Fostering Lasting Relationships With Your Patients
Positive relationships are fundamental to good business. Arguably, repeat business is the best type of business. Building long-lasting relationships is a critical factor to gaining repeat business. Long-lasting relationships are even more important in the field of dentistry. Even though you may only see a particular patient once or twice a year, you may have that patient for multiple years. Therefore, it is extremely important for you to make every effort to build a lasting relationship with your patients. Having a positive relationship with the patient allows for better care. Below you will find some strategies to help you create lasting relationships with your patients.
The small things truly do count. Attempt to personalize every interaction with your patients. Call your patient by their preferred name at any appropriate opportunity – this will help foster a sense of familiarity between yourself and the patient. You do not want to treat your patients like clients per se; nevertheless, personalization is a key component to good customer service. Remember to smile and be polite when on the phone. Elsewhere, you should take a small note at each visit regarding what the patient talked about in their last visit – that way you can mention in during the next visit. Showing your interest in the patient’s life outside of your office is a good way to show your patient that you see them as more than just your 10:30 AM appointment. These small gestures can go a long way to help you create long-lasting relationships with your patients.
Everybody’s busy. You’re busy with your day. Your patient is busy as they most likely had to juggle work/family obligations to make it to their appointment on time. You may only see a particular patient every six months, but it is essential that you make the patient aware that you are cognizant of their time and its value. Make every effort possible to avoid long wait times. Tell the patient immediately if you think there are going to be any delays. Explain to the patient how long a procedure is expected to last. Show your patients you care about their time. You need to take the time to provide your patient with accurate and appropriate information regarding their current visit and any potential future visits.
It is, of course, important to communicate clearly and efficiently with your patients when they are in the office; however, it is equally as important to communicate with them while they are not in the office. As the time between visits can be lengthy, it is critical that you maintain contact with your patients. There are numerous ways to do this: birthday cards, appointment reminders, appointment follow-ups, end-of-year reminders, etc. Moreover, a good tip to keep in mind is that it is not necessarily what you say, but how you say it. Keeping the lines of communication open with a patient will help them feel more at ease with you – which will allow you to provide better care over a longer period of time. Never underestimate the significance of communication on any level.