Being Friends With Your Patients Leads to Great Benefits
How do you know if someone is your friend? For me, someone is my friend if we share in each others lives; we take the time to be together. We have things in common, we feel a sense of loyalty to one another. It’s not rocket science, but there are certain things that connect us as friends. It seems to me most doctors have focused so much on production and being efficient, are so focused on the teeth and the mouth they don’t realize they are missing a HUGE opportunity with the living, breathing person sitting in front of them.
How would the experience of dental patients be different if they were our friends? Would you treat them differently? Would you let them in on details that you aren’t currently? Would you spend a bit more time chatting? Would you relax a bit more and be yourself? For the patient, if they felt that you were really interested in their life (not just rattling off some note in their file about a vacation they took 3 years ago) do you think they would feel a sense of loyalty to you? Of course they would! My friends don’t stand me up for coffee dates because we know it is going to be an enjoyable experience of connection and catching up. We can achieve that same feeling in the dental office with a little effort.
I help my offices get in the habit of building friendships with their patients by thinking about the acronym LIFE. L stands for where do they live. It is a simple starting point. Maybe you have lived there, or maybe you know someone who has. Find a link. I stands for interests. What are they interested in? Can you find any interest in common? Next is F and that stands for friends and family. How did they hear about your office? Do you have any friends or family in common? The last is E and it stands for entertainment. What do they like to do? Maybe you both fish or ski. Perhaps you are huge Star Wars fans and you both love the Chewbacca mom’s video. Whatever it is you have to find some common ground. Make connections.
I know what you are thinking… I don’t have time to chit chat with my patients. The reality is, if you don’t connect, you wont have patients showing up for their appointments! Make the time to connect. If you connect they will show up! I guarantee if you are friends with your patients they will show up. They will trust you. Patients who trust their dentist accept and do more treatment. Quit making excuses for why it won’t work and give it a try!