As you work to attract and maintain more patients in the coming year, remember that people respond to different personal approaches. One aspect of the dentist/patient relationship that can be particularly difficult to navigate is how to offer comprehensive care without alienating your patients.
Here are 4 ways to gauge your patients’ interest in cosmetic procedures:
- When a new patient comes for their first visit, conduct an intake survey. Ask about their interest in the various treatments and products you offer. You may want your patients to retake this survey every so often to be sure you are aware of any changes in their attitude towards elective treatments.
- Talk with your patients. Ask them one specific question: If you could change one thing about your smile, what would it be? This helps get the conversation flowing and reveals to you what their motivations and goals are. Get a sense of how things are going. And if you get the impression that for whatever reason they may not be interested in a cosmetic treatment, trust your instincts and hold off on the hard sell.
- Avoid pocketbook diagnosing. Don’t fall into the habit of holding yourself back from talking about elective procedures because you assume to know what they’re capable of spending based on what you know about them (i.e., they drive a luxury SUV or they’re in the middle of a messy divorce).
- Conduct follow-up surveys with your patients. Find out if their visit was a positive one. Ask for feedback on how to improve their experience and use that feedback to inform how you approach each patient at their next visit.
While your skills as a dentist will bring patients in, it is important to remember that your chairside manner will keep them coming back. Listening to your patients and asking for feedback will go a long way toward improving patient communication, retaining patients and attracting more referrals in 2016 and beyond.