Your Patients Aren’t Nostradamus

This week on Wednesday we [my family] decided to drive on a day trip to Goulburn.

Goulburn is about an hour’s drive west from our home, and it’s a good highway drive for most of the way on a dual carriageway motorway. Goulburn was settled as Australia’s first inland city, so it’s a big town, located just over two hours’ drive from Sydney.

One of the reasons we like to go down to Goulburn is to visit the Argyle Emporium, a very impressive second hand bookstore with tens of thousands of books available for purchase to fanatic readers and collectors.

My daughter visiting us from Sydney always looks forward to any chance to visit this bookshop should an opportunity arise. And since she was down from Sydney for Christmas Day lunch and a few more days, it made sense to plan an excursion to the bookstore in Goulburn.

And plan we did.

The first thing we did was to check Google Maps in advance, to make sure that the Argyle Emporium was actually going to be open on the day we planned to visit, which was the Wednesday of the short working week of three days between Christmas and New Year.

You see, this short week presents a good opportunity for a lot of small businesses to close for three working days between the Christmas Day and Boxing Day public holidays and the New Year’s Day long weekend, and with the addition of the three public holidays and the two weekends, they pick themselves up an extended ten day break.

On the day of our excursion, we planned to arrive at the bookstore at 11:00am and spend the morning there, before dropping in at our favourite Goulburn café for lunch.

The café that we usually visit is very popular, so we arrived at 12:30pm to beat the lunchtime crowd.

To our surprise, when we arrived, the café was closed.

There was no sign.

The door was locked, and no chairs and tables were assembled outside.

I felt as though I had let my family down, because I had failed to check in advance as to whether the café was going to be open on this day…. I just simply assumed that it would be open…

But it wasn’t…

Stunned, we stood on the footpath outside the café and went to Google Maps on our phones to double check, and to see whether we should have checked in advance [as if that was going to result in the café magically opening before our eyes…].

Google Maps informed us that the café was meant to be open.

But it wasn’t…

And that didn’t change the fact that we now needed to make some alternative plans for lunch.

Funnily enough, while we were there in front of the café recomposing ourselves and our agenda for the day, in the space of five minutes, four other dining parties turned up to be surprised and disappointed that their favourite café was not open for lunch.

How does this relate to your dental practice?

The thing is, the café knew they were going to be closed, and  yet nobody at the café bothered to advise Google Maps…

And nobody at the café thought it would be a good idea to put up a sign in the doorway to inform visiting patrons that they were closed for the day…. and to wish those patrons who turned up there a Merry Christmas or to wish them to “have a good day.”

Now, I know that nobody really will begrudge the café the time off…

But there might be a few patrons whose noses might be put out of joint by the café’s lack of attention to detail…. and their presumed apathy towards the needs of their patrons.

In dentistry, any “presumed apathy” towards patients can be a real practice killer if it’s not eliminated and eradicated.

Patients will leave your practice if they feel that your practice:

  • Continuously runs late and does not respect the patients’ time
  • Regularly phones their patients and reschedules previously made and confirmed appointments for treatment
  • Regularly puts phone callers to the practice on hold for long periods of time. And they do this mostly without first checking who the caller is and whether the reason for the call is easy to address or not…
  • And worse still, the practice chooses to default incoming phone calls during business hours to an answering service, presuming that callers will all be OK with that, and that callers will happily leave a message to be phoned back when the practice feels like it…

As Austen Tayshus used to say…

“How much can a koala bare?”

How much presumption and apathy will your patients tolerate, before they say that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, and they decide to leave your practice, and to take their patronage elsewhere?

And go to another dental practice that respects its patients’ time, and is grateful for their patronage, where staff continuously goes out of their way to tell their patients how much they appreciate them and respect them.

Because, in reality, that’s all your patients want…

They want to know that your dental practice values them, and respects them, and understands them.

And they just want to hear you say it.

And say thank you.

Because none of your patients are Nostradamus….

They can’t always guess what your practice, and your team, are thinking.

Your patients can FEEL apathy.
Your patients can PERCEIVE apathy.

But when you tell them how much you value them, they can FEEL that gratitude.

And it feels great…


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Have you read my book , How To Build The Dental Practice of Your Dreams [Without Killing Yourself!] In Less Than Sixty Days.

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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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