Your patients are at the heart of your dental practice. Without them, you simply wouldn’t be in business. While providing great dental care is fundamental to the success of your practice, strong dentist-patient relationships keep patients coming back time and time again. Although you only see most patients twice a year, there are different ways to instill trust and enhance patient relationships. These five tips can strengthen the relationships you form with your patients.
1. Learn One New Fact Each Visit
Some of your patients may be nervous whenever they sit in the dental chair while others may just want to get in and out as fast as possible. But, all patients want to feel cared about. Learning a new fact about your patients each time they’re in for a visit is a simple way to make the experience more personal.
This can be as easy as asking "what’s new?" Whether the answer is big or small, it’s a fact that you can chat about and follow up with during subsequent appointments. Your genuine interest will help build trust. The key is having a process in place to capture this information so you can walk into the next appointment prepared to continue the discussion.
2. Reach Out to Patients Outside of the Office
While you’re only seeing most patients a couple of times a year, it doesn’t have to be your only contact with them. In addition to automated reminders, sending out birthday and holiday cards is a simple yet effective way to have another touch point.
Beyond expressing a personal greeting, these quick notes act as reminders to those thinking it might be time to scheduling another appointment. Getting those patients back in the door for routine check-ups and additional treatments is a good thing – sometimes, all it takes is a personal touch.
3. Be Yourself
There's a difference between having a life outside of your practice and expressing it. Sharing your likes and interests with patients is another way to establish strong relationships. That way, you can find common ground to facilitate conversations, which leads to more effective communication when the discussion turns back to treatment recommendations.
4. Be Punctual
As much as your patients appreciate you and your staff, taking time out of their schedule may not be the highest item on their priority list. When you’re able to get them into your office, do all you can to be punctual while providing the best care possible.
By doing so, you’re giving your patient the feeling that their visit is important and taking care of them is your highest priority. We all know that schedules get tight and outside factors change the course of a day. If you’re late, apologize and give the patient the time and care that they deserve.
5. Utilize Technology for Communication
Streamlining communication with your staff and patients plays an instrumental part in the dentist-patient relationship. Having a dental communication platform in place allows your team to maximize a patient's time as well as to communicate important information in a format they prefer. Your patients may not always recognize the technology you're using; however, they will appreciate the enhanced patient experience before, during, and after their appointment.
Building and keeping a strong dentist-patient relationship is imperative to the success of your practice. Not only does it keep patients coming back, but it gives them each a sense of belonging in your dental practice.
This relationship also makes patients more likely to accept same-day dentistry because you don't have to "sell" treatment plans. Building a relationship is one tip – take a look at our eBook, Four Keys to Case Acceptance, for other ways to increase same-day treatments.