Keeping Patients Happy, Asking for Referrals: The BEST ROI for dentists!

This week’s guest blog is by dental consultant Dr. Mayer Levitt of Jodena Consulting. A former dentist himself, Mayer has helped tons of dental practices to achieve better profits, retention, and publicity since 1989. In this blog, he discusses some ideas for phone etiquette in the dental office. You can learn more ways to improve your practice by subscribing to Mayer’s blog.

As a dental management consultant, I advise my clients on strategies that will attract new patients to their practice. However, I balance the importance of attracting new patients with the essential task of keeping faithful, current patients happy. We should not overlook the importance of maintaining our current patient base.

It’s much wiser, financially, to retain your patients than to lose them and seek new patients.

In a report I read recently, an interesting truth was revealed. You see, patients don’t often leave their dentist in the first few years of the relationship. Instead, they fall off the map after about six years. Six years! Why? The main reason is that the patients who leave began to feel unappreciated, forgotten. At first, they were treated like royalty, but as years passed, they became a number.

How to keep your patients happy:

Praise them; thank them; handle them with care. Let them know, from the moment they walk through your doors, that you and your team are happy to see them again. Give them reasons not only to respect and trust you, but to like you!

Don’t give your patients the six-year itch.

Your current patients return to your office every six months for cleanings and checkups, and more often for restorative or cosmetic treatment. The dollar value associated with each existing patient is huge. In addition, when your current patients are pleased with your practice, they’ll spread the word to friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family. You cannot buy that kind of awesome advertising.

You can leverage the power of word-of-mouth advertising by educating your team to ask patients for referrals.

If you do not ask your established patients for referrals, you are missing a golden opportunity. Here’s the key to making the request professional, consistent, and effective: ask for a referral when a patient thanks you.

Example 1:

Patient says to the doctor after looking in the mirror: “I just love the way the veneers reshaped my whole smile. Thank you so much.”

Doctor’s response: “I’m glad you are pleased. I absolutely love doing cosmetic dentistry. If you have friends who might benefit, please send them my way. We’ll take just as good care of them as we do you.”

Example 2:

Patient says to front office employee: “I can’t believe you fit us in with your busy schedule today. Thank you for taking care of our emergency so quickly. I didn’t know what to do besides call you. The only other option was the emergency room, and what could they do for a knocked out tooth?”

Employee response: “Absolutely not a problem. You can call us anytime; that’s why we’re here. If anyone else on the soccer team needs a dentist, we’ll be here for them too. We really appreciate personal referrals, so be sure to tell your friends about us.”

So, overview…

Keep your patients happy, even six years down the road.

When someone says “thank you,” ask for a referral.

These two keys can significantly enhance your bottom line, and they are super simple to implement.