Your dental practice is thriving. In fact, your patients are your greatest fans.
They’re loyal and devoted and wouldn’t dream of going anywhere else.
Sound too good to be true?
Not at all. In fact, it’s not only possible but relatively simple too.
You just need to know a few simple techniques to build customer value. You see, the key to patient loyalty is to demonstrate the value in your service.
When patients see the value in your service they’re one step closer to becoming raving fans. Think about it.
People who love Apple products know they’re not the cheapest, but they believe they’re great value.
They know there are alternatives, just as your patients know there are other dentists. But they return again and again because of the value they receive.
The Secret To Patient Loyalty
Along with creating excellent customer service, creating value for your patients will mean they’re more likely to attend their appointments.
In fact, creating value has another important outcome. Because not only are patients less likely to cancel, they’re more likely to accept the treatment you propose.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? But how do you do that?
Well, you do that by using every opportunity to describe to the patient what services they are receiving, and how these services help them. This builds patient confidence in what you do.
It also tells your patients exactly why the service is valuable.
For this to be effective, you need to recognise the value that you are providing them. And this can be tricky.
To help you understand the process, here are some examples of how I build value in my practice.
You’ll notice that value is built into every interaction, or as many interactions – also called touch-points – in the practice as possible.
Your Step-By-Step Guide
Before you start treatment, it’s important to build value for what you’re about to do. (Click to Tweet) Let’s imagine Mrs Jones is here for her appointment. Before starting any treatment I would say to her:
“Mrs Jones, today we’re going to be completing a restoration on the upper right hand side. It’s important we’re getting onto this today because left untreated, this tooth could easily become problematic.”
This ensures that Mrs Jones understands what’s happening and knows that you are helping to maintain her great dental hygiene. This is valuable for her.
While you’re conducting treatment, you can reinforce the value you’re giving by saying:
“Mrs Jones, I’m really glad we’re doing this restoration today. The cavity is quite large and if we’d left it any longer, it would almost certainly have caused you problems.”
While this may seem like repetition, it really isn’t. It’s confirming to Mrs Jones that the cavity really is large and that it would have caused problems if left any longer.
Once you’ve completed the procedure, you can build value for the work you’ve just done by saying:
“Mrs Jones, I’m really pleased we completed the restoration today. Once I opened up the cavity it was quite deep and if it had been left too much longer, it would almost certainly have caused you problems.”
Again, this is not as repetitive as it may seem. It’s really validating the situation so the patient understands you’ve got her best interests at heart.
I would turn to my receptionist and say:
“Mary, Mrs Jones has done really well today. We have done a really large restoration for her on the upper right first molar. It was good that we were able to complete that today because otherwise it could well have caused a few dramas if we’d left it. Mrs Jones has another cavity on the lower left second molar and I’m worried that if it is left too long it could also lead to problems. I’m anxious to complete that as soon as possible.”
I would then address Mrs Jones again:
“Mrs Jones: so that you don’t have any nasty problems, it is important that we address the decay in the lower left second molar. Mary will make a time for you to come in and get that fixed up. Do you have any questions for me before I leave you with Mary?”
If Mrs Jones did not have any further treatment that needed to completion, we would look to build value for the next recall examination instead. So we might follow up by saying something like:
“Mrs Jones, you don’t need any more dental dramas. So that we can ensure any problems are dealt with early, easily and conservatively, I’d really like to see you in September (i.e. six months’ time) for your preventive maintenance examination. Cavities can develop pretty quickly and I’m concerned that if we leave it any longer we’re running the risk of seeing more cavities like the one we had today. I’m going to ask Mary to schedule an appointment for you and at least then it is in the diary. If circumstances change, we’ll handle that. It’s important this doesn’t fall through the cracks.”
I then leave Mrs Jones with Mary, to make her next appointment, which is also a structured conversation designed to gain a commitment from the patient to attend the next appointment.
Mary: “Mrs Jones do you have any day of the week that don’t work for you in terms of scheduling an appointment?”
Mrs Jones: “Tuesday and Friday’s are not so good for me. I travel with work those days.”
Mary: “And do you prefer a morning or afternoon appointment?”
Mrs Jones: “Morning please.”
Mary: “Mrs Jones I have Monday at 9 am or Wednesday at 10:30 am. Which of those suits you best?”
Mrs Jones: “Wednesday at 10:30 am please.”
Create Your Own Success
Start creating value for your patients now. This needs to become part of your practice culture, so you can build a successful, secure practice for you, your staff and your patients.
Pretty soon that dream of a thriving dental practice will be a reality.
You’ll have created patients that are your greatest fans. Patients that are devoted, and loyal, and rave about you everyone they know.
You’ll have created your own success.
And there’s nothing more satisfying than that, is there?