How should the Dentist greet the new patient for the first time?
It’s said that first impressions count.
“You don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression.”
You know the drill.
So what’s the best way of greeting the new patient?
I guess it depends upon your Dental practice philosophy.
Who in your practice routinely brings the patient down from the client lounge?
Is it the Dental Assistant? Or is it the Dentist?
In my office, as you know, I worked out of alternate treatment rooms with a Dental Assistant in each treatment room. So while I was treating one patient in Room Number 1, Room Number 2 was being torn down and set up for the next patient. When I was finished in Room Number 1, there would be a patient in and seated and ready in the chair in Room Number 2.
So I always greeted the new patients exclusively in the treatment room.
One of the key drivers for this was I liked it for my other team members to have an elevated role in the patients’ visits, and for me, the Dentist, to have a lesser role.
If the patient, be they new or existing, has people spending time with them prior to their physical treatment, they are mentally in a much better space than they are if they are simply just “parked” in a waiting room until it’s time to meet the Dentist.
When they are attended to by a Concierge then they feel valued and respected.
When they are told to “take a seat” and wait their turn until they are called, they will feel more like a number and less like a person.
So it only goes to follow on that if the Dental Assistant can bring the patient from the Client Lounge to the treatment room, then she too can accept a “concierge role” now in your office, and spend time “visiting” with the patient until the Dentist is available to treat the patient.
Remember, children spell “love” T.I.M.E.
And patients spell attention the exact same way. T.I.M.E.
When someone spends time with us we tend to like them.
In that same way, when a business spends time with us, we tend to like that business much more than if we are left alone and ignored until someone is ready to do business with us.
So in this way, it then makes logical sense that the Dentist greeting the New Patient who has been “concierged” is simply being brought into a conversation and joins that conversation and then takes over that conversation.
Whereas the dentist who goes to the front and greets his “waiting” new patient can sometimes be starting from a handicapped position, especially if for some reason the patient has truly been kept waiting.
And by “waiting” I mean any time frame longer than they should have been.
On their own.
That’s not going to be getting this new relationship off to a good start.
If you have the right people greeting your patients and concierging them out front, and if you have the right people assisting you in the treatment room who can also concierge and spend time with your valued patients, then the transitioning of you the Dentist into an existing conversation is a far more comfortable Segway than any other.
Unless you want to be the ALMIGHTY DENTIST!
If you are so enamored with your own importance that you believe that nobody else in your office should be doing the greeting other than you, then keep on doing it that way, because I’ve got a feeling that it’s going to be difficult to change your ways.
When you as the dentist enter the treatment room to meet a new patient engaged in conversation with your well trained Dental Assistant and are brought into the conversation and you take over the conversation, then a transferal of trust occurs.
The feelings of trust and liking that the new patient has begun to develop because they have been attended to are simply transferred across to you the dentist far more easily than if you greet them in a cold lonely waiting room.
So as such, the Dentist would simply be joining in the conversation.
My Dental Assistant would announce my arrival into the room [the doors in my treatment room were located behind the patient] and I would greet the patient with a firm handshake and introduce myself as “David”.
I would then stand beside and in front of the patient to offer my next sentence, whatever that would be. Depending upon the transfer from the Dental Assistant, I may continue the topic of conversation with the patient, or I may begin questioning the patient about what we can be doing for them today.
It just depends upon the nature of the handover from the Dental Assistant as to which way I would take the conversation.
I would then listen attentively to whatever the patient was saying, and at the appropriate time, I would then and only then take a seat myself on my doctors’ stool so as to join into a conversation with the new patient on an “eye to eye and knee to knee” basis.
Remember, the new patient that you are now meeting has most likely already met you virtually.
They’ll have been online, seen your pictures on your website, and watched your online videos.
They’ll have already read your bio, and decided that you’re the Dentist they want.
The behaviours of your concierging receptionist and your concierging dental assistant have only added to the new patient’s belief that they are indeed in the right place.
And so the entrance of the Dentist into their experience should only be to “rubber stamp” and confirm their educated decision and belief.
The feeling the new patient should experience should be more like they were being introduced to a new friend at a cocktail party or social gathering.
Remember in the movie “The Wizard of Oz”, as Dorothy journeyed along the Yellow Brick Road she became more and more convinced that the Wizard was going to be the person to get her back to Kansas. In the end it did not matter to her that he was just a little old man behind a curtain.
For Dorothy, it was much more about the journey than about the wizard himself.
And that’s how it should be in your office…
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