Creating Relationships that Last
When was the last time you opened up the “Yellow Pages” to look for a dentist or a barber? It’s probably been at least a decade at this point in time. Long gone are the days when people used to flip open that book and look at pages inundated with ads. Nowadays, it’s easy to look anything up online or on social media.
As a dental office manager or dentist, you may think about different ways to engage your patients and get confused or overwhelmed. Just like how advertising has changed, so has engagement. The engagement process has gone beyond creating relationships or having the best ads; it’s learning how to continuously adapt to new trends and utilizing them to your advantage. To foster these trends and ensure they positively impact your practice, there are a few steps that can help develop and strengthen engagement with your patients.
1) Find out more about your current patients by starting a conversation and getting curious about their likes, dislikes, hobbies, and favorite places to eat. By opening a narrative like this, you not only build a better relationship with them but develop connections with patients that you did not know were possible. Once a patient feels like the office staff, or dentist, want to develop a relationship, then that rapport can lead to better ways to service your patients and eventually to more patient referrals.
2) It is all about the environment! The office space is the first point of contact any patient has with the practice. Creating a comfortable and inviting space immediately puts your patients at ease and has them feeling more open to the office staff, in turn, encouraging them to engage with you. A few ways you can create a comfortable space are having a coffee, water, or snack area in the waiting room, having welcoming decor, or displaying pictures of the team or other patients.
3) Social media is the current trend and the future trend. Creating social media pages to engage with your patients is a great way to have your patients feel involved with the practice outside of receiving treatment. In order for your social media pages to succeed, ask your patients to like or follow your pages. Once that has been established, there are a variety of ways that you can engage your patients, such as:
Holding contests or polls
Having patients share a fun photo with their favorite dentist or staff member onto your page
Have them like your pictures or videos you have posted
By staying current with social media, the practice has a higher chance of exposure and engagement with your patients along with prospective patients. After all, you never know who is looking at your social media!
4) None of the above steps will be successful if the staff is not involved. Getting your staff on the same page about patient engagement can boost overall morale and rapport with your patients. Encourage staff to talk with the patients and be involved with them. This not only helps with building relationships but also helps patients feel more at ease once treatment is being performed.
Overall, your goal is to provide your patients with a positive experience, both with dental treatment and office interaction, so that they can keep returning and refer others to your practice. To achieve this, always aim to engage with your patients and follow the trends that can best assist with that. In the end, you will have life-long patients with the utmost loyalty.
Sylvie Haber, Consultant, CFE
Sylvie first entered the dental field through her mother, who is a dentist. She grew up attending conferences and many dental meetings. Watching her mother’s passion and love of dentistry, Sylvie grew to love the profession as well. After, she earned her MBA in Healthcare Administration from Loma Linda University. She completed the ADA ‘s Executive Program in Dental Management and also became a Fellow of the American Association of Dental Office Management. Sylvie enjoys seeing dental offices thrive, become more productive and run smoothly under her guidance through management and coaching.
Sylvie can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org