A Fundamental Truth About Patient Loyalty
As a dentist you want to believe that your patients are loyal, and at least when it comes to hygiene and routine treatment, most of them are. But how loyal are they when the stakes get higher and they’re presented with treatment options beyond their insurance parameters? For that matter, if you stopped accepting their insurance plan, would they still be loyal to you?
I think most dentists recognize that a great number of patients—those generally considered loyal—would go shopping for a new dentist if their insurance benefits were compromised. Here’s a fundamental truth about loyalty: People’s first loyalty is always to themselves; their economic interests, health, family and values. We’re all like this. If we see something that serves our interests better and is more aligned with our deepest desires, we switch.
On the surface this can seem troubling since there is always going to be a cheaper alternative out there to tempt people away. But when you look a little deeper at this fundamental truth and recognize that people are driven by self-loyal impulses, you realize it’s a good thing. It’s good because it means if you can appeal to their hearts and minds in a pure way and reach that part of them that wants the best for themselves, you can win them for life.
In other words, if you can get your patients to really understand your value and what makes you distinct they will come to see that you are what is in their best interests. When that happens nothing—not insurance or a 50-mile drive—can come between you. When your patients’ loyalty is based on a fundamental loyalty to themselves, it’s loyalty of the highest order.