“They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” Carl W. Buechner
This is so true. Think about it. Wherever you go, your impression on that particular place of business is directly based on how they made you feel. Crappy service at the dry cleaners? They did a fine job on your clothes but the staff was rude, didn’t talk (or use your name) and didn’t thank you sincerely for your business. What do you go out feeling? Unappreciated, like you didn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that they did the actual “job” you expected them to by delivering your clothes clean, pressed and neatly packaged. You’ll go out thinking, and saying “That dry cleaners has the worst customer service ever!”.
It didn’t matter to them that you were a customer that day. The staff punched their time clock and went through the motions with no passion or attachment whatsoever. Chances are you might even try to find another cleaners to patronize. Even though they did a great job on your clothes, by negatively impacting your emotion they also upped your distrust factor. We don’t trust people who make us feel bad. We don’t trust people who talk condescendingly to us (nor do we like them) and we don’t buy from people who make us feel bad or who we don’t trust.
Buying is based on emotion.
Bad feelings = No trust = No purchase.
Good feelings = Trust = Purchase.
With all of this being said, how do your patients feel in your practice? The “good feelings” need to begin before entrance and continue after exit. It all starts with the phone call and ends with sincere thank you for visiting our practice, a follow up call and/or nice warm fuzzy card. Looking patients in the eyes, using their names and smiling. Isn’t this how you want to be treated?
The phone calls should always be answered with a warm, upbeat greeting. How many of you have actually called your own practice to see how your phones are being answered? If it’s with a clipped “Dr. XOXO office”, I can tell you right now the initial feeling that invokes is NOT a good one.
A warm, smiling greeting of “Its a great day at Dr. XOXO office, this is Mary Beth, how may I help you?” invokes a smile. Everytime. How do I know? That’s how we answer every single phone call for the practices we support and the feedback is always amazing. We’ll get a laugh, and a “well that was a nice greeting!” Even if they are only calling to see if we take Medicaid, which we do not, we always have a list handy on where we can direct them. We don’t talk down to them, we understand their plight and do anything we can to assist them in finding care.
Are your patients greeted immediately upon entering your practice? Offered a refreshment, or a tour if they are a new patient? Or do they sign in, go find a seat and sit in the cold reception area waiting for someone to acknowledge their existence? Are they advised of any waiting time with a “Mrs Smith, Susie needs to spend about 20 more minutes with her current patient – We apologize for your wait – may I get you a cup of coffee and a magazine?” If the patient bristles at the wait (which if you acknowledge the wait rarely do they get antsy!) then it is your responsibility to offer the best service ever and ask if they would prefer to reschedule. You might lose an appointment for the day, but you have secured the trust and good will of your patient and valued their time! Give them the option of how they want to spend their time. (This will also present an opportunity to address challenges of staying on time)
The good feelings must come from every member on your team. Gratitude that the patient chose your practice, smiles, genuine hello’s, and caring. One team members sour puss attitude can totally erase every one else’s gratitude attitude. If ONE person makes them feel bad, they will go out talking about how so & so was such a snot, not how every one else was so kind.
Ask yourself – Do your patients feel great upon entering your practice? Do they feel valued and that you are truly happy to see them? Same for when they are seated, during treatment and upon exit? Keep the good feelings flowing. THIS is what will set you apart from the rest.
It’s difficult for a patient to transition from having a wonderful hygienist take care of them, who encourages them to schedule their necessary treatment and to be passed off to a less than friendly financial/scheduling coordinator. You’ll see many patients leave without scheduling. They trust the hygienist, were ready to roll and because of how they felt during the financial/scheduling session they switched off.
Every single patient who comes through your door has some type of anxiety about being there. Every single one. Your whole team has every opportunity to secure a solid relationship with each patient by how you make them feel. Work with your team to maximize these golden opportunities.
Thats all anyone in life wants to know is that we matter. That it matters to you if I am your patient or not. If we don’t matter to you, we will be on the quest to find someone who does make us feel good and does make us feel that we matter. Guaranteed.
It’s all about the relationships we build. The trust. The passion for making a difference. We want people to go out singing our praises and saying “You will never find a dental office who will take such great care of you!”. The ROI you receive from this type of referral marketing is priceless.
Every single word and action from your team members to patients are a direct reflection of you.
What reflection do you see when you look in the mirror of your practice?
“People love others not for who they are but for how they make them feel” Irwin Federman
Warmest wishes for the greatest of feelings ☺
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