3 Reasons Patients Don't Appreciate You
Your patients just don’t seem to understand the value of the services you provide, and it’s killing your bottom line. They’re either not showing up for their appointments or they’re not scheduling needed treatment at all. To make matters worse, your patient retention rates are abysmal. Patients come for their first appointment, never to be heard from again. It’s all beyond frustrating, and it’s holding you back from practice success and profitability.
No matter how skilled you are as a clinician, it doesn’t do you much good if you don’t have any patients to treat. If you’re going to be successful, you need to develop a strong base of loyal patients who understand the importance of maintaining their oral health and who trust you with their care. Simply put, you have to get them to appreciate you.
When patients don’t appreciate you, it wreaks havoc on your practice and hurts your bottom line. They don’t view keeping their appointments as a priority, or see a need to go forward with any treatment you recommend. They feel no connection to you or your practice, and can be easily swayed to visit the practice down the street. All of this is costing you thousands of dollars in revenue every year. The good news is, I can help you turn it around. Here’s a look at three reasons your patients don’t appreciate you, and how you can get them to see the value of the services you provide.
1. You don’t provide enough education. If patients don’t understand the value of dentistry, they’re not going to appreciate what you can do for them. Take the time to educate your patients about the importance of maintaining their oral health, and actually show them what’s going on in their mouths using x-rays and an intraoral camera.
Let patients know the possible consequences of ignoring any problems you find, and explain how you can help them get back on the right track. Show them before and after photos of successful cases you’ve completed and encourage them to ask questions so you can address any concerns they might have. Help them to see you’re a skilled clinician who has their best interest at heart.
Providing top-notch education will help patients truly value what you have to offer, and that means fewer broken appointments, higher patient retention rates and improved case acceptance.
2. You’re not connecting with your patients. It’s difficult for patients to appreciate a dentist or a practice they just don’t feel connected to. If there’s no connection, there’s often no reason to come back. That’s why you have to take the time to get to know your patients and build a rapport.
I know most dentists would rather focus on performing the dentistry than building relationships, but that’s why so many practices struggle with patient retention. If you want to grow your patient retention rates and create loyal patients who appreciate you and what your practice offers, you have to focus on making connections.
Ask patients about their families and their jobs. Talk to them about their dental health goals and the services you offer that can help them meet those goals. Show them you care about their oral health and want to provide them with the best care possible. They’ll start to understand the value of dentistry and appreciate the services you provide, and that means they’ll be more likely to accept treatment, show up on time to their appointments and stay loyal to your practice.
3. You don’t spend much time on case presentations. If you only spend five or ten minutes going over case presentations with your patients in the treatment room, they’re not going to appreciate the importance of the treatment or what’s involved with the procedure. That’s where a dedicated Treatment Coordinator comes in. Consider hiring a Treatment Coordinator to perform case presentations for all the producers in your practice. This person, trained in sales, should meet with patients in a private room to go over the details of the treatment before mentioning the price tag.
Take the focus off the cost and train your Treatment Coordinator to walk patients through what they can expect before, during and after the procedure. This person should create a comfortable environment where patients are encouraged to ask questions. Make sure the Treatment Coordinator spends as much time as necessary explaining treatment and addressing concerns. This will not only help patients better understand the benefits of going through with treatment, it will also help them appreciate the time and effort that goes into the procedure.
When patients appreciate you and your practice, they’re more likely to become loyal patients who sing your praises to family and friends. But you can’t expect them to appreciate you just because you’re a skilled clinician; you have to earn it. If you take the time to educate your patients, get to know them and show you care about their oral health, they’ll be much more likely to appreciate your practice and value the dentistry you provide. And that will mean a boost in patient retention numbers, productivity and your bottom line.
Next week: How to educate your patients about your practice.
For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side
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