What Do Reviews Have To Do With Finding More New Patients?

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Do you remember the story of the Dallas bride and groom who launched a social media campaign against their wedding photographer for a dispute on a $125 charge - a campaign that ended up destroying her business?

Well, the wedding photographer sued for defamation of character and was awarded 1.08M. I was so happy to finally see the business owner come out on top. But if you read the article closely, you will see the heartache and loss that the business owner experienced from one negative review that spiraled out of control.

It took almost 2.5 years, and ruined her business, and took over her life before she received vindication and the ability to rebuild her business.

Could you imagine what that would do to your dental practice?

At one time, not that many years ago, the standard was that if someone received a bad experience they would tell 7 people (some people used to say 10, some as low as 3). But the point being that they would tell a larger number of people about the bad service they experienced vs. telling people about the good services they experienced.

But today?!?! With the tap of a keyboard and a simple Enter key, they can tell thousands, who can tell thousands, who can tell thousands… all in a matter of minutes, hours and days.

We can no longer survive with so-so service, let alone a bad patient experience.

I know that every doctor out there, wants more new patients. But did you know that your new patient attraction actually starts with your current patient experience?

What does your practice look like on the outside to the new patient? Is it bright and welcoming? Or dark and dingy? I go into many offices that are outdated and I can tell you firsthand that won’t attract new patients.

What experience does your patient go through, starting with before they ever call you?

What experience does your patient go through, starting with before they ever call you?

  • Are you easy to find?
  • Is your phone number easy to find? (I was trying to call a business listed in yelp the other day, and their phone number was hidden back 3 pages on their website!)
  • Are they greeted within seconds of walking in the door? (I was recently watching mystery shop video of a practice and the front desk team member never lifted their head and simply grunted when the patient walked in.)
  • What does the team look like? Is everyone in clean and coordinated attire? Or do people look like they just rolled out of bed?
  • What do your restroom look like?
  • What does your office smell like?

There are 3 areas to look at in your practice:

The New Patient Contact Points:

This is every place that a new patient as contact with you, your office, and your team. This starts with the initial phone call and goes all the way through until they walk out the door. This includes things that you probably wouldn’t think about like how easy it is to find parking, are your sidewalks clear in the bad weather, and is your sign easy to pot from the road? Don’t forget to look at the forms that you ask your patients to fill out.

The other day, I was new to a medical office and realized that they asked me to write my phone number down 4 different times on 4 different forms – why did I have to keep repeating my self? Our job, should be to make the patients experience as simple and efficient as possible. While it might be more convenient to you or your team to have the patient write their phone number down on every form, isn’t it a better experience to have a shorter easier form for the patient to fill out and then for us to go back and find their phone number?

All of these little things all contribute to your patient experience and it’s just little tweaks in how we ask for the information that will make all the difference in the world. Instead of asking the patient to repeat, simply say “it looks like your phone number is 555-1212, is that still correct?” Now your patient doesn’t have to fill out anything, and you can easily update the paperwork.

Treatment:

The whole reason that the patient came in. When was the last time that you looked at every step of treatment process? From when they walk into the room (is there a place for them to put their belongings? What is the state of the equipment in the room), to how we gather our information, to the language we use when talking to the patients (are we talking very clinical, are we talking ‘down’ or lecturing, are we educating) to how the case presentation flows.

Most practices only look at the outcome of a case presentation and if the patient accepted treatment or not. But there are actually 36 points of contact during treatment that all play a part in the patients experience as well as the outcome of your case acceptance. Only by breaking down the treatment process and looking at each piece will you be able to increase your case acceptance and your new patients.

Post Appointment Experience:

This is most forgotten piece of the puzzle, yet leaves the biggest impact on your patients. What do your patients experience after their treatment? If they have work done, do they receive a phone call later in the day or night checking on them? How are any insurance or billing questions handled, how is your collection process handled? These are the last touches that your patients experience – you don’t want the last thing they experience to be negative.

The other day, I heard someone raving about a furniture company, how they blew them away every step of the buying process and delivery scheduling process. But then the delivery men, forgot to take away the old piece, the customers last experience was negative. When she called the delivery men to say they forgot, his answer was “you didn’t tell us we needed to take anything with us.” With just 11 words, they turned a glowing positive experience into a negative one. They turned what would have been a 5 star review into a 3 star review. They turned what would have been a referral into “use at your own risk.”

65 Point Patient Checklist

We created a 65-point new patient checklist that we use with every office that we work with. You can download a copy and see where your practice stands by going to http://TheTeamTrainingInstitute.com/65points

Your “New Patients” start with words that are being spread on social media and review sites – this is the new consumer world we are living in and as powerful as it is now, it’s only getting more and more powerful.


About the Author

John Meis, DDS, FAGD, DICOI

Dr. John Meis is the founder of The Team Training Institute. An innovator in practice management, marketing, leadership, and team development who at his peak was producing in the top 1% of dentists in the United States. He multiplied his 1 practice into 12 and has been a partner in more than 180 dental practices, playing a key role, visiting, coaching and innovating on the ground in these practices. After extensively studying the most successful dentists, dental practices, and business owners he developed the “Productive Practice Mindset” from which the core principles of the Team Training Institute were created. The Productive Practice Mindset consists of 11 key habits and attitudes which differentiate them from less successful practices. Get a free copy of his book to double your production - the right way!