By Wayne Kerr, DDS, MAGD
Today’s technology allows any dental practice to be highly “visible” to potential consumers through practice websites, Facebook, Google searches, Healthgrades, and other means of social media. But, once that new patient has found you, how do you set your practice apart from others, and go from “good” to “great?”
Research by Futuredontics suggests that the number one factor determining whether a patient will or will not return to your practice is being seated on time! Timing one’s most common procedures and using management software with ten minute increments facilitates our ability to honor a patient’s scheduled time. When seeing a difficult patient, or performing a challenging procedure, add an additional unit or two to ensure completing those services on time. And, always keep an open chair for that emergency or “hard to numb” patient.
Begin each day with a team meeting to discuss the needs of each patient you’re seeing. Knowing who’s new to the practice, who’s being seen in hygiene with incomplete treatment, and who might be moving from restorative to hygiene (or vice versa) are just a few of the many issues that should be resolved to ensure a smooth and productive day. Earmark best options for emergency work-ins and same-day dentistry.
Whenever possible, greet your patients by name! Team members are often busy in the practice or on the phone when a patient arrives, but should make a point of speaking to them as soon as feasible. Personally welcoming and thanking each one for their on-time arrival is a definite “patient-pleaser!” And, reviewing notes made about each patient from previous visits enables staff to renew personal “touch-points” during the seating process.
Finally, patients want to be heard! Listening well has become a lost art in the health care field. Carefully listening to one’s comments and concerns, not only helps us diagnose more appropriately, but also contributes to establishing a close patient relationship, trust, and improved treatment acceptance.
There are many ways to personalize your practice which contribute to your unique ability to provide valued services for your patients. Incorporating these suggestions are just a few that can help your practice go from “good” to “great!”
Wayne Kerr earned a Mastership in the Academy of General Dentistry, and was honored by the Academy in 2011 with its presentation of the Life Long Learning and Service Recognition Award. He has also been awarded Fellowship in both the American and International Colleges of Dentistry, as well as the Pierre Fauchard Academy.