How does your practice go the extra mile to delight patients? In this guest blog post, Kelly Lynch from Platinum Practice Solutions shares some fun ways to market your practice and turn patients into evangelists.
As a child, I loved the end of my dental and doctor appointments because I was taken to the “treasure box” for a toy or sticker. Somehow that little trinket always made the visit okay! I’m a grownup now and when I leave an appointment all I get is my next appointment card and a bill! Why should the kiddos get all the fun stuff? What treasures does your office provide for your adult patients? How many times has your office recommended a product to a patient and then sent them on their way to hopefully go and purchase that item and start using it? Wouldn’t it make sense to have any products you are recommending conveniently located in your office for purchase?
We have become a society of convenience. If we can do all our shopping in one location, we not only save time, we are more apt to use that product that is being recommended. Have you ever had a patient arrive at your office needing to review their medical history or sign treatment consent and they forgot their glasses? Watch your patient’s face light up when you hand them a pair of readers that you purchased at your local dollar store. Have a pair handy in each treatment room and at the front desk. Post-appointment warm towels to freshen up after an appointment, treatment room music/internet radio, and free Wi-Fi are all little touches that patients notice.
Soft, fluffy finger towels in the patient washroom to dry their hands and freshen up with make a huge statement about your office and the attention to detail you have for patient comfort. Make sure to check these finger towels regularly for signs of wear, fraying, or staining. Toss used ones into the office cleaning drawer and replace with new ones.
A huge patient favorite is receiving a fresh flower at the end of the visit! We have a relationship with our local florist to deliver three dozen assorted flowers to the office every Monday morning. The assortment typically includes roses, carnations, daisies and alstroemeria. We arrange them in a beautiful crystal vase and placed it at the checkout station. When a patient is ready to leave, the last thing we say to them is, “We get these flowers for our patients and we would love for you to take one to enjoy.” For new patients, the offer is met with a look of pure excitement. For returning patients, it has become the norm. Many look forward to getting their flower. For the patient who responds with, “I’m not going straight home. It will die in my car,” we quickly respond with, “No problem, we have a water tube to keep it fresh until you can put it in your own vase!" While simple, yet this has become a highly effective marketing tool. Imagine their conversations as they walk into their place of employment with a flower in hand!
Quality pens, lip balms, hand sanitizers, and samples of products you sell are all ways of marketing your practice and making the patient feel special. We also like to change things up with seasonal items, such as windshield ice scrapers in the winter and frisbees in the summer. Be sure your practice logo and contact information are on each of these items. Another simple touch that means so much, and takes very little time, is a welcome card for every new patient. These cards are hand signed by the doctor and each team member, and mailed to the patient after their first visit. The inside verse could simply read: "Welcome to your new dental home. We look forward to helping you keep your smile for a lifetime!" This gesture of welcoming and thoughtfulness is sure to make your new patient feel that they have made the right decision in choosing your practice. Check with your current office supply company or the ADA Catalog for samples of these cards and verses.
What about your existing patients? How can you share with them how happy you are that they are part of your dental family? Enter the Warm Fuzzy Card! Warm Fuzzies are blank greeting cards that are hand written by the team member. They say something as simple as, “Congratulations on completing your treatment.” Or, “You did an awesome job today; it was so nice seeing you. Have a wonderful summer and I look forward to seeing you at your next visit.” Daily, each team member selects one of the patients that they worked with and mails them a “warm fuzzy.” Such a simple, personalized touch will thrill your patient, and makes your office stand out in the sea of offices that surround you. Patients are sure to mention this card at their next appointment!
Technology has taken over a large part of how we share good cheer with each other. Social media allows us to instantly send birthday, anniversary, congratulations, etc. with the click of a button. And while those are also great marketing tools, hand-written cards and notes are still very much appreciated. People still love to get cards in the mail. Congratulating your patient on completion of their recommended treatment goes a long way when it comes to retention. Sincerely letting them know that you are happy for them, and that they should be very proud of themselves for taking the steps needed to care for themselves, is huge in building the relationship.
Don’t forget to share the joy and love with each other as well! Doctors and team members should also feel very good about sharing kudos with one another. Doctors love to hear that a patient is very happy and pleased with their treatment. Team members truly appreciate a sincere pat on the back and positive feedback from the whole office. Everything that you do in your dental practice is a form of marketing! What is unique about your practice? What amenities are you offering in this highly competitive world? Make it fun! Make it effective! And make an impression!
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