Building Trust With Dental Patients: Where It All Begins
Building trust with dental patients is like building trust with anyone. Trust takes time to build. Relationships operate on a give and take basis. As people, we build trust with other people, not with companies. In fact, I think most people are not even interested in building trust with companies or institutions. People relate to other people.
Each relationship begins with the first “Hello”! Most of the time, this will be with the telephone. I know there are dental practices that offer appointment scheduling online. But most people will have questions before they schedule their very first appointment. How the dental front office handles that first phone call sets the stage for the rest of the relationship.
In fact, the dental front office is responsible for much of this relationship base! I’m really not kidding when I repeatedly say, the dental front office is truly the most important team member on board. It’s critical to the success of the dental practice that the dental front office team member is well trained to succeed as well. On-going training and support make all the difference.
The front office team member is the face and the voice of the dental practice. When established patients think of their dental office, they think first of the front office team member. Hopefully, they look forward to making the call they need to make to the office and interacting with this team member.
Building Trust With Dental Patients Begins With “Hello”
When your patients call the office, what do they trust will happen? Will your patients know that their phone call will be answered within the first few rings? Or are they hoping not to reach an answering machine? Do you think your patients look forward to hearing the warm, confident voice of the front office? Or do they hesitate to call and ask a question about their scheduled treatment because they don’t think they’ll get a great answer?
What kind of greeting is extended when a patient enters the dental office? Does the front office team member take the time to look at the patient entering the office with a smile? Is there a warm welcome? Or is the front office too tied up with another project to be able to make that connection?
Every “Hello” must be powerful! I don’t mean fake or inauthentic in any way. What I do mean is, every single hello is worth the effort. Every patient is a person who wants to feel that their presence matters. They want to be acknowledged and greeted in a way that they remember. There is always time to do all those other things pulling at your attention. Trust me!
In fact, I have developed a system of Weekly Management that will show you just how to get it all done! And it’s so simple, you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it yourself. Put this system in place, and you’ll find a whole lot more time to smile! You’ll find a course included in your Dental Front Office Membership as well! And it’s there for you in a big way!
Building Trust With Dental Patients Requires Great Schedule Management
Dental appointments are a big discussion topic. Patients spend more time talking with the dental front office about appointments than any other subject matter. There is definitely a finesse in this too. Not just in scheduling one appointment. Although that’s important too. But there are several providers and hundreds or even thousands of appointments scheduled in the dental office. And they all keep changing and moving!
Have you ever had a patient come into the office for an appointment and they weren’t even on the schedule? No fun! And I don’t mean they came in on the wrong day at the wrong time. They came in with an appointment card in their hand and weren’t even on the schedule? Yes.. And it hurts!
Kindness Overcomes Our Mistakes
Surely this affects that “trust” with our patient. If it is an appointment that we can possibly fit into the schedule that day, we would be wise to make it so. What if we can’t? There’s just no possible way to pull this one off. We are all human. We all make mistakes. Life will go on. A nice gesture might be a gift card for a cup of coffee. Extra TLC would also be a great trust builder. Touch your patient’s arm, or hold their hand briefly. Maybe even a little hug.
Patients who need immediate treatment should be called with any schedule changes. Really put in the effort to accommodate your patients dental needs and their schedules. Great schedule management will help you in building trust with dental patients. Keeping a notebook or asap list in your computer to move appointments to suit your patients and your practice makes everyone smile! As you are building this call list, you will also be taking the time to know your patients even better. Relationships will naturally develop through these conversations.
Building Trust With Dental Patients Includes Awesome Account Management
Money mismanagement can ruin any relationship. Great money management builds trust in relationships. Money is so sacred to people. It often represents time to people. Something they can never get back. It’s emotional. This is something you’ve got to get right!
Get it right and your practice will grow! People want to be in the care of those who get it right! Bill the right dental insurance company with the right information. Get the correct procedure codes, member id #’s, claims address, and necessary attachments. If you are involved in PPO dental plans, make absolutely sure the write-offs and adjustments are correct and clear.
Sending patient statements every day! Seriously… if you are sending patient statements every month or every week (which has become the norm) change this today. You will have a much better handle on your accounts receivable and there will be more consistency in the accounts receivable and collections.
Offer pre-payment financing. When patients ask for “payment options” or “payment plans”, be surto offer pre-payment financing with a discount for pre-payment. This is another “Seriously”. If companies are charging interest for financing dentistry to your patients, counter that! Offer a pre-payment with a discount! Get paid before you even provide the service in full! You may not want to offer a discount for credit card transactions, I get that. But if your patients can pay in full with cash before treatment, cut them a break!
Be sure to discuss cost and give great estimates! No one likes surprises. There’s nothing that takes the wind out of our sails like an unexpected expense. We really want to make sure our patients understand the full cost of what they are doing, even if they have insurance. Don’t just give them their estimated portions if considering insurance. Give your patient the full cost. Also tell them if other procedures might be necessary, what those costs would be. Then if treatment needs to go in that direction, they will be prepared.
Building Trust With Dental Patients Every Day
Every day is a new opportunity. We have this great gift of a new day. What we do with it is totally up to us. We can view it as just another day at the office. Or we can see some real value in the time that we have with out patients. How can we help our patients receive the dental care they need and deserve? What can we do to improve their lives and their time with us? That’s what it’s all about!