistance.
- Thank patients for giving you required notice to change an appointment time.
- Thank patients daily for coming in on time and make sure to seat them on time.
- Ensure that each patient is comfortable in the treatment facility by asking them if their neck and back are supported, if they need a blanket, magazine or some water. A little extra TLC is always appreciated.
- Put together a goody bag for patients who complete restorative treatment, including free samples of interproximal brushes or flossers, lip balm, mouth rinse and purse size tissues.
Speaking with people who have left practices after being loyal patients for years, a common denominator is noted and a disheartening response of the following is heard:
“They didn’t seem to care whether I was there or not.”
Every day is the day to show we value our patients. Let’s create a Thanksgiving of our good patients today and carry throughout the rest of the year and every year to follow.
Want to learn more about building a solid, retained loyal patient base? Call McKenzie Management today for Front Office, Dentist CEO or Office Manager Training.
If you would like more information on McKenzie Management’sTraining Programs to improve the performance of your team, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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