The First Step to Case Acceptance
A new patient walks into a dental practice for her first visit. She approaches the front desk, waits for her turn to talk to someone and identifies herself. The person at reception looks up her name on the computer, maybe gives her a clipboard full of forms to fill out, and invites the patient to take a seat in the waiting area.
Sounds like a pretty common experience, doesn’t it? And that’s exactly what’s wrong with it.
We all understand the wisdom behind the truism that first impressions are vitally important, but how great a first impression would a patient get from the experience I just described? It’s not a bad impression; it’s just not noteworthy at all, and a new patient coming to the practice for the first time is an occasion for special treatment.
Let’s re-imagine the scenario. When the new patient walks in, the concierge gets up and comes around to greet her. “Hi, you must be_____. Welcome!” The concierge continues with the warm greeting, asking about her job, her kids, the trip from the neighborhood she lives in—whatever is appropriate based on the information you have on the patient.
The odds are now good that within seconds of walking in the door, this person has a very favorable impression of the practice—a feeling that she’s in the right place. It’s a feeling that will carry over into the rest of that visit and beyond.
And the thing is, it’s really not that hard to do. In most cases the preliminary information you have gathered over the phone (age, gender, profession) is enough to give you a rough mental picture of the person you’re expecting. You know when they’re scheduled to arrive. So keep an eye out at that time for someone who is clearly a stranger to the practice and who fits the profile of your new patient. (Set a timer as a reminder if you have to.) Then get out there and initiate the greeting.