From The Dr. John Meis Show
Dr. John Meis: Would you like to avoid running a bunch of patients off and ruining your reputation all in one fell swoop? Well you'll wanna watch this episode.
Dr. John Meis: One of the things I love about social media is it gives us such great insight into how patients think and feel, because you can go on Facebook and you'll see things that patients say about their dentist on Facebook that they would never ever say to their face. And I've got a great example right here, let me read it.
Dr. John Meis: "A few weeks ago I asked for recommendations for a new dentist. My prior dentist had retired and sold his practice to ..." I blanked the name out, but it's a corporate group. "Without notice that my dentist had retired, I showed up to my biannual visit and to my surprise was met by a new dentist. Not having missed any dental appointments in the past, I don't know how many years ... All of a sudden this new dentist said I needed thousands of dollars of work. It caught me off guard. I mean why hadn't my prior dentist mentioned these areas were of concern? Mind you, I had not been having any problems, no pain or anything. My husband and I both thought this was odd, so he encouraged me to get a second opinion. Boy I'm glad I did. I sent questions to a few of the recommendations I received, checked out their online reviews." Lesson there. "And testimonials, and went to see Dr ..." And I have that name blanked out as well. At the recommendations of her friend, that name blanked out as well.
Dr. John Meis: "The first dentist's fees, based on her recommendations, totaled more than $12,000. My new dentist, yes, she's definitely my new dentist, totaled $1369, and part of that charge is something she says we just need to watch and don't need to act on now. Everything was more personal here too, from a friendly receptionist laughing, happy, beautiful office, blankets, headphones. I loved how much time Dr blank spent speaking with me and explaining things to me. I love independent businesses like this and will always support them."
Dr. John Meis: So this isn't about corporate dentistry is it? This is really about a patient and how she was treated. So here's the thing. Anytime you have a sudden change where patients are expecting one thing, this patient went in and was expecting to get her teeth cleaned and everything be fine, and the dentist tells her $12,000. Big surprise. So anytime you have a sudden change in dentist recommendations, you have to handle it very very carefully, otherwise you're gonna have a patient doing exactly what this woman is. Online saying what a little lazy bum you are and how the new dentist who didn't do that to her is such a great person.
Dr. John Meis: So the first place I learned this was in in hygiene actually. So one time we had a hygiene consultant come into our office and taught our whole team on how to improve our perio systems and what not. And they did a great job, and our care was much better because of it, but they also taught kind of a hard sell mentality about do it, do it now. And what I noticed happening in my own practice was that our referrals were going down, and our retention was going down. So people may have been buying it but they weren't feeling good about it, and a lot of people weren't buying it.
Dr. John Meis: So I learned that really when you have something where you're selling the invisible, perio, most people don't know they have it. There's no symptoms, particularly early on there's no symptoms, so they don't know they have it. So any time you're gonna sell the invisible it's a tough sale, and if you don't do it well you're gonna create an angry patient.
Dr. John Meis: So the patient really has to understand the problems. Now I teach a seven step method on how to get patients to understand it. I'm gonna talk about one of the steps first of all, and that is whatever the problem is, whatever you have to do to make this happen, make it visual so the patient can see what you see. Seeing is believing. So making it visual is the very first best way to help patients understand the care they have.
Dr. John Meis: The next thing in order to have this transition go smoothly, is for the patient to have some time to process it. So trying to go for the so-called quick kill isn't very productive, because now the patient it is uncertain and they haven't bought your recommendations. So the second dentist that this lady went to had a little more soft approach didn't she? And so that dentist had a lower case size, she said there were other things that need to be taken care of, but they don't need to be taken care of now. So she kind of softened the blow.
Dr. John Meis: Now have you ever had this experience when you got a new or different car, and you never really noticed them on the road but now that you have it, now that it's yours, you see them all the time, they're everywhere. And so it's kind of like that when you tell a patient that they need a particular kind of treatment. Let's say it's periodontal disease treatment. Alright so now all of a sudden they know, that's in the back of their head, it's kind of in their subconscious, and now they're gonna pick up on articles, they're gonna pick up on news stories, they're gonna pick up on other people talking about periodontal disease, where they probably wouldn't have noticed before. So giving patients some time to process, so that they don't feel pressured to move forward and move forward right now.
Dr. John Meis: So I've heard many dentists say, "Well it's my professional obligation, I have to tell them to do it and I have to tell them to do it all now." Well I think it's important that patients understand the conditions in their mouth but I think the order in which and the speed at which you take care of those problems can be adjusted for the patient's needs and wants. And if you don't do that, now you've got an angry letter from a patient, you've got a Facebook post that's making you look not as good as you should, and when that happens you're going to see your new patient flow go down.
Dr. John Meis: Some other lessons in this Facebook post. Number one, surprises. She went there not even knowing that her dentist had retired, and so there was a surprise there. That surprise is probably not a good one. There probably should have been some notice, right? Because surprised patients are confused and confused patients don't buy.
Dr. John Meis: Second thing is what did she do? She got some recommendations from her friends, but that wasn't good enough to get her to call the dentist. What did it take? She had to go online, look at the online reviews, look at the online scores and testimonials. So even though she had recommendations from people she knew, she still had to go online, and that's why having a well-crafted online presence is so very very important, because this is what people do.
Dr. John Meis: And the last lesson from this is that the friendly receptionist that was laughing, having fun, the dentist that spent time with her showing these things, the extra personal items, the headphones and the blanket, all those things were little things but they personalized the care for her. Dentistry is a relationship business, and the more personalized that you can do it and make it, the better off your practice will be.
Dr. John Meis: So I also want to remind everybody that you can get a copy of Wendy Briggs and my book, it's a number one Amazon best seller, The Ultimate Guide To Doubling and Tripling Your Dental Practice Production. You can get that by going to our website, TheTeamTrainingInstitute.com. I'll pay for the book, all you've gotta do is pay for the postage.
Dr. John Meis: So with that we'll end this episode, we'll see you next time on The Dr John Meis Show.