"Whether you realize it or not, your practice makes a promise to its patients. The promise will be derived from what the patients experience in your practice. " -- Dr Chris Baker
The Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, is in the United Arab Emirates, where Dr Chris' practice is located.
Dr Chris Baker's excellent book on childhood oral health is, "Your Child's Smile."
With two patients sitting in the reception room, "Dr. T" told his front desk staff he would be back in awhile, and went out the back door of his office. He was excited! The new special tires ordered for his beautiful Jaguar were in. He was off to collect them!
Two hours later, Dr. T returned to see the patients who had waited that long, as well as the additional five patients who had arrived in the interim.
True story. I got it from his receptionist who was left trying to help the patients feel okay that they were waiting so long.
Another dentist I know of typically has patients scheduled for 11 a.m., but regularly arrives at his office at 1 or 2 p.m. to the waiting patients. One patient told the receptionist to call him when the doctor “gets there.” It was amazing this patient actually was willing to come back! (This doctor’s reputation as an elite, outstanding cosmetic practitioner will only go so far.)
Whether you realize it or not, your practice makes a promise to its patients. The promise will be derived from what the patients experience in your practice.
If they experience chaos and long waits, your presented promise is chaos and long waits. This is because that is what the patients experience.
The promise will help patients decide whether they want to be part of your practice - or not.
Remember, your promise is defined to the patients by what your patients experience! Everything they experience in your practice. And, their experience is defined by their perceptions.
Whether you realize it or not, your practice makes a promise to the patients who come.
The promise may be stated or may be unstated.
I know, I know - you have a poignant ‘mission statement’ that evokes emotion in the reading of it. No matter - if the patient experience is different, your promise is that of their experience.
And you may have hired marketing consultants. Or marketing people - to create - well, marketing materials. Like websites, like brochures, like Facebook pages, like signage, and so on.
Yet - what exactly are you marketing?
Are you marketing what you want to market? Will your marketing show how your practice is totally stand-out and offering (and delivering) what no other practice is promising? (OR DELIVERING?)
What do you want your promise to be? Are you marketing that? Are you keeping that promise?
Ideally, your promise is one which expresses your positive passion and one which no business in dentistry actually delivers - except your practice!!
That’s what keeps your patients coming — because — you have provided them value that makes them happy, feel cared for, loved, and special, not to mention healthy!
Yet, look at how far from the ideal most businesses fall:
• A 2012 study published in Forrester Research found that customers reported their experiences as good or excellent only 37% of the time. That means 63% got a rating of “OK,” “poor,” or “very poor” from their customers.
• After an experience the customer/client experienced as poor, 89% of folks went to a competitor. Source: RightNow
• Would you believe that as many as 60% of people will pay more for a better customer experience? Source: Desk
• And the Genesys Report looked at the average annual value of each lost-to-a-competitor business relationship. Can you imagine what your lost income and joy is, because of the patients who have walked out your doors to go to another office, OR who have just given up on dental care?
• A 2009 study in China by Zhang and Pan showed that a non-financial measure, customer satisfaction, is significantly associated with contemporary and future financial performance. Furthermore, the enterprises with higher-level customer satisfaction enjoy higher profitability. Customer satisfaction is proven to have a direct relationship with financial success.So, making your patients happy makes you happy, too!
What else, after all, is your goal?
What is your promise? My passion and promise in my practice is love. Love and Orthodontics. Caring. Joy.
Whatever your passion is, make it your promise. Remember (as mentioned in my Oct. 16 blog "An EXCELLENT dental practice: What makes the difference?" ) your product in your business is your promise. The dentistry - excellent, outstanding dental orthodontic care - is the commodity you deliver.
That’s great. There are lots of capable, outstanding docs out there. But what makes you stand out? What is different? What is not available in other practices? Whatever it is, is your promise. Build your commodity — outstanding care — around your promise.
Now - market your promise. Some ideas: We market our promise of love and caring by loving and caring - Genuinely and exuberantly. Truly finding ways to express our love. Writing thank-you notes for every little gift or food a patient or parent brings to the office. (And they do!) Greeting every patient and parent as soon as we see them.
With the staff, we review our patients in the morning meeting to remind ourselves not only what orthodontic needs they have for this visit, and their payments status, but where they were going on vacation after the last visit, what special concerns they were having with their braces. We often walk into the room and for us girls, giving and getting a hug - with the mom, as well as with the patient.
Share recipes, share child raising, share laughs. If the parent is a dad, we find commonalities with him. Basketball (I went to dental school at the University of Kentucky, after all,) other sports (I grew up in Texas), travel, professions, and so much more.
Can you imagine? Relating, person-to-person costs nothing and brings us joy as we absorb the hugs and smiles and love returned to us. This is the parent’s, patient’s and our experience.
And deliver on the promise!
Dr Chris Baker
Dr. Chris Baker is Past President of the American Orthodontic Society, a pediatric dentist and teacher of orthodontics, An author, dental practice consultant, mentor, and a current or former faculty member of three U.S. dental schools, Dr Chris practices and blogs in beautiful Abu Dhabi, UAE, and glorious Texas, USA.
Text and images
© 2019 Dr Chris Baker