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Patient Prism's Dental Expert Blog

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You can guess why some patients leave your office. But what are the big factors that will keep them coming back time and again? Dental practice consultant Lisa Mergens, who founded Ascendant Dental Development, has pinpointed a few of the attributes of really great practices that attract loyal patients.

1. Offer exceptional service.

We need to make sure that every aspect of our patients’ needs is addressed, from the moment they call on the phone to the moment we dismiss them at the end of an appointment. And we need to delight them. We need to far exceed any expectations they may have had.

3. Identify what makes you unique.

One of the first things we have to do is figure out our unique selling proposition. Who are we uniquely? What kind of practice do we want to be? Dentists need to honestly look at the values they’d like to communicate to patients. When you know what is uniquely distinguishing about your practice, you can intentionally build upon that brand reputation.

3. Speak the same message.

Once you’ve identified who you are and who your staff members are, now you need to get everyone on the same message. The entire team has to buy into who you are as a practice owner, your why, and why you're going to do it the way you do it.

Going off-site for a big staff pow-wow allows everyone to bring their ideas to the table. The conversation will help with buy in. At the end of the process, everyone should go away knowing the practice’s core values. These values are to be intentionally communicated through how you treat patients as they come through your practice and the messages you deliver with words.

4. Keep the patient's best interests at heart.

People first, profits later… if we always keep our patients’ best interests at heart and in mind, then one follows the other, but we must have the entire office staff onboard with this. If someone can’t or won’t buy into that, then we need to assess whether that person belongs in the practice.

5. Make patients want to come back for more.

When you provide a great experience, they’ll want to return. The foundation of great experiences is feeling a human connection, understanding, and compassion. This starts on the first phone call and continues through every aspect of interaction with the patient while the patient is in your office.

6. Make scheduling easy for patients.

Many practices use block scheduling, so a dental emergency never waits. Your patients have access when they urgently need you. And when there’s no emergency, they fill the time by calling patients on a special quick-fill list.

7. Incentivize referrals and retention.

Consider incentivizing the referral process. For example, for every referral, the patient is given $15 of value towards future treatment, and referrals add up until treatment is performed.

If we’re trying to retain patients who do not have insurance, we want to make it economically feasible for them to stay with us. Incentives like loyalty membership programs may vary legally from state to state, but membership is allowable in most states.

8. Care about the environmental details.

Everything in the office should be thought through from a patient’s point of view. Is everything well organized, pleasing to look at, comfortable to sit in, and welcoming? Some practices check all the boxes when it comes to patient-centric details such as offering complimentary beverages.

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