Word of mouth and online reviews generally skew to the extremes. People either love and rave about a business or share a terrible experience and tear a business apart. Having an average experience doesn’t typically prompt people to talk about a business or write a review. So, how do you motivate your patients to share their positive experiences? You need to create a “wow” experience — every call, every visit, every team member, every time. Combine consistent “wow” experiences with the three Rs of referrals and your practice will be growing by leaps and bounds.
What’s a “wow” experience? An interaction that is unexpected, exceeds your patients’ expectations and ultimately raises the bar for service and treatment. Every patient contact is an opportunity to “wow” and should include:
Outstanding Attitude – the way your team members present themselves. Welcoming smiles, appropriate choice of words and tone of voice all contribute to the patient’s overall experience.
Price Transparency – make pricing clear and easy to understand, discuss all pricing and treatment plans in full and present all viable options to help patients make informed choices.
Welcoming Environment – warm, inviting and spotless. Flat screens and iPads chair-side are nice but little things like dental wall art, timely reading material and comfy chairs make a big difference.
Short Wait Times – a surefire way to torpedo a “wow” experience is a long wait time. Running behind? Have a staff member give the patient a quick call or text. They will appreciate the courtesy and time savings!
Did you know a new patient referred by an existing patient is 60% more likely to become a lifelong patient and refer others? It’s more than a statistic—it’s a proven way to take your practice to the next level. The 3 Rs are key to practice growth.
Request – How many potential new patients are you missing because you and your team aren’t asking your current patients to tell their friends, family and coworkers about you? When you create a “wow” experience for patients, they will gladly refer people to you—you just have to ask. Start the conversation at the beginning of the appointment. Ask them if they know what dental office their family and friends use and talk to patients about why they choose to come to your office. These are all topics that can easily transition into saying, “We’d love the opportunity to take care of your family and friends’ smiles too. Will you let them know we’re currently accepting new patients? Here are some referral cards.”
Remind – Create a culture of referral behavior. Encourage your staff to regularly ask patients for referrals in a way that is friendly and natural. Reinforce the perception that referrals are welcomed, encouraged and even rewarded. Along with talking to patients about referrals, use your in-office signage, online presence, mailed correspondence and take-home materials to remind patients that you welcome their friends and family.
Reward – Letting your patients know how much you appreciate their referrals is crucial to creating a referral culture. Send a handwritten thank you note to the referring patient and a matching welcome card to the referred patient after their first visit. You can also reward referring patients with a token of appreciation such as movie passes, gift cards to local eateries, books for their children or a personalized take-home Whitening Kit.
Find the best ways you and your staff can create ‘wow’ experiences for your patients