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Marketing guru, Fred Joyal, advises dentists that 63% of potential patients will decide whether or not to make an appointment only after reviewing the practice’s website! Additionally, he suggests that what happens upon arrival, and what the patient experiences in the reception room, significantly impacts whether or not that patient will stay with your practice!

Assuming that new patient has indeed selected your practice, called to schedule a first appointment, and arrives early on the day of the appointment, would you not want to make the very best first impression possible?? What very simple thing could you or your staff do to make that person (or persons) feel welcome?

Forgive me if this suggestion sounds too obvious to consider, but I’ve often witnessed my own staff’s failure in past years to simply stand and proactively greet the new patient by name upon arrival!! What? You haven’t met them so you don’t know who they are?? You’ve got one of those new, state-of-the-art, computer schedules on the screen in front of you!! You know exactly who’s coming in, and when!!

Assume you are new to the practice yourself, and haven’t met many of the patients of record. Study your schedule at the morning huddle!! If you’ve got two hygiene patients and a restorative patient arriving at, say, 11:00 a.m. and don’t know them, look at their profile! If only one is a man or woman, you already know who that is. Look at the age of the other two in order to make a “best guess!”

What if you make a mistake?? Oh, my!!! The patient won’t care! They’ll appreciate your effort! Simply accept the correction gracefully with a smile, introduce yourself as a new member of the team, welcome the patient to the practice, and offer them a refreshment! People love to hear their name!! Use this simple method of greeting, and watch your patient retention improve!!

Oh, yeah. And seat them on time. Fred say’s that is the other “make or break” biggie! But that’s another story for another day! Good luck in this new year!

Wayne Kerr, DDS, MAGD