Dental Articles

Patient Retention: Will They Return to Your Dental Practice?

Edited 2021

I read an interesting article about Harvard social psychologist Amy Cuddy who stated that “people size you up in seconds.” In her book “Presence”, Amy Cuddy says people immediately ask two questions:

-Can I trust you?  
And
-Can I respect you?

Psychologists refer to these questions as a measure of warmth (trust) and competence (respect), and ideally you want to be perceived as having both dimensions. Cuddy says that most people, especially in a professional setting, believe that competence is more important than trust.  Patients want to know you are smart enough and talented enough to take care of their Dental treatment.

This isn’t true! Ms. Cuddy states that warmth and trustworthiness are the most important dimensions. I believe this to be true because when I ask any individual why they think their dentist is so “wonderful”, they talk about their personality, their chairside persona, and the Dental Office culture.

Not long ago after I had sold my practice, a former patient called me and stated she wasn’t going to go back to her Dentist. Apparently he’d been crabby and short with her that day and it made her very uncomfortable. I asked her if she’d been happy with the work that had been performed for her and was this an isolated incident. In fact, she was happy with the Dentistry, but the atmosphere made her uncomfortable, irrespective of his competence.

I explained to her that Dentistry is a very tough and stressful business. The Dentist wears a lot of hats and although we might make the work look easy, it really isn’t, especially when we strive to do an excellent job against many odds (bleeding, saliva, uncooperative patients, etc.). I further explained her Dentist could be dealing with many facets of the business: payroll, staff management, taxes, repairs, inventory, etc. And even if he or she has Staff members that handle these problems initially, in the end, final decisions to resolve problems are ultimately laid at their feet.

But what happens to patients who don’t have Dentists for friends they can talk to? I believe they leave the practice and look for a more pleasant culture, a less stressful atmosphere, regardless of how well they think the Dental treatment was done. We’re all human, so how does a Dental Practice prevent the loss of patients?  Or better stated, how can we do everything possible to retain the patients we’ve worked so hard to attain?

It's all about Teamwork. Does your entire Dental Team own effective skills to work cohesively to quickly recognize stumbles and work to correct them? Is there a high level of trust such that all Team members (yes, even the Dental Practice owner!) can auto correct when called out on a stumble?

I suggest you read our article on: “Does Your Dental Team Own These Highly Effective Characteristics?

This is why your Dental Team: Assistants, Hygienists and Office Managers are so important to the success of our Dental Practices. Is everyone on your Team considered to be your right arm? If one of them is missing, do you feel their absence? Is their work performance missed or does the office atmosphere improve? This is the gauge required for you to determine if you have the right Staff on the payroll.

We’re here for you to connect you with the right Dental Professional; to provide tools to improve your bottom line and boost your practice to the next level of excellence.

 

 

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When you spend your time and energy dealing with non-clinical issues such as insurance, employee turnover, accounts payable and receivable, you can’t enjoy the work you were trained to do. At DentalStaffing.org, our consultation will work with you to identify the issues and give you solutions for moving forward. Then you can start running your practice instead of your practice running you.

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~
“I wear bodily fluids that aren’t mine, put up with adults who act worse than children,
and am told how much people dislike me. And yet, I still love what I do!”
- Kara, RDH