As experts in dental marketing, everyone at Patient News knows the importance of regular dental care. It’s a message we’ve sent out across the country to millions of dental patients since 1993.
I’m very confident saying that all of Patient News peeps have a dentist and that they have probably been attending their dental office for years. But with a recently expanding number of dental practices in our community, we now have at least five times as many options as 10 years ago.
This means that there is opportunity for one great dental visit to be rewarded by any number of new patients. Why? Because when you give your dental patients a stand-out experience, you’re going to cash in on referrals.
A successful dental practice gets more than 50% of new patients from referrals. But a referral doesn’t just happen just because you ask for it. You have to work for it.
Recently at Patient News, a Sales Exec returned from a lunch-hour dental appointment. She had attended a new practice in town. Before, during, and after her appointment, she received services – and service – far above her expectations (which were pretty darned high). The dental team’s call handling, scheduling, consultation, insurance guidance, and clinical skills were stand-out impressive! Our employee couldn’t stop talking about it. And she was smiling … a lot.
It just so happened that two other team members were actively looking for a new dentist.
One wanted to repair and enhance his smile, but his dentist had no before-and-after photos or any other way to demonstrate his skill. And when the patient mentioned this, the dentist was indifferent. (The #1 reason patients leave a dental practice is perceived indifference.)
The other employee had been sitting on the dental fence far too long because of a bad experience. She required a treatment plan that would maximize benefits over a minimum of 2 years.
Different needs, yes, but both responded immediately to an enthusiastic recommendation from a trusted colleague ... and they both called that day and booked consultation appointments with this new dentist, making them immediate and excellent candidates for significant restorative and cosmetic treatments … and patients who were ready to contribute significant lifetime value to a new dentist.
Depending on “which dentist you are,” this is either very scary … or really exciting.
A Practice Ambassador Is Born…
- Skilled customer service. The call handler was a well-spoken attentive listener. She understood the practice vision and values, communicated competitive advantages, and had the necessary skills to convert a call into an appointment. She was prepared, interested, and patient. She moved our Sales Exec through the buying cycle effectively and efficiently.
- Active listening skills. At the patient’s first consultation, the doctor asked what her smile goals were as well as her timeline for completion. A full treatment plan was presented on paper for the patient to take home and refer to throughout treatment. While scheduling had its challenges, the dentist worked her schedule into his.
- Before-and-after photos of his own work. Using B&As as consultative tools was critical to the patient’s decision making. Would you have cosmetic work done by a dentist whose work you’ve never seen before? Didn’t think so.
- Promises were delivered. His clinical skills delivered the end-goal as detailed in the treatment plan. Everything was completed on time.
- Expressed appreciation and caring. From the welcome, to the greeting, to every appointment, to completion of treatment (at which time the doc shared his cell number with the patient in case she had questions), every single team member said thank you. Believe you me … our sales exec noticed!
When our sales exec returned to Patient News after treatment, her enthusiasm was so infectious, it sparked the imaginations of her colleagues, drew questions, and prompted those two people to immediately pick up the phone and make appointments of their own. Talk about powerful dental marketing!
Total value? You do the math: 2 crown & bridge, 3 teeth whitenings, 1 root canal, 3 fillings, 3 new-patient exams, 1 extraction, 1 bonding, and 2 subsequent cleanings … so far...
2 subsequent cleanings … so far...
By delivering the best customer service, consistently letting your patients know that you appreciate them, that their individual goals matter to you, and that their time is as important as your own, you’ll create a buzz around your dental practice … a buzz that will only get louder and louder as your practice ambassadors tell two friends, who will tell two friends. And you know how the rest of the story goes…