I must be honest with you. When I hear a dentist say they “truly care about their patients,” I want to say, “Yeah, you and everybody else.”
I’ve interviewed hundreds of dentists over my career as a copywriter, and I learned early that all dentists believe they’re more personal, more compassionate, and more concerned with their patients’ wellbeing than any other doctor. In my interview, I always ask the question, “What sets your practice apart from the dentist down the street?” Without fail, the first response is along the lines of: “We truly care about our patients,” or, “We get to know our patients personally.” Being a common response, this sentiment does not set any dental office apart from others.
However, the idea behind the thought has excellent value.
You care! That’s great!
But how do you show patients that you care more deeply than others?
Or that your care is genuine, not just part of a sales scheme? I’m glad you asked.
More Alike than Different
Let’s say that we have five general dentists, and all want to be different. All of these dentists are kind, compassionate, and love their work. What do you think they do to show patients that they care?
The most common responses are:
- We see patients on time. / We value our patients’ time.
- We educate our patients on their oral health and treatment options.
- We don’t do any dental work without the patient’s informed concent.
- We file insurance and accept credit cards or financing plans, to make dentistry affordable.
- Our staff is friendly and genuinely concerned about our patients’ wellbeing.
Less common responses are:
- The dentist personally calls patients after major procedures, to make sure they’re doing well the next day.
- We offer free second-opinion visits and consultations.
- For patients of record, we’ll answer emergency calls after hours.
- Our office is open early/late/on Saturday.
If You Really Care, Prove It!
How can you truly be different — dare I say better — than other dentists in your neighborhood? It truly depends upon what local dentists are doing to take care of their patients. The good news is, you don’t have to don sunglasses and a trench coat to get the inside scoop. To find out how people in your area are being cared for by other dentists, follow these steps:
- List five dentists in your area. If you can’t do this off the top of your head, google your city and the word “dentist.” (You should do this regularly, anyway, to gauge your own site’s SEO rankings.) Select five dental practices from page one results.
- Go to Yelp! and search for those dentists by name and city. Read what patients are saying about them. Do the positive reviews reflect what you do for your patients? Is there anything you can learn from the negative reviews? (While you’re on Yelp!, read your own practice’s reviews.)
- Make a list of 12 ways to improve patient care in your office, then implement one per month throughout 2017. If you prefer to start small, make a plan for each quarter. It is imperative that your team members know what you plan to do and support it.
Above, I’ve given you four ways to start setting yourself apart from other general dentists. Call your patients personally; offer free second opinion visits; answer emergency calls after hours; and provide care when pateints aren’t at work or school. If you feel that your current website, logo, and social media presence don’t truly reflect how much you care about your patients, call Identiwrite Creative for assistance. We help dentists by creating and implementing marketing plans that actually do set them apart from others.