Do you ever wonder why new patients don’t end up coming back to your dental practice for recare or sending in more family members? You are nice, gentle, caring, and your patients love you. Your team is totally awesome. You have a process that your team follows diligently to book the next appointment while the new patient is still at their first in-office visit. The answer might be simple … and a little gross!

Look up. Is there a fly in your light fixture? Look down. Are the walls a little more scuffed than they should be? Look sideways. Are your garbage receptacles pristine? Are there chips in your paint? Finger grease marks on the door? Dirty step stools and splattered carts?

Last week I had two medical appointments with two different professionals in two completely different offices and buildings on the same day. Both practitioners are leaders in their fields and very successful. These are not practices that are struggling, don’t have enough staff, are slowing down, or closing up shop. I’m talking about the best of the best in their fields and growing in success.

These two professionals had all the above issues going on and they probably aren’t even thinking about it. They both had the “bones” of a presentable office. And they both follow proper sterilization protocol. I can only assume that, like me, these practitioners are actually totally human! They are super busy, they’re in and out of the office and treatment rooms, bustling with patients, staff coming and going, treating emergencies … clocking in and out… and neither staff nor doctor is taking a moment to just look around.

Dental marketing problem number 1.

  • We stop noticing our own environments.

Whether it’s at home or work, we all have inattention blindness. We don’t detect that there are cracks in the presentation. But everything is getting a little run down every minute after its unwrapped or fixed up. Cracks in the presentation are an absolute no-no for a dental practice.

Dental marketing problem 2.

  • Patients do notice.

I was the patient that noticed a few cracks at my first appointment. Because of whom I work for and because of office number one … I ended up noticing that my second appointment also had a few cracks … and they were pretty gross. So of course I thought I better blog it to help you.

Why do patients notice what we don’t? Because they are left to wait.

You’re a patient too, so you know what I’m talking about. We may initially fool around on our phone or we may have something to read. But we’re waiting. We’re impatient. So our focus isn’t completely on ourselves. That’s when we start to look around at the environment. In your case you have patients reclining – make sure you don’t have a single bug in that overhead light. The cleanliness of your practice is an extension of you to your patients. If you haven’t updated your chairs, walls, or flooring in 10 years, new patients will assume you haven’t updated your education either.

I literally made a list. These are not earth-shattering I’ve-got-the-plague problems. These are things you can fix this weekend.

  • Bugs in the light fixtures
  • Chips in the paint
  • Fingerprint grease on the door
  • Mismatched frames (of doctor certification). Nothing more tacky.
  • Dirty footstool (it’s winter here so I get it, but c’mon)
  • Splatters on a cart and entry point of garbage receptacle … what are those? Ew!

As a matter of fact … when you walk in Monday morning, take a sniff. Does your office smell good? If not, make changes. Of the top dozen priorities for dental consumers, having the highest standards of sterilization and general cleanliness is a make-or-break proposition. New patients will compare your office and their experience with all their other medical experiences. They don’t want a medical office in used condition. Yuck!

Now I love my two doctors. I will go back. I also hope they read this blog! So rather than think “spring cleaning,” schedule a “fresh look” huddle on the first of each month or every time the season changes. Start now by asking your team mates, family members, and friends to point out areas in your practice that could use clean up.

Remove these bugs and all of your new patients will fly back to your practice and send their friends and family to you! In the meantime, we’re working on an even more pristine and effective presentation for your newsletters. If you haven’t read my last blog "Amazing News For Dentists That Want Their Dental Marketing Campaigns To Be More Effective" , check it out now!

Here’s to increased dental marketing success in 2016!