No, not that kind of personal. I’m talking about putting something of yourself into “thank you” notes after your new patients’ first visits.
You probably have a system to thank new patients for choosing your practice. If you don’t, you should. Every successive contact with new patients increases the odds of them remaining your patients – if you do them right.
That’s where the personal comes in. Way too many thank-you notes are written in business-speak. You know: “Thank you for choosing XYZ Dental. We hope we exceeded your expectations and that you will continue to choose us for all your future dental needs.”
That might be a bit exaggerated, but it demonstrates the point; there’s no “person” in that message. And if recent research is showing us anything, it’s that people don’t really have relationships with brands or companies; they have relationships with people.
Attracting and retaining quality dental patients depends on the relationship you and your staff develop with them.
New patients aren’t selecting you over your competitors because of your clinical skills. Dentists are assumed to be competent. They’re selecting you because of intangible factors like location, convenience, and above all, comfort. New patients initially develop a certain level of comfort through word-of-mouth referrals, online reviews, your stated ability to address special needs such as dental phobias or low pain tolerance, and your staff bios or introductions on your website.
All of those reasons are personal. While patients may not consciously realize it, they hope that there are people in your practice who will take good care of them.
Your new patient follow-up needs to keep the personal aspects, because that will help keep new patients coming back.
Putting the personal in follow-up to your new patients isn’t always easy. It will require you to reveal a bit about yourself to maintain that personal connection.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Tie your thank-you into the reason for their visit.
If someone was in pain when they came in, and not in pain when they left, didn’t that feel good for you as well? Mention why you got into dentistry in the first place – to help people.
Maybe a new patient came in for a check and a cleaning. If they expressed how comfortable they were with the whole process, or how satisfied with the results, use that as a personal tie-in in your thank-you. After all, those kinds of reactions are really gratifying to hear.
- Focus on the results for them
A patient with a missing tooth will feel better about their smile, be able to eat more comfortably, and avoid drifting of other teeth if they get an implant.
Someone who had a cleaning will be able to maintain that beautiful smile with regular checkups.
By focusing on the benefit for the patient, you’re implicitly expressing concern for their well-being.
Of course you’d be happy to perform the procedure, but what matters to your patient is that you’d be happy to help them achieve those positive results.
- Bring the visit back to the patient.
If your new patient was delightful during their visit, mention that. If your new patient was scared to death but maintained their composure, give them props. If your new patient seemed overwhelmed with information or choices, address that.
Write conversationally, as though you were talking to a new friend.
And keep it personal, always.