Five Fresh Ways to Show Patients You Care
By: Linda Miles, CSP, CMC
With a weaker economy, many practices are discovering that they must go back to basics and remember what made them successful in the beginning. Many businesses that become successful also become lax in doing those little things that make a big difference. It boils down to making patients feel so special in your practice that they can’t wait to come back for excellent service and refer others to you. Following are 5 fresh ways to reignite your customer service fire.
Work out a special deal with a local florist that you will place a card in front of each bouquet at your front desk, “Compliments of ______ Florist” along with their cards for marketing their business. You never know when a patient thinks, “how beautiful, I need to send ______flowers for ______.” By ordering more than 40 bouquets each year (delivered every Monday morning), you can almost always get these for 10% above cost. On the last workday of each week, select a special patient or team member and give the flowers to take home.
When a new patient calls to make an appointment, give your doctor the name, date and time of the appointment and their phone number. When the doctor has a three-minute break, he or she can call the appointed new patient to introduce themselves and let the new patient know how much they are looking forward to meeting them on _______ at ____. Dentists who take the time to do this have a 95% chance of eliminating a new patient no-show!
At the morning huddle, each team member and dentist announces to the rest of the group which patient they spent time with yesterday will receive a personal thank you note from them (mailed the day after). It takes less than three minutes to write a quick thank you note and if there are seven people on your team, that is seven lucky patients each day (112 per month). The cost to the practice is a postage stamp and the card (estimate $1.50 per or $168.00 per month). Some of you might say emails are quicker and less costly, but how do YOU feel when someone takes the time to write a personal note these days?
The person answering your telephone can make or break the chances of a call turning into an appointment by how they sound and what they say. Having voice mail take the call in a patient facility is the kiss of death during office hours. The person who takes the calls must sound friendly, caring, enthusiastic and empathetic. Each scheduling coordinator’s daily goal should be to turn 90% of the callers into appointed patients. Some will already be patients, but many incoming calls do not result in making an appointment due to the tone of voice and attitude of the person taking those calls. Over-zealous (desperate sounding) is as bad as an uncaring, non-enthusiastic tone.
The day after each new patient, visit the dental assistant who works as the New Patient Coordinator, to see how well we did the previous day. If your customer service was top-notch, as it should be, the new patient will brag about how impressed they were. This is a perfect time to invite other new patients into the practice by saying: Mrs. Brown, we are so happy that you enjoyed your first visit with us. We also enjoyed meeting you. If you have any friends, relatives, neighbors or co-workers who do not have a personal dentist, we hope that you will tell them about our practice. And please post your testimonial for us on Facebook, Yelp or Twitter.
Linda Miles, CSP, CMC is the Founder of Linda Miles and Associates (now Miles Global) and the Speaking Consulting Network. Linda has been a member of AADPA since the mid 90’s. Please visit Linda’s two newest sites at www.AskLindaMiles.com and www.OralCancerCause.org.
The Metro Denver Dental Society is a not-for-profit component society of the American Dental Association and the Colorado Dental Association.