Why is Your New Patient Coming to See You?
So why are they in your practice now?
Why did they leave their previous dentist? Very often, it’s because they’ve moved, although as I pointed out in a recent article, that’s often not the whole story.
But there are a host of other possible reasons:
Maybe it was because of the patient’s behaviors:
- There were missed appointments or unfinished treatment they were embarrassed about.
- They were overdue in hygiene, ignored the calls and reminders and would rather go somewhere else than face the “scolding.”
- There was a payment issue that went to collection—a surefire relationship-killer.
Maybe it was because of their experience in the practice:
- The dentist always seemed to be running late.
- They had a painful experience or unforeseen complication.
- There was a miscommunication about fees.
- The dentist was unavailable for an urgent need.
Maybe it was personal:
- They had an unpleasant interaction with the dentist or a team member.
- They saw or overheard something that made them uncomfortable.
Maybe it was value-related:
- They wanted something specific (Invisalign, CEREC) they didn’t think their dentist could provide.
- They didn’t know their previous dentist did “cosmetics” because they never discussed it.
Of course, there are lots of other possible reasons, including one that is the best reason of all: They’ve come to you because they have been inspired by a friend or relative’s enthusiastic endorsement of your practice.
In any case, this is something worth investigating. Finding out how this new patient came to be your new patient, and understanding their personal and professional profile, can give you a tremendous insight into their motivations and priorities. And it can help you discover what you need to do to avoid becoming their next ex-dentist.
Are great patients born or made? Just about any patient has the capacity to become a great one. To find out how, download the free eBook: Trust and Value: A Field Guide to Today’s Dental Patients.