Last week we covered the Top 10 Strategies for Making 2014 Your Best Year Ever! But we realized that we left out two bonus strategies that you can’t live without in 2014. One of those bonus strategies is building a practice that is focused on being in the “People Business.”

Instead of viewing yourself as being in the “Dental Business” because you love practicing dentistry, decide that you love people. After all it is helping people and changing their lives that makes you love dentistry, not the other way around. Here’s are some tips on how to encourage your staff to always stay in the “People Business” by creating a patient-focused practice:

  • Greet all patients with a smile and by name every single visit. Make them feel appreciated and cared about. They have to feel that “it matters” to you that they are there. If not, it’s easy for a patient to decide to go elsewhere.
  • With so much fear and anxiety surrounding a trip to the dentist, it is very important to do whatever you can to put your patients at ease. Think about free massages, stress-relieving activities, soothing music — things that will relax even the tensest patient.
  • Ask a new patient what they prefer to be called. Have a picture of each patient in the computer so front desk staff can greet them by name. Have the assistant escort the patient to the treatment room, showing excitement and calling them again by name. Then have them formally introduce the doctor.
  • What’s even better than knowing the patient’s preferred name?  Knowing something about them. Keep notes about things like family, trips, hobbies, personal interests, etc., so you can ask the patient about them and show interest at each visit.
  • Make eye contact and exhibit caring body language. Treat every patient with the same kindness and respect, regardless of IQ or income. Trust me, a patient will notice every shrug or eye roll you might let slip. So be aware and act with intent at all times!
  • Take care of your current patients; have capacity on your schedule at all times so you can get existing and “VIP” patients in on short notice, not just new patients. Being in-tune with the needs of all of your patients will greatly benefit the quality of service you can provide to them.
  • Truly and genuinely care about your patients. This probably isn’t hard for most of you to do, because in most cases, you really do care about the health and well being of your patients. Just make that known to them! If you know you care, and I know you care, but the patients don’t know… well, then you have an opportunity to make that better.

If you’ve ever wondered how to make a real impact on your patient relationships, well, this is how you do it! YOU need to love people, and you need staff members who have the capability and the desire to treat your patients this way as well.