And The Patient Never Came Back…

Do you ever see patients for one visit only, who should come back for more appointments, but for some reason never do?

You know the ones…. They phone your office, make an initial appointment, come in and see the dentist for a COMPREHENSIVE NEW PATIENT EXAMINATION, or they want something very specific, and then never ever return?

What causes this?

Why does this happen?

Is it something about them?

Or is it something about your office, and their first visit, that has caused this patient to do a complete one-eighty and disappear [figuratively] off the face of the earth.

I hear your team say:

“Probably a shopper.”

In reality, probably not.

Here’s what’s most likely happened….

What most likely has occurred is this:

This patient has turned up for their appointment full of high expectation only to have had the air let out of their tyres…

Something has occurred during the patient’s visit that was not up to the expectations that this patient was anticipating.

These less than desirable experiences for the new patient occur when the reality of their visit to your office does not match the expectation that the patient was anticipating as a result of the information they had gleaned from your marketing and your website.

There has been a message-to reality mismatch.

Or everything has gone as per planned with the patient’s arrival and visit, except that the patient, while they’re waiting to go in and meet the dentist, has seen or heard or overheard something that has again not lived up to the expectations of this patient.

They may have been happily relaxing in the client lounge and overheard the dental receptionist speaking on the phone to a caller who did not make an appointment?

Or they may have overheard the receptionist explaining to a patient why they were feeling discomfort post operatively, but yet had had no discomfort at all prior to their treatment?

Or maybe they heard a patient call in to the practice to cancel some appointments?

Maybe the new patient overheard a conversation between two team members discussing another patient in a less than favourable way?

Or the new patient may have just listened to two dental office employees gossiping about another employee not present?

Is your office set up where sensitive phone calls are received within earshot of existing and new patients? If that’s the case, you might want to reconsider your office layout and design to something more appropriate.

We also need to stop oversharing…

OVERSHARING is the process that occurs when a team member discusses a negative situation with someone where that someone does not really have any interest or need to know about the events that are being discussed.

And that conversation can be a direct conversation, or it can be an overheard conversation.

OVERSHARING is often just a form of gossiping.

It can often be unnecessary chatter that at best breaks silence, but is inappropriate, because silence is better than gossiping.

Or where another APPROPRIATE topic should really have been discussed instead.

Here’s my thought:

All speech in a dental practice needs to be purposeful.

What are we about to say?

What is its relevance?

Are we about to say something that stimulates and invites purposeful thought provoking conversation, or are we about to discuss gossip or fluff?

The purpose of all social conversation in the dental practice should be to discuss whatever the patient wants to talk about with the goal of GETTING TO KNOW MORE about the patient.

So that our relationship with that patient is strengthened.

And that goes for all discussion with all patients and in earshot of every patient as well.

No questions asked.


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The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

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