• Best Practices New Normal
  • Digital Dentistry
  • Data Security
  • Implants
  • Catapult Education
  • COVID-19
  • Digital Imaging
  • Laser Dentistry
  • Restorative Dentistry
  • Cosmetic Dentistry
  • Periodontics
  • Oral Care
  • Evaluating Dental Materials
  • Cement and Adhesives
  • Equipment & Supplies
  • Ergonomics
  • Products
  • Dentures
  • Infection Control
  • Orthodontics
  • Technology
  • Techniques
  • Materials
  • Emerging Research
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Endodontics
  • Oral-Systemic Health

How to turn a caller into a lifelong patient for your dental practice


Imagine that, sometime today, a man in your community will place a phone call to your dental office. He doesn’t really know anything about you or your practice. All he knows is that he needs a dentist and (pick one) you’re located near where he works, or a friend mentioned you, or he liked your website. He’s just calling to find out more about your practice, figuring he might check out some other dentists before making a decision.

The first question is: Will he make an appointment to see you?

The second question is: Will he become a loyal patient of yours, sorry to see you go when you tell him, years from now, that you’re about to retire?

In the new dental economy (hear more from Dr. Levin on this here), the average dentist faces more competition for fewer patients, and insurance reimbursements keep shrinking. So when that phone rings today, your practice needs to be ready to capture the caller as a new patient. And when he comes in for his first visit, you need to set the stage for a lasting relationship. Here’s how:

Perfect your handling of the new patient call. The first contact with a prospective patient should be carefully orchestrated so the front desk coordinator can accomplish several important tasks…

Project the impression of your office as a pleasant and welcoming place.

Begin building value for the doctor and practice in the mind of the caller.

Gather information from the caller, not only what’s needed for the records but also personal facts that will be used to build a relationship.

Find out where the caller found out about the practice.

Schedule an appointment within seven days.

Make sure the person knows how to get to your office, and where to park.

Indicate that she and the rest of the staff are looking forward to meeting the new patient.

HOT READ:What one author thinks is the second-most important question to ask a new dental patient

Make the new patient visit a memorable one.
Several staff members will probably interact with the new patient during the first visit, so prep them during the Daily Business Meeting™, not only identifying the new patient but also mentioning some personal facts that can serve as conversation starters. When the patient arrives, the front desk coordinator should provide a warm welcome, pointing out amenities in the reception area, helping with any forms and making introductions to other staff members. The level of personal attention and service should make a strong and lasting impression. The hygienist and dentist, in the course of providing clinical care, should also work to establish personal rapport … the foundation of a lasting relationship.

Follow up with helpful communication and continuity.
Use social media and occasional direct contact (such as with emailed practice updates, newsletter, etc.) to keep the practice-patient connection fresh. Gather more personal facts when the patient comes in for hygiene visits or other services. And even if visits are less frequent than you’d like, stay in touch. In the new dental economy, a patient may cut back on routine care yet still remain loyal to your practice. When care is needed or financial pressures ease, the patient will turn to you.

Every person who calls to check out your practice represents a lifetime of potential dental production. Treat that first call … and everything that follows … as something of great value.

More from Dr. Levin: 4 steps to greater case acceptance in your practice

Note: GP Seminar Savings: Save $100 on any 2-day seminar by Dr. Levin when you register 30 days in advance. Choose your seminar and get your savings here.

Related Videos
Greater New York Dental Meeting 2023 – Interview with Aaidil Zaman of Wall Street Alliance Group
Greater New York Dental Meeting 2023 – Interview with Crystal Spring, RDH, BS, LAP
Dental Product Insights: Keeping Up With Patient Communication Expectations – Part 1: Communication Technology
Mastermind - Episode 31 - Retaining Dental Staff
Mastermind - Episode 30 - Tackling Today's Tough Challenges
Mastermind - Episode 29 - Addressing Racial Disparities in Hiring at Dental Practices
Mastermind - Episode 27 - Ethical Dilemmas in the Dental Practice
Mastermind - Episode 26 - Let's Talk Money
2023 Chicago Dental Society Midwinter Meeting, Interview with Dr Lauren McDonough, VP, Practice Owner Development at Aspen Dental
Mastermind - Episode 25 - Building a Strong Dental Team
© 2024 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.