Educating the Dental Team for Patient Retention

I’m a mom, and moms talk. The very best marketing you could ever hope to have is word of mouth. So I want to share with you a dental visit I had and two reasons that I did not give the practice a good word-of-mouth referral. My review, when asked (and I was asked), was that it wasn’t the right place for my family.

A few years ago, I made an appointment at a very well publicized dental center that had opened a new location in my neighborhood. When the assistant was taking me back for X-rays, I asked if the center used digital X-rays. She asked me what that meant. Hmmmm. All that fancy decor in the lobby, and the assistant doesn’t know what a digital X-ray is. As I explained it to her, she seemed completely disinterested. It really made me see where the priority was in that office. All appearances pointed to just that — appearances.

Please do not let your team wander around your beautiful office with no idea what a digital X-ray is.

Another instance that was quite a put off happened during the same visit. I was told that I needed my wisdom teeth removed. Now I don’t mind getting a filling, but oral surgery is another story. I asked the associate doctor if he did extractions in the office. He said maybe… They had a doctor that did extractions, but he traveled. I may have to go to a city 45 miles away for the extraction, he said. I can tell you, that was not going to happen. I asked if he recommended anyone local and he said no. Nice guy, but not much help.

If this doctor had referred me to a local endodontist, I would have had much more respect for him and the entire practice.

It’s important to make sure that everyone (staff, associates, receptionist) knows how to describe your services, technology, certifications, and policies to patients. At any time, a mom may ask what your policy is on treating children. How would your receptionist answer?

All I’m saying is, we — the public — depend on you and your team to be the experts. Do whatever it takes to become the experts, and your new patients will have more confidence in you, which means they’re more likely to be loyal.