Have you noticed lately how marketers are cashing in on the real fear of not having enough new patients? Does your practice stress about new patient numbers every month? What if instead of focusing so much energy and fear on new patients or the lack thereof, you took the time to build rock solid relationships with your existing patients? What would happen to the dental practice then? Would it grow? You bet it would, and better yet, your existing patients would refer friends and family again and again and again! Creating a never-ending cycle of return, refer, repeat.
There are many components to a successful practice, but the most important part of any practice is the patient. How you treat the patient determines their likelihood to return for routine visits, necessary treatment, and cosmetic procedures. However, I am not referring to the quality of dental treatment, although that is most certainly important. What I am referring to is the relationships that you build and share with your patients in their communications with the team. For it is in this treatment that the real heart of the team is shown. It is this treatment that will generate patient loyalty and increase in-office referrals, and referrals are the highest compliment a patient can give us.
It takes commitment from the entire team, with everyone working together to ensure that the patient’s needs are taken care of first. Good communication skills within the team are essential to make this happen.
Here are 8 examples of ways to build relationships and start the cycle of return, refer, repeat:
- Enthusiastic front office team members who are engaging the patients, listening to their needs, and sharing their concerns with the clinical team.
- Clinical team members who are empathetic and knowledgeable about recommended dental treatment.
- Doctors who take the time to discuss treatment and answer questions.
- Documenting concerns and referring back to them while communicating with the patient.
- Treatment planning with the patient before scheduling the appointment.
- Scheduling appointments for the patient before they leave the practice, or at the very least gaining their permission to contact them for follow-up to schedule the appointment at a later date.
- Asking for referrals and online practice reviews.
- Consistently doing this with EVERY patient, EVERY time!
Help your practice grow from within, and lose the fear of worrying about new patient numbers. When the team is engaged with each other and the patients, you cannot help but have a successful progression of return, refer, repeat!