By: Susan Pruitt
Have you ever considered thanking your dental patients? We all love to be appreciated because it fills us with positivity and confidence! Although we readily receive thanks, how often do we sincerely extend thanks to someone else—specifically our patients?
We all know that our best patients come from referrals. When you take the time to show gratitude to your best patients, they recruit new patients for you through word of mouth! As the Community Marketing Director for Total Patient Service, I want to share with you 5 steps to wow your patients and increase production by simply showing gratitude!
- Select “Patients of the Month”
Each month, as a team, we take a few minutes during our Morning Opportunity Meeting to discuss our best patients. We select 4 patients per month so we can share our gratitude every week. Here are 3 suggestions to consider when selecting your “Patients of the Month”:
- Look for patients with out-going personalities! The BIG talkers won’t hesitate to share the good news about their awesome dentist!
- If possible, select patients that work in a large business close to your office. That way, co-workers looking for a dentist will find their solution nearby!
- Identify patients that have great insurance. This way, when they refer their co-workers or family members, they will already know that you take their insurance!
Once we have made our selection, we plan and prepare where, how, and what we will do for these patients. The following is my process, but feel free to be creative and do what is best for your patients.
- Deliver to the Patient’s Place of Work
Plan to show up to the patient’s place of work—unannounced! This adds to the “wow” factor! From the moment I arrive, I am greeted with many smiles because people see me carrying a special treat (see step 3)! People start talking and then someone eventually asks, “Is someone having a birthday party?” I quickly respond, “No. I am from their dentist office and I am here to thank “Aaron” for being such a great patient!”
That is when the magic begins and inevitably someone finally says, “Well, my dentist has never thanked me or sent me anything!” I take this opportunity to share all the positives about “Dr. Smith” and his amazing team. Then, I give them a special offer card and say we would love to have you experience our dental practice too.
Here are some important details to remember when you go to the patient’s place of work:
- Do not be intimidated by security personnel. I have always been allowed to enter after I explain why I am visiting their business (which is another marketing opportunity).
- Always wear your office nametag because it is a great marketing tool. I have been stopped at Sam’s Club, Hobby Lobby, The Dollar Store, and FedEx just because people have seen my nametag and they wanted to know more. You are marketing your business the moment you step out of your office door. You are “on stage” performing, so make sure your attitude positively reflects on your practice!
- WOW them with a Special Treat:
When the patient comes out to meet me in their place of work, they are surprised! I have had people say some funny comments such as, “I already mailed my check” to “I know I need to schedule my next appointment.” I smile and say, “You have been chosen as one of our Patients of the Month by Dr. Anderson and our team!” The patient is always pleasantly surprised and their fellow employees are now “all ears” and want to learn more about where our dental practice is located!
It would be awkward if you just showed up at their place of work to simply tell them that they are the “Patient of the Month.” You need a special treat to seal the deal! My go-to treat is a beautifully wrapped apple pie with decorative plates, napkins, and a pie server so they can immediately cut into and share the treat with their co-workers.
Additionally, I attach to the pie magnets, business cards, “Golden Tickets” (see below), and a hand written card that says, “Anyway you slice it, we appreciate you!” Do not discount the importance of a simple hand written note from the dentist. This gesture demonstrates that the dentist took the time to personally recognize the patient versus a printed thank you note that is not personal.
- Present “Golden Ticket” Offers
I give the Patient of the Month 2 “Golden Tickets.” These tickets offer some kind of special rate for a dental service that they can give to their family, friends, or co-workers. I write the patient’s name on the bottom of the “Golden Ticket.” I explain that we write their name on the ticket so we can acknowledge them when their friends come into our practice. Yes, we even have a system where we send a hand written thank you note to each person that refers a new patient!
- Take their photo to post on Facebook
Before I leave I ask the patient if I can take their photo with a sign that says, “I love (LOGO -name of your practice).” The majority of patients are thrilled to show off their pie and beautiful smile! I ask them to post the picture on their Facebook page and tag our office. If, for some reason, I am unable to deliver the treat to the patient face-to-face, I leave the paper sign for them to hold in a “selfie.” In a note, I explain that I need proof that the security guard or receptionist didn’t eat their treat, so they need to send me their picture!
Benefits of Showing Gratitude
I have delivered to a variety of businesses from big corporate companies, to banks, schools, Starbucks, city offices, fire stations, Chick-fil-A—you name it and I’ve been there!
By visiting our patients at their offices, I have found that doors open for new marketing opportunities. I’ve been offered marketing opportunities such as health fairs, perk fairs, luncheons, and oral cancer screenings. Always ask the receptionist about these types of events and if they don’t happen to know, just ask, “Who is someone I could speak to that might know about these types of employee events?” I am always pleasantly surprised by the number of people that are willing to help when I just ask!
Gratitude is one of the most powerful tool that everyone has daily access to, but it is underutilized. Extending gratitude on a regular basis to your team members and patients can go along way toward enhancing the general tone of your practice. Make it a goal to have your patients become walking billboards throughout the community. Not only will you gain new patients, but studies have proven that showing gratitude can help improve your personal productivity, decision making skills, energy levels, quality of sleep, quality of friendships, and your overall health and well-being! So, we have plenty of personal incentives to show gratitude everyday to people at work, in our community, and at home! I wish you the best as you go forth with gratitude!