8.10.12 Issue #544 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Jean Gallienne RDH BS
Hygiene Consultant
McKenzie Management
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Are You Aware Of How Dentally Educated Your Patients Are?
By Jean Gallienne, RDH BS

Do you want that new patient, or the patient returning for their first recall, to be a lifetime patient and refer many other patients? Or do you want to see them one or two times and not receive any referrals. Today’s consumer is much more educated than ever before. With all of the social media, reviews and the Internet, the average consumer can look up and learn quickly about any business or dental office. In addition to all of the electronic access to knowledge, they also still have the traditional ways of educating themselves with books, pamphlets, and other professionals, as well as their own perception of what they think is right and wrong. With all of this knowledge at our patient’s fingertips, we must always be on our “A Game.” One bad review on the Internet could be what keeps a patient from coming to your practice.

When a patient is diagnosed with periodontal disease and is treatment planned for 4 quadrants of root planing, they can go home and Google gum disease, treatment for gum disease, root planing, and how much time is required for root planing - and they will be aware of everything to expect. Not only that, they will have access to chat rooms that will discuss fees, alternative treatments, and how others perceive root planing, all within ten minutes.

Customer service is something to be constantly aware of. When one of my patients informs me they are moving and will be leaving the practice, I write down on the back of my business card exactly what they should ask any new office they are considering. I also recommend that my periodontal maintenance patients go to a periodontist and ask them for a referral to a general dentist in the area they are moving to. When it comes to patients that leave our office because they had to change their insurance to a provider that we do not accept, most of them return even if they have to pay cash, because: “I did not feel like my teeth were cleaned as well as they are here, I would much rather pay cash than have poor quality of care.”

One of the best practice builders for your office may be simply spending a few extra minutes on a professional cleaning. There is nothing that makes me happier than to have a new patient in my chair say: “That is the best cleaning I have ever had.” I immediately say thank you and ask them to please share that with their friends and give them my business cards while asking them for a referral. This is all based on the patient’s perceptions. So, when you are looking at what will be done in a dental hygiene appointment and how much time the hygienist is taking to do all of the procedures, it is recommended that no matter what additional treatment is done, make sure to include enough time for the actual cleaning.

Many times it is the time spent with the patient performing the procedures, the non-verbal actions of the staff, and how rushed the patient perceives them to be that may be the deciding factor. If a patient leaves your office and writes a review stating that the cleaning was average or below average and the hygienist seemed rushed, this may prevent many new patients from even entering your front door - even if they have insurance that only you except.

We all know how important word of mouth is, and in today's society, word of mouth is easily provided not only nationwide but worldwide with the click of a mouse and use of a keyboard. It is recommended that you keep this in mind whenever you are looking at making changes, whether it is the new patient consults, new patients in hygiene, or how much time is allowed for a procedure. Making changes that alter the patient's perception of your practice can help to create a lifetime patient and referral source.

Interested in improving your hygiene department? Email hygiene@mckenziemgmt.com and ask us about our 1-Day Hygiene Training Program or call 877-777-6151

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