Creating Loyal Patients for Life
You’ve worked hard to build a great practice. To put an awesome team together that will not only have fun, but that will also help you achieve your dreams. How’s it coming? What is it that makes the difference between an ordinary practice and an extraordinary practice… one where the patients are absolutely delighted with the value they receive?
Value is a judgment made by your patients about the association between the price paid and the service received. The perceived value is based on their expectations, wants and needs, and perhaps at times unrealistic ideas about how things ought to be. The difference between their wants and needs is your value-added. The more you differentiate your services by increasing your value-added, the better your patients will feel about the service you provide and the more loyal they will become.
It’s important to understand the subtle distinction between the value of a service and the benefits of a service. The benefits of your service are the results your patients receive. The value of your service is the long-term or big picture way your service enhances their life. The benefits are shorter-term; they describe the immediate things your patients experience. For example, the benefits of regular workouts are better circulation, stronger immune response, and less stress. The value of regular workouts is better health, a more responsive body, and a greater flow of energy.
The Perception of Value
Your patients don’t know if the restorations you placed in their mouth have perfect margins or if all of their sub-gingival calculus has been meticulously removed. What they do know is how you treated them and how it made them feel. It’s all about their perception. Here are a few simple but important ways to increase your patients’ perception of value:
Your Intangible Assets
Practice value grows when you focus on the little extras – it’s the intangible niceties that patients remember. Likewise, they also remember any bad experiences they encounter – and they’ll talk about the bad experiences an average of nine times more than they talk about the good experiences. If you can make the leap from good to great service, totally exceeding your patients’ expectations, you’ve greatly increased the likelihood that they will tell others about how great your office is.
Addressing the intangibles is more difficult and sometimes more painful than managing the numbers. But goodwill is the most valuable component of your practice. Why did your patients choose you to do their dentistry? It may be due to the physical proximity they have to your office, but hopefully it has more to do with the way you satisfy their emotional needs as well as their oral health care needs.
Be careful to not believe in the ‘if it isn’t broken don’t fix it’ theory; it can drive you into deadly complacency. In today’s client-centric market, you need forward-thinking team members that are constantly striving to improve the patient experience. By doing the little extras, you are building your intangible assets. Great intangible assets include:
Ask the Questions
Survey your patients and your team members periodically. Use their feedback. This is where you will get some of your best ideas. Act quickly on good ideas. And pay attention to the complaints, if there are more than a couple of complaints regarding an issue it’s because it needs to be addressed.
When we cross the counter and become clients, we certainly appreciate the person who goes the extra mile for us, so it only makes good sense to extend that same appreciated courtesy to our patients.
Best wishes as you and your team go the extra mile to deliver exceptional value; it will get you closer to having the practice of your dreams!
– CoraMarie Clark posted May 1, 2016