Dentists and teams know that if you enter the operatory properly prepared, patient visits typically go smoothly. And patients are more likely to remain loyal to your practice when they consistently have great dental experiences. However, loyalty is influenced by more than what happens during the procedure.
Long-term retention is also strongly influenced by how effectively you connect with patients. Patients stick with dentists and teams they like.
You strengthen your connection with patients by setting aside the dentistry for a moment to discuss general interests that allow you to get to know the patient even better. Consider how you can work questions about general interests into each patient visit. For example, ask new patients if they grew up in the area, what they do for fun, and/or what they have planned for vacation.
The next step is remembering what patients tell you. Dentists and teams who are really committed to patient retention keep notes about general points of interest that can be quickly referenced before each visit. These notes are kept separately from chart notes.
Finally, just as you prepare for the procedure, spend a moment reviewing notes about points of interest, and spend time in your huddle discussing the general interests of those you are seeing that day. Go into the operatory prepared with how you are going to strengthen your connection with that patient. Ask about the previous month’s family reunion, revisit your conversation about sports, or ask something that allows you to explore points of interest in more detail.
When you consider how much effort and expense go into getting new patients, it only makes sense to protect your “investment” by spending a few extra minutes strengthening your connections. When you take the time to get to know your patients, they take the time to tell friends and family about you. And they remain loyal because you make them feel like more than just a file in your computer.