5.24.13 Issue #585 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Nancy Caudill
Senior Consultant
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Are Your New Patients Happy With You?
By Nancy Caudill

Is your practice like an “old school” popcorn box where the popcorn goes in the top and just as much or more goes out through the bottom? Do you, Doctor, know if your patients are staying in your practice? Do you know if all those patient charts that you see on the shelves are actually coming in and if they aren’t, would you prefer not to know? Do you have a practice that is over 10 years old and you still only have one hygienist working? These are questions you need to seriously ask yourself if you find that your practice has reached a plateau, or even worse, declining revenue - even though you are working just as hard.

A good business owner would ask the question - WHY? McKenzie Management is all about the “why” as well as the solutions for the “why.” This article is only a small part of the big picture of the difference between a successful practice and one that is not as successful.

Top 6 Reasons Why New Patients Choose A Practice:

1. Location
They are looking for an office that is close to home or close to work. How many patients have you lost because they relocated to the other side of town?

2. Referral
Their friend, neighbor or co-worker recommended you. We all like to feel that we have the best dentist in town and we want to recommend him/her. It makes us feel good to be helpful. This also includes insurance referrals - the office participates in the patient’s dental plan.

3. Price
The word in town is that this practice is the most reasonably priced for the services it provides.

4. Office Hours
Saturday and evening hours are very attractive to many potential patients as well as the opportunity to schedule a new patient exam within the week.

5. Appearance of the Building (Curb Appeal)
Two practices located within several blocks of one another - which one has convenient parking and looks more inviting?

6. Marketing
They see an advertisement for the practice weekly, monthly or quarterly - either in the newspaper or in the mailbox. This would also include finding a practice online.

We hope that your practice falls within at least one of these categories. There are other reasons, such as being the only dentist in town, and even that scenario is no guarantee of a reception room full of patients.

Now that you have new patients contacting you for their first appointment, it is the goal of the dentist, clinical team and business team to focus on making this new patient feel special and not just another “mouth” to treat.

Top 5 Reasons Patients Stay in a Practice

1. Warm and Friendly Doctor and Team
Most patients are not excited about going to the dentist, even to get their teeth cleaned. It is an interruption to their day. We are in the teeth business so patients should see everyone with a smile on their face. Remember the 10-foot rule: Speak to everyone that comes within 10 feet of you. In a dental office you may want to write your own rule of 5 feet.

2. Cleanliness - No Clutter! 
Counters should be free of anything that attracts the eye. Patients want to see clean and clutter-free. Obviously, they also expect a very high standard of sterilization. They like to see the assistant or hygienist remove the instruments from the sterilized bags or cassettes, light handles covered, etc.

3. Up-to-Date Facility
“Hi-tech” goes a long way to most patients. If you are chartless, use digital and intraoral cameras and digital radiography, they will see you as “cutting edge” and they want that in their dentist.

4. Waiting Time
Limited waiting time in the reception area and the treatment room is key - when a patient has an 8:00 am appointment, they want that time for a reason: they want to get in and get out. When they aren’t seated until 8:10, they are not happy. And it’s even worse when the doctor doesn’t come in for the anesthesia until 8:20.

5. Post-Operative Calls from the Dentist
These should not be delegated to a team member. I know that you are frowning now. Not many dentists like this. Let’s face it - most patients aren’t home anyway so leave a message. It has the same affect.

How do you know if the new patients coming in to visit you and your team for the first time “like” you? Ask them! Yes - ask. Don’t be afraid of the answer, because you may learn something about yourself and/or your team. The easiest way to find out how your new patients feel about their first visit is to invite them to complete a short survey about your practice. This can be accomplished through many of the appointment confirmation softwares or you can create your own. Jot down the 5 questions that you would most likely want to know from your new patients, and have them rate the answer from 1-5 with 5 being the best, and room to comment if scored less than 4.They can complete the survey in the reception area before they leave and drop it into a comment box, or you can give them a stamped self-addressed envelope and mail it. 

If you would like assistance in putting your survey together, contact McKenzie Management today!

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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