One of the things that really bugs me about most dental practices is their failure to recognise their next arriving patient by name when that patient walks through the front door.
In fact, the aim of the practice staff should always be to greet the patient by their name before that patient announces who they are.
I call this “Beat the Greet”.
It’s not that difficult to do.
After all, you have a list of names already of who is coming in to see the dentist, and at what time they are due.
It’s called an appointment schedule.
It’s not that difficult to look at the schedule and work out who is the next patient due to arrive.
Another thing that makes it quite simple is the fact that the majority of patients visiting your dental practice each day are repeat visitors to your office.
They’ve been there before.
It shouldn’t be that difficult to put a face to a name.
After all, you’ve probably taken an ID photo of them for your dental software?
And you have their gender and their date of birth?
And if your team is really good, they’ve also taken notes about the patient that can be used for “Secret Service” activities.
“Secret Service” activities are defined as the implementation of hidden systems that enable our staff to consistently exceed the client’s expectations and to make the client feel welcome, comfortable, important, and understood.
Secret Service Information is relevant and important matters relating to that patient that they the patient mention casually [that are unrelated to their dental needs] that when raised at a later visit or at a later point in their current visit, has the patient saying to themselves, “WOW!!”
What do we do when a new patient is due?
When a new patient is due, we already have their name in our schedule, we know their gender, and we know the time they are expected to arrive.
So when someone we do not know enters our office at about the time the new patient is due, we might greet them and say:
“Welcome to Active Dental. You must be Mr Smith. I’m Jayne, I spoke with you on the phone. How’s your day been?”
If it is Mr Smith he will be super impressed with the way we warmly greet him, mainly because he has never ever been greeted in that way at any other dentist or at any other facility for that matter.
And if by chance it is not Mr Smith, whoever it actually is will be impressed by the friendliness displayed by your staff.
This is because this behaviour is so different compared to how they are usually treated at other places. It is so different when you compare it to the “usual” manner of having to arrive and having to ding a bell to attract a staff member away from their computer.
What if someone walks in the door and they are not on the schedule?
When someone arrives who is simply not on our schedule and they arrive at a time when nobody is due, then the greeting for them is simply:
“Hello. Welcome to Active Dental. My name is Jayne. How may I help you?”
Years ago I had the need to borrow some impression material from a neighbouring dentist.
I had phoned him in advance, and asked about the material, so that when I arrived to collect it they would have it ready and waiting for me.
So here’s what happened….
When I arrived at that dental office, and walked in, the dental receptionist was standing with her back to me.
When she turned, she greeted me with one word:
Just one word.
I was shocked.
She was making a noise like a donkey.
I was shocked that this was a standard greeting in this dental office.
Here’s a tip:
The way that you greet your arriving patients in your dental office can either elevate or deflate their mood for their upcoming dental appointment.
If the greeting you use deflates your patient’s mood, your patient may decide [mentally] then and there to choose not to follow your dentist’s treatment recommendations, despite his advanced case presentation skills.
If your greeting elevates the mood of your patient you may put them in a state where they are more inclined to accept your dentist’s treatment recommendations.
It doesn’t take much to swing the pendulum in your favour.
Are your team members doing everything they can to impress the arriving patient?
Linda Miles is coming to Australia in August.
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