According to our survey results, patients have told us that the main reason they will remain with a particular dental practice is because of “the dentist themselves”. An impressive 74 per cent of patients strongly agree that the main reason for staying with their current dentist is trust, which means trust builds loyalty.
We’re all aware that the way you establish trust is by building relationships through dependability. It’s no different when it comes to your practice. The relationship you create with your patients is essential for success and it all stems from communication.
We’ve discussed this key point before but I think it’s important to reiterate: your front office staff is responsible for the base of your relationship with your patients. It’s fair to say that your front office staff are extremely important team members and a vital asset for creating a strong and memorable first impression. We’ve discussed in previous articles that it is critical to the success of the practice that the front office team members are well-trained to succeed. When established patients think of their dental practice, they likely first think of making a phone call to a trusted front office staff member that they’ve already created a relationship with. Remember, the front office team is the face and the voice of the practice.
But you cannot solely depend on your front office staff to do all the talking. It’s extremely important to remember that communication goes such a long way. It’s no different than your own personal relationships. A relationship with a lack of communication will not work or grow – there has to be vulnerability. One of the biggest communication problems is that we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply. This absolutely cannot be the case with your patients. They are trusting you, perhaps in an environment that triggers a bit of fear or anxiety, to make them feel as comfortable as possible. You have to acknowledge their feelings and do everything you can to make the experience a positive one.
We’re not forgetting about your clinical skills and the impact it has on your relationships. When asked about specific reasons for being loyal, 57 per cent of patients said that their dentist’s skill level earns their loyalty. But three out of four respondents said the specific reason for being loyal to you is trust. Trust in your communication skills, trust in your ability to make them feel comfortable, trust that your team members will treat them with respect and compassion. These are the factors that are crucial to having them book their next appointment before they leave the practice. And more importantly, leaving with a smile.
Keep in mind that every single day is a new opportunity to create new relationships with patients who walk through your front door. You can view it as just another day or you can think of the true value in the time you have with them. Simply put, consistency builds trust. Trust builds loyalty. And loyalty builds your practice.
As seen in the print issue of Oral Health February 2020
*In late October and early November, 2019, Bramm Research, a third-party independent research consulting firm, conducted an online survey on behalf of Oral Health. Based on a sample of 1,000, the margin of error is +/- 3.2%.