Investing Time in Your Patient

How do you prepare for your new patient’s arrival? Is it enough that the patient arrives,  either by referral or through marketing? The answer in my experience is a clear no.

It happened today.  A 19 year old woman arrives with her mom for a fourth opinion on replacing a congenitally missing upper lateral incisors.  My assistant tells me that she is shopping for the best price.  Ever happened to you? I can guarantee you that I will never have the best price for the same procedure.  Likely I will be at the high end. So why bother even seeing the patient?

Let’s talk about time,  really valuable,  structured time.  Let’s talk about caring enough for the patient and its relationship to that time.

It starts with the time you invest in your website– the before and after pictures,  the great testimonials,  the time you invest to make sure that every patient leaves your practice happy and is willing to share that with the world.  Nearly everyone checks your website before seeing you.  They’ll check your website if they were referred or even not referred to you.  So look at your website.  Does it have those multiple testimonials? Do you take the time to ask for those testimonials?

Potential patients check your reviews.  The most prominent reviews are Google reviews.  Do you have great reviews and lots of them? Time invested in getting those reviews can make a big difference in the patient choosing you.

The patient calls your office.  Do you take the time to train your front desk staff on how to answer the phone,  on how to take the patient who is calling multiple dentists and decide that you are the one to stop at to schedule that new patient appointment?

The patient schedules.  Did you take the time to create a welcome package to send to the new patient including a personal letter with a handwritten note from you? Does that package solidify in the patient’s mind that he or she made the right choice?

Do you take the time to call your patient that night to say hello and find out more about what that patient needs and wants? Do you take the time to note that in the patient’s record?

The patient arrives.  Does he or she receive a warm greeting from your staff? Does that staff member take the time to devote 100% of her attention to that greeting?

The patient is escorted back to the operatory.  Does your assistant take the time to get a good history?  Does she take the time to read the notes that the front desk took when the patient scheduled and the notes that you wrote during your phone call? Because the last thing that patient wants to do is repeat the same story over and over again.

Does your assistant then take the time to brief you on what transpired in the operatory so that the patient feels as if he or she was listened to?

You examine the patient.  Do you take the time to explain the situation in non-dental language?

The patient goes with your assistant for financial arrangements. Did you take the time to show that patient smiling pictures of similar patients with similar problems and great results?

Your time is your most valuable commodity.  The patient needs a bone graft, and later on, an implant, custom abutment, and crown. My time in the operatory today was 20 minutes.  Yes,  she accepted treatment.