Patients leave our practice; we don't like it but it happens. Sometimes the reasons they leave are beyond our control. If they're moving out of the area it's understandable. However, what about those patients that leave for other reasons? We always have that nagging thought in the back of our head. Was there something I could have done differently?
Many times insurance changes are at the top of the list. If our patients leave due to their insurance changing, then we failed to demonstrate the value of our services compared to the “providers” for their insurance plan. Insurance companies are doing a great job of trying to make us all look the same. The key to keeping this patient is to show them that they are not going to get the same quality or service at another office.
So how do we do this? We need to engage in genuine communication with our patients about the clinical excellence we provide, and our customer service needs to exceed their expectations.
It's essential that you make follow-up calls with all operative patients. For larger cases and surgeries you should always call the patient yourself. I go as far as to give them my personal cell phone number in case of an emergency.
Have your assistants call all other patients to make sure they are doing well. This makes the patients aware that you are engaged in their care. It also heads off potential complications. If the patient has a new restoration that feels slightly uncomfortable, they can let you know right away so it can get corrected.
Additionally, always communicate to your patients about the continuing education courses and workshops that you're taking. Do this through open conversations and posting on your office website and Facebook page. I have a wall in my office that patients can see upon entry that has all the accolades and certificates that I have accumulated.
Darin O'Bryan, DDS, Spear Education visiting faculty. www.onemorereasontosmile.com