Thank patients for arriving on time. Whether by saying “Thanks,” noting that they’re 10 minutes early, or acknowledging it in some other way, the front desk coordinator and others should let patients know their punctuality has been noticed… and appreciated. It will make them feel good about your practice.
When presenting to patients who aren’t responding, ask questions to help them get started. Some patients are reluctant to ask questions or express concerns. When working with patients like this, try to anticipate what they want to say. Draw them out with simple, encouraging questions, or simply go ahead and explain things you think they need to know. This will help them learn to trust you.
Advice for the Practice Leader – Track your key performance indicators (KIPs). There are four key performance indicators—production, profit, collections, overhead—that you must track regularly. Each of these is an important indicator of practice performance that correlate to one another. Without data on these indicators, your practice is operating in the dark
Use scripts to add value to conversations. Include power words and benefit statements in scripts to create more value during patient interactions. Power words—like great, terrific, wonderful and outstanding—generate a positive attitude, and demonstrate an intention to be helpful. Benefit statements focus on why patients should be motivated to follow recommendations.
Learn from dissatisfied patients – Don’t take criticism personally. Don’t interpret a negative comment about the practice as a comment about you personally. By being too thin-skinned, you’ll lose a valuable opportunity to improve the practice. Sometimes doctors and teams need the unvarnished truth to set them straight.
Advice for the Marketing Coordinator – Maintain enthusiasm. In your position, you are often the public face of your practice. Making a good impression when you interact with community members, groups and media will raise your practice’s profile and positive awareness. A pleasant demeanor and an enthusiastic manner help build strong interpersonal relationships that eventually lead to more new patients.
Advice for the Dentist – Do more with what you already have. Many practices have fewer new patients presenting than they had several years ago. Do more with the patients who are already in your care by:
- Keeping 98% of all patients scheduled at all times
- Reactivating 85% of all overdue patients who haven’t been seen in the last 18–36 months
- Offering ideal and comprehensive treatment, with 90% of cases accepted
Use “habit triggers” to bring out your winning personality. A habit trigger is a simple sentence you repeat to yourself to reinforce a positive attitude before meeting patients. You might say, “I’m about to meet my favorite celebrity!” or “I am great at my job!” Try using a habit trigger before every patient encounter and you’ll discover that it really works, bringing out a more effective “you” and establishing a habit of success.
Management Monday: Check out Dr. Levin’s whitepaper, “5 Ways to Improve Interpersonal Relationships with Patients,” by clicking here. Save 25% with code TOD25.
Performance Target: Train all team members on every system within 90 days. Gaps in learning prevent team members—and your practice—from reaching their potential. By reviewing systems checklists and following step-by-step scripting, team members can become proficient in all areas of practice operation.
Advice for the Front Desk Coordinator – Write down patients’ personal details. Document what you learn about new patients during their first phone call to the practice. At the morning meeting on the day of a new patient’s appointment, review this personal information with the team so that everyone can use it to build the patient’s trust and comfort level.