Turning “New Patient” into “Long-Term Patient”

by Dr. Ron Arndt

Why do new patients become long-term patients? More often than location or price, it is because they established a great relationship with the dentist and his or her staff. You must over-deliver to these patients when they come to you, or they will vanish as quickly as they appear.

New patients begin forming an opinion of you as soon as they contact your practice. Their first impression is a combination of the appearance of the reception room, the smells, the conversations they overhear and the helpfulness of the staff. This is before you even get to sit down with them in the treatment room and shake their hand. Patients want to choose a dentist that they get to know, like, trust and someone that they have a relationship with. That is who they keep coming back to. So how do you establish that relationship?

Here are my 5 favorite tips:

1)       After a new patient makes the initial appointment, send them a hand-written note, thanking them for the opportunity to treat their dental needs.

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2)      When the new patient arrives in the office, have a staff member personally walk up to him/her and give a warm, sincere welcome to the practice. When the patient enters the reception area, offer a beverage and have the staff member assist with initial paperwork.

3)      Use the patient’s name often, show interest in their life.

4)      After a challenging procedure, the doctor calls the patient in the evening to ensure there are no problems and to answer any questions they may have.

5)      Look for opportunities to send a small gift that says “Thanks for choosing us” like a gas card or gift certificate for dessert at a local favorite.

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